Acquisitions, Convergent Capital Partners
Bobby Soroory jump-started his success in real estate at 17 years old.
It was 2002, and times were good. “They were offering 100% mortgages to anyone,” Soroory says. He convinced his dad to cosign on an $80,000 townhome near University of South Florida. He worked on the home over weekends and eventually flipped it — making a $15,000 profit.
“I was living at home with only a cellphone bill,” Soroory says. "Not knowing any better, I thought I found my career. This was easy, so I’ll keep going." He flipped a couple more homes and then decided to tackle a bigger project: building 28 townhomes next to USF, right before what turned out to be the market crash.
“I was lucky because I figured out a young age what I wanted to do,” he says. “One deal led to another deal to another opportunity.”
But being an entrepreneur, Soroory felt he lacked structure. So following business school, he applied to be an analyst at Tampa private equity firm Convergent Capital Partners, working under Santosh Govindaraju. Although he continued to funnel his own deals, he also wanted to work under Govindaraju to continue to learn. “He’s been my big brother and mentor since then.”
“As an analyst, you would think it’s sitting in the corner and working on spreadsheets,” Soroory says, “but because of my prior experience wheeling and dealing on my own, I knew all the people Santosh was dealing with.” So the company had Soroory also looking for opportunities for the Convergent fund.
One of his top achievements at Convergent was acquiring and converting the former Mercantile Bank building into what is now the Aloft hotel in downtown Tampa. In 2012, the company paired with Liberty Group to buy the building for $2.2 million. Soroory played an instrumental role in sourcing the acquisition, and after investing nearly $18 million in improvements, the partnership sold it for $30 million in 2015.
In addition to his work in acquisitions at Convergent, Soroory continues to invest in a variety of real estate deals through his family office investment entity. He’s also interested in pursing disruptive real estate technology, such as artificial intelligence.
Soroory’s advice to a young person looking to get into the real estate business? “Find the best people you can, learn from them, and stay loyal to them — that was my secret to success,” he says. “You’re always a student of the business and never a master.”
ON THE RECORD: Bobby Soroory
Employer: Convergent Capital Partners
Years on the Gulf Coast: 30
Marital status/children: Just married in Italy
Alma mater/degree: University of Tampa: Master of Science in finance and Master of Business Administraion in entrepreneurship
Where is the best place to network? Depends on your industry. For commercial real estate, there are great organizations like Real Estate Investment Council and Society of Real Estate Professionals that hold monthly events with like-minded professionals.
What's the best business lesson you've ever learned? Embrace failure, and sometimes, the best deals are the ones that you don't do.
What's your top tip for being productive? Exercise, and limit your time on social media
What's the weirdest job you've ever had? Having been entrepreneurial since 17, I would say that the entire experience has been unusual to say the least. Each major event in my career has created another opportunity for growth.
What community group or organization are you most involved with? University of Tampa — Board of Fellows; Society of Real Estate Professionals; Society of International Business Fellows
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? I would be more actively involved investing in the tech space. I've learned that innovation occurs at the intersection of two separate industries. I would love to spend more time thinking through how real estate and technology intersect to derive modern solutions to an industry that is in the midst of modernization in many ways.
What's your favorite off-hours activity? Basketball, golf, traveling and mentoring young professionals
What's your favorite board game or video game? Naturally, Monopoly
What's the top item on your bucket list? Shark cage diving in South Africa
Where is your happy place? Home with my family
What's your favorite podcast? "Privcap" and "Bigger Pockets"
Who/what is your favorite musical artist/band? The Weeknd
Who would play you in a movie about your life? George Clooney
What was your first album/tape cassette/CD? "Bad" Michael Jackson
What was your first concert? I vividly remember this: Usher and Janet Jackson at the “Ice Palace” in 1998
What's one song that will get you out on the dance floor? Any song by Drake
What's your favorite karaoke song? Never tried it
What instrument/role would you play in a band? The DJ
Please describe yourself in three words. Honest, driven and loyal