Matt Siddell, the founder of Quorum Property Club, tells us about the organisation and how it helps a growing number of property industry professionals to meet the right network of peers to talk about challenges and opportunities, and enjoy some exciting events.
Please tell us a little about yourself and how Quorum came about.
I’ve been in the property world since 2009, when I started buying distressed assets from housebuilders. These were all new apartments they had as stock. I kept them for a couple of years waiting for the market to improve and then sold. In 2011, I moved into developing and established Opulen, where I built up a portfolio of properties in Reading and London. With London beckoning, in 2016, I sold the Reading portfolio and set my sights solely on London, where I went head first into the Referendum. The market dropped, and my portfolio no longer stacked up. Frustrated by the margins in London and the volatile market I wanted to do something new. The property market, like many, is based on information and contacts – finding deals and funding, and all about networking. From experience I knew there had to be a better way of doing things, of finding the good deals and investments.
I had built up a lot of contacts and realised there was nothing solid out there, a lack of offering for the property world to engage in something worthwhile. Random networking is a waste of time. What’s needed is something far more sophisticated, with management and organisation, so people can connect properly providing value on both sides. So I created Quorum. It’s all about relationships and bringing carefully matched people together where they discuss deals and challenges, in confidence.
What format does a forum take, where does it take place and who is typically involved?
The club brings together groups of entrepreneurs and business owners with complementary profiles, so they can do business together. There are 20-40 members in each forum. Once a month, members meet in groups of up to 20 to discuss deals and challenges, build relationships and work together during workshops.
Each month members are rotated so that they get to know the rest of the people in their forum. Members are matched to forums according to their experience, goals and objectives, and Quorum aims that each group consists of a 25% minimum of each category – developers, investors, professionals and wildcards. These four membership groups ensure each member has direct and frequent access to the other categories – this is one of Quorum’s key value-adds.
We run morning or afternoon sessions and they always involve lunch and a drink afterwards. We hold them at the same venue each time. Venues have been chosen for easy accessibility for members travelling into London and are close to train stations.
Is the residential sector, and the new homes part of it in particular, well represented in your current membership?
Our unique model means membership is balanced – which ensures each forum/event has the right mix. The Club is full of owners of wonderful businesses and it’s bursting with opportunities in residential, commercial, PRS, student, retirement, care and hospitality. In a typical forum developers – mainly building new homes represent 25% of the group.
How have things developed since your first forum?
The Club is evolving all the time. We initially launched with the Forum Membership, which requires members to attend a monthly workshop. Despite being very popular, we have found that not all members have the time to attend each forum, so we have added to the offering. We now offer three different membership options – Forum Membership, Core Membership and Affiliate Membership. The new Core Membership launched last week is for members that want all the benefits of being in Quorum without the obligation of attending a monthly workshop. We have several monthly Forums which are full and will be adding more such as a Hotels Forum. We are also looking at smaller groups which will be more focused for example the investors where they can cover due diligence and co-invest and diversify. We now have 80 members and are growing all the time.
For anyone unfamiliar with the concept – how beneficial can these types of forum be on a personal and corporate careers/HR level?
Members benefit from access to one another and their opportunities, knowledge, experience and contacts. This highly concentrated environment enables a diverse group of professionals with complementary goals to help one another and form close working relationships in order to take advantage of opportunities that previously wouldn’t have been convertible. The purpose is for members to collaborate, make new connections and grow their businesses. The Club is for decision makers and business owners – a motivated attitude towards learning and personal development means that all members stand to accelerate their progress.
In addition to the forums, you organise other events – can you please give us an example or two, what they involve and the feedback you’ve had?
Last Sunday we hosted a driving day. Nick Cowell came first – he always does. He’s highly competitive. I came second. I can never beat him. They are fantastic team-building days and weekends and we always get positive feedback from them. We wanted to tap into the notion that a lot of business is done on the golf course and how important having fun and getting to know people out of the business environment can be. Our upcoming events include Wimbledon and the Monaco Grand Prix, a luxury spa weekend in the French Alps, and social night out in the West End.
What are your ambitions for Quorum?
The resources of our existing membership are already considerable and our strapline is “Together we can do great things” which is proving to be absolute fact – people are working together and the profits are substantial. Our full-time job is to help people connect and find opportunities; investments, funding or services. We simply want to do more of this and support our principal charity 88bikes, and other good causes in the process.
If anyone from the housebuilding industry might be interested in learning more, what’s the first step?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.