Expertise

Founded in 2004, Vertical Ventures is an established, highly-focused investor, developer and operator of institutional quality commercial real estate assets. The firm concentrates on identifying, acquiring and revitalizing well-located, quality assets that are temporarily undervalued.

The professionals of the firm average nearly 20 years experience transacting and operating real estate and generating attractive investment returns from both institutional and entrepreneurial platforms.

Our unwavering goal is to extract unrecognized value from the real estate and maximize the returns to investors, while providing a high level of service and communication to our financial partners.

business meeting handshake

Founder, Managing Partner

Hamid Rezapour

Hamid Rezapour is the Managing Partner of Vertical Ventures. Since the company’s inception in 2004, Hamid has led all aspects of real estate acquisition, financing, leasing, construction, property management and disposition. With more than 25 years of experience as a real estate developer and investor, he has shaped Vertical Ventures into the dynamic and growing company it is today.

He brings years of experience in the health care, life sciences, retail, advertising, and high-tech industries. Prior to forming Vertical Ventures, Hamid launched and successfully sold several companies in the high-tech and healthcare industries. He has also served on the Boards of several industry-related companies.

After attending UC Berkeley for his undergraduate work, he received his dental degree from University of the Pacific in San Francisco, as well as dual MBA degrees from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and Columbia University in New York.

Senior Vice President – Head of Acquisitions

Christopher Aust

Christopher Aust is Senior Vice President and Head of Acquisitions for Vertical Ventures. His primary responsibility is to lead the team in sourcing, negotiating, and executing all of the firms’ property acquisitions. Chris has more than 20 years of experience in commercial real estate investment management. He has led institutional investment teams at some of the largest real estate investment platforms in the U.S., including Principal Real Estate Investors and KBS Realty Advisors. Chris has personally sourced, negotiated and executed property acquisitions in northern California and the Western U.S. totaling more than $3 billion across different risk strategies for various institutional, sovereign and private equity. Those equity capital sources include Principal Life Insurance Company, Principal US Property Fund, Principal Enhanced Property Fund, CalPERS, State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Teacher Retirement System of Texas, Pacific Life Insurance Company, Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois, ISSK (Govt. of Kuwait), and the Bank of China.

Prior to his acquisitions roles, Chris spent over a decade as a Senior Director investment sale broker with Cushman & Wakefield in the firms’ San Francisco office. During that time, his teams marketed institutional investment properties totaling more than $3.5 billion throughout Northern California and the Western U.S. Chris received his Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from California State University, Chico.

VP of Finance

Ian Martz

Ian Martz leads the firm’s finance, accounting and reporting functions. He began his career in Deloitte & Touche LLP’s San Francisco assurance practice, serving such clients as The Sharper Image, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, and Kaiser Permanente. In 2006, he became Assistant Portfolio Controller at DivcoWest, a privately-owned real estate investment firm in San Francisco, responsible for managing over $2 billion of private equity. At DivcoWest, he oversaw the financial accounting and investor reporting for multiple commercial real estate portfolios. Most recently, he was Vice President & Controller at Pacific Ventures Management LLC (formerly DMB Pacific Ventures LLC), where he was responsible for the accounting and financial reporting of the company and its managed projects, most notably a 700-acre master-planned residential community development in Riverside County, California. He holds an undergraduate degree in accounting and finance from Indiana University – Bloomington and is a Certified Public Accountant actively licensed in the State of California.

Controller

Claudia Patterson

Claudia Patterson boasts more than twenty years of financial and operations experience serving in senior roles with two different global, multi-billion-dollar property investment and development groups. She served as Vice President Finance and was responsible for the America’s Portfolio with G.I.C. Real Estate Inc. Prior to that, she held various senior financial positions, including Corporate Controller for Grosvenor Americas Inc.

Claudia holds a B.S. in Business Administration from California State University, Hayward.

Senior Associate

Aaron Stein

Aaron Stein is a Senior Associate at Vertical Ventures. He assists in all aspects of the firm’s operations including acquisitions, asset management and capital sourcing. Prior to joining Vertical Ventures, Aaron was a member of a top producing Capital Markets team at Cushman & Wakefield. Based in San Francisco, he covered a large territory within Northern California including the core Bay Area, Sacramento and the Central Valley. Aaron has successfully underwritten and completed over $1.5B in commercial transactions in the Bay Area and Northern California.

Aaron holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) Degree in Economics from Queen’s University.

Senior Vice President, Industrial

Mark Heavey

Mark Heavey leads Vertical Ventures’ commercial condominium projects. He is responsible for all aspects of the project from acquisition thru entitlements and disposition. Mark has an extensive background in commercial condominiums having been the Chief Operating Officer of Venture Corporation, one of the largest commercial condominium developers in the country. In that capacity, Mark helped developed the strategy and grew a team of professionals that developed over 30 projects throughout the West Coast valued at over $500 million.

Mark has experience in all aspects of real estate development projects having grown up in the business and founding a development company with his college roommate. The company started in residential and branched out into retail projects.

Mark has a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Santa Clara University.

Senior Vice President – Capital Markets

Arash Najafi

Arash Najafi leads all capital and fundraising responsibilities at Vertical Ventures. Throughout his tenured career, Arash sourced nearly $2.0 billion of institutional and high net worth capital including pension and sovereign wealth funds, investment firms, insurance companies, endowments, consultants, family offices, and accredited investors. In addition, Arash spearheaded the successful negotiation and execution of joint-venture equity and fund agreements for over 30 transactions. Prior to joining Vertical Ventures, Arash was previously with Thor Equities focusing on capital raising efforts of multiple asset types across the US, Europe, and Latin America. Arash started his career in real estate private equity at Stonehenge Partners with a focus on managing the firm’s placement agents to raise an institutional equity fund targeting value-add/core-plus returns.

Arash holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University and a Masters of Science with Honors from New York University.

Senior Vice President – Asset Management

Audris Shau

Audris Shau leads asset management at Vertical Ventures. Her main responsibilities are to develop and execute investment strategies for each property, with a strong focus on repositioning assets, driving leasing and marketing, overseeing property management and operations. Audris has overseen 2.5M square feet of assets and brings nearly fifteen years of value-add to core plus asset management experience in office, retail and multifamily in several major cities within the US. Prior to joining Vertical Ventures, Audris held positions with Grosvenor Americas, Jamestown Properties, Shorenstein Properties and Silverstein Properties. Audris holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and received her MBA from Columbia University.

Our Philosophy

Vertical Ventures is a company on a mission to facilitate the growth and success of its investors, tenants and the community at large. Hence, it adheres to the following principles when making decisions:

Trust is the key to prosperous business relationships

Vertical Ventures has diligently cultivated decades-long relationships with various municipalities, government agencies, property owners, investment brokers, leasing brokers, mortgage brokers, bankers, attorneys, title and escrow officers and other key professionals in the industry. These relationships are mutually beneficial and allow the company to source and secure the most coveted investment opportunities.

Harnessing the power of data leads to improve decision-making

The underwriting team constructs highly analytical financial projections for potential acquisitions. Incorporating internal and third-party data, Vertical Ventures create detailed and precise financial reports that reduce risk and justify valuations.

Thorough preparation makes all the difference

Analytical rigor and extensive DD are the cornerstones of our investment philosophy. This objective process helps to reduce surprises while maximizing overall investment yield.

A disciplined approach creates value

Focused on acquiring under-valued/under-performing assets at prices below replacement cost and intrinsic value. Identifying assets to take advantage of opportunities presented by artificial and correctable temporary inefficiencies such as undercapitalized owners, inattentive property management, curable environmental conditions have allowed the organization to invest intelligently and maximize returns.

Experience is the foundation of success

Vertical Ventures’ senior professionals have led the acquisition and value-creation of more than 10 million square feet representing more than $4 billion in total transactions. Drawing on years of expertise in the entire life cycle of real estate has provided us with a competitive advantage in executing our strategies.

Partnerships based on mutual accountability and trust

We seek to create a lasting alignment of interest with all our partners by ensuring that all stakeholders are accountable for their actions. A flat organizational structure allows for open communication and promotes honesty and integrity in all of our business practices.

Our background in sophisticated institutional investment management empowers us with the ability to combine the agility of entrepreneurial thinking with unshakeable institutional processes.