Mohamed Nasr, 25
West Hollywood Development and Associates in Beverly Hills is a residential real estate development company.
Financials: Personal funding and a construction loan; investor funding, including a recent $500,000 investment.
What led you to to start this business?
In college, I developed a passion for finance. It motivated me to pursue my Master of Business Administration with a concentration in entrepreneurship. When I learned more about real estate development, I realized I could use my education and understanding of numbers to utilize other people’s capital.
How did you fund it, and how are you funding it going forward?
I self-funded with my partner and received construction loans to begin our first project. Now we are receiving investors’ money, both domestically and foreign.
Are there advantages/disadvantages to starting a business in your 20s, and if so, what are they?
An advantage is I have the time to make and learn from my mistakes without them affecting others. A disadvantage is the lack of experience one has in their 20s walking into a project. I understand that this is an opportunity to learn, however the consequences can be time consuming and detrimental to my work.
Do you have a mentor?
I have been blessed with a business partner who has helped me to stay focused. He motivates me to progress every day, and learn from every experience.
Where do you go for advice regarding your business?
I reach out to my networks within the real estate industry, whether they may be my mentor, colleagues, professors or seasoned professionals.
Where do you go for professional services (legal help, accounting, etc.)?
I have my own personal accountant, lawyer and contractor team.
How much time/money do you spend on social media for your business?
The money we spend on social media is purely meant to market the properties. We spend on average $10,000 per property on online marketing. I have also spent over 100 hours developing a marketing campaign for Benedict (a home). This included filming videos, conducting photo shoots, choosing slogans and researching best avenues for exposure and messages behind every action/word.
Does social responsibility play a role in your business?
Our goal is to always act responsibly and take great care in developing our advertising methods and videos.
Do you feel that your business is particularly tailored to the Los Angeles market, or do you feel you could have launched it in another location?
I feel that our business model changes to reflect the market of every area we work in. The model we may choose to work will differ in Hollywood versus that of Beverly Hills. We are interested in looking outside Los Angeles to conduct business.
Do you encounter skepticism from investors because of your age, and if so, how do you handle it?
When an investor notices my young age, I can tell they are quite hesitant to move forward, especially when issuing loans. However, after looking over my plans, and financial and profit projections, they feel very confident in working with me.
What do you do for fun?
Read, go to the gym, spend time with family and take part in outdoor activities.