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.

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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.


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

Tracy Letchworth

Tracy Letchworth is Senior Vice President of Asset Management and is responsible for asset management and operations of the office and industrial portfolio at Vertical Ventures. She has over two decades of institutional commercial real estate experience in the disciplines of asset management, property management, leasing, construction management, and property repositioning. Prior to joining Vertical Ventures, Tracy held leadership positions at The Swig Company, Transwestern, and Cushman & Wakefield, in addition to roles at Shelter Bay Retail Group, RREEF, and Mack-Cali. She has managed office, industrial, retail, and mixed-use product.

Tracy received her bachelor’s degree in real estate and urban land development with honors from Virginia Commonwealth University and is a Certified Property Manager (CPM®).

Our Philosophy

Vertical Ventures is committed to the growth and success of our investors, tenants, employees and our external environment

Relationships Built on Trust Yield Superior Deal Flow

Dedicated to sourcing and securing the most coveted investment opportunities, Vertical Ventures has carefully cultivated decades-long relationships with municipalities, government agencies, property owners, investment brokers, leasing brokers, mortgage brokers, bankers, attorneys, title and escrow officers, and other key professionals. We offer a unique Broker Participation Program that incentivizes real estate professionals to submit investment opportunities to Vertical Ventures before the general market.

Analytical Rigor Eliminates Mistakes and Improves Decision Making

With direct input and oversight from Vertical Ventures’ senior professionals, our underwriting team constructs incredibly detailed financial projections for each potential acquisition. By utilizing our cutting-edge proprietary data and analytical tools, our partners can rest assured knowing that they have been provided with the most precise and accurate information available.

Exhaustive Diligence Eliminates Surprises

Analytical rigor and exhaustive due diligence are the cornerstones of our investment philosophy. Once engaged in a deal, our diligence team conducts an in-depth analysis of historical property operating results, complete tenant lease files, vendor contracts, current property condition, potential market and governmental influences and a thorough understanding of the condition of title, property survey, zoning compliance and other legal matters. This objective due diligence process helps eliminate surprises and maximize investment yield.

Disciplined Acquisitions Maximize Value

We focus on acquiring under-performing and undervalued assets at prices well below replacement cost and intrinsic value. Disciplined in our approach, we work tirelessly to uncover opportunities with unexploited potential. We take advantage of opportunities presented by artificial and correctable impediments to value, including complex ownership structures, poor capitalization/lack of required capital, unsophisticated or inattentive property management, curable environmental conditions and other various advantageous circumstances.

A Foundation of Experience Creates Success

Vertical Ventures’ senior professionals have led the acquisition and active asset management on investment transactions totaling more than 10 million square feet and representing more than $3 billion in value throughout multiple real estate cycles. When considering an investment opportunity, we draw upon our unique backgrounds in real estate law, commercial appraisal, property and asset management, construction management, real estate finance, municipal entitlements, contract negotiations, asset disposition, commercial brokerage, and business plan creation and implementation. This broad and unique foundation of commercial real estate expertise under one roof provides us with a competitive advantage in consistently identifying attractive opportunities and executing our strategy.

We’re Committed and Accountable to Each Other and Our Partners

The firm acquires commercial real estate primarily through direct investment and joint-ventures, ensuring a durable alignment of interest between ourselves and our partners. Our flat organizational structure promotes accountability among our professionals, as well as open and honest communication among all stakeholders, in line with the company’s commitment to integrity and transparency. We are entrepreneurs that come from sophisticated institutional investment management backgrounds. This affords us the unique ability to combine “fiduciary-minded” institutional processes with the agility and adaptability of an entrepreneurial operator.