Beyond The Bio: 16 Questions With B+E Net Lease Co-Founder And CEO Camille Renshaw
This series profiles men and women in commercial real estate who have profoundly transformed our neighborhoods and reshaped our cities, businesses and lifestyles.
Camille Renshaw, co-founder and CEO of New York-based B+E Net Lease, or Brokers and Engineers Net Lease, is a dominating force in the commercial real estate industry with more than 20 years of experience and $20B in transactions under her belt.
A tech entrepreneur in her early years, Renshaw entered the world of commercial real estate after selling one of her tech startups and using those proceeds to acquire two real estate portfolios — one of which consisted of single-tenant net-lease assets. Eager to learn more about the industry, she joined Colliers International as an investment sales broker, where she dealt largely with net-lease assets.
Renshaw then joined the Stan Johnson Co., where she helped found the company's New York office.
"Eventually I grew to have the largest team there in terms of people and revenue, which is important because of all the M&A activity that happens on a team level. After we were there for five years we sold ourselves to Ten-X. My No. 2 became the head of a vertical we formed at Ten-X for net lease and I was head of sales," Renshaw told Bisnow.
"I finally felt like I could go out on my own after that experience. We took a couple of months off after leaving Ten-X last summer and got the band back together in September and started B+E."
B+E Net Lease is an online exchange that allows commercial real estate investors to trade NNN assets across the U.S. The platform is powered by artificial intelligence and provides real-time asset pricing and data analytics. The company has offices in Tampa, New York and San Francisco.
When she is not busy brokering deals, Renshaw, 46, enjoys backcountry hiking, drinking natural wine and cooking large multi-course meals for her friends and family.
Bisnow: How do you describe your job to people who are not in the industry?
Renshaw: We help investors buy and sell single-tenant commercial real estate properties nationwide by combining cutting-edge technology with senior people.
Bisnow: If you weren’t in commercial real estate, what would you do?
Renshaw: Something entrepreneurial — I love creating new products and new businesses. I doubt I will ever stop working, but if I were to retire today, I would backcountry hike all of the major trails around the world.
Bisnow: What is the worst job you ever had?
Renshaw: Working as a runner at a law firm during college.
Bisnow: What was your first big deal?
Renshaw: After I sold my startup Dyzco Technologies to American Financial Services Corp., I took the proceeds and bought two portfolios of properties. The first portfolio was all single-tenant commercial properties, and I still own many of those today. In hindsight, I was very fortunate to sell the other portfolio, which consisted of all single-family residential, at the peak of the market in 2004-2005, only because I disliked that kind of investment so strongly.
Bisnow: What deal do you consider to be your biggest failure?
Renshaw: I really don’t look at any of my deals that way — every deal, every relationship, every experience builds on the last one and provides the experience necessary for me to do bigger and more complex work each year. I enjoy risk and am good at riding the roller coaster of success. My family would tell you that I am the eternal optimist!
Bisnow: If you could change one thing about the commercial real estate industry, what would it be?
Renshaw: I would make the industry more diverse on a number of levels. I’m not a bleeding heart — my first-person experience has simply shown me that diverse perspectives and experiences create greater investment returns.
Bisnow: What is your biggest pet peeve?
Renshaw: When people waste their talents by not giving maximum effort. I love it when people work very, very hard.
Bisnow: Who is your greatest mentor?
Renshaw: My grandmother. She had the courage to run away from a bad home life in Alabama when she was a teenager, became a WAC (Women’s Auxillary Corps) at a hospital on Staten Island during WWII and was later a great wife and partner to my grandfather back in Tennessee. She would never have called herself a feminist but always told me that I could do anything if I worked hard enough. She told me not to worry about being afraid — fear is healthy and should never go away — but to focus on being brave.
Bisnow: What is the best and worst professional advice you've ever received?
Renshaw: The best advice — familiarity breeds attempt. The better we know each other, the more time we spend together, the more likely we are to do business together, to "attempt" to make real change together. The worst advice was from my father who initially encouraged me to become a lawyer and anything but an entrepreneur.
Bisnow: What is your greatest extravagance?
Renshaw: Natural wine — I love its richness in taste and culture. It's similar to small-scale farming, in that the winemaking is very personal and relational. My family opened the first natural wine shop in Florida recently. There's no trip too long and no effort too great to discover an innovative “natty” winemaker.
Bisnow: What is your favorite restaurant in the world?
Renshaw: My favorite restaurant in New York right now is The Four Horsemen. It’s in Williamsburg and was founded by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem. The small setting features Scandinavian design and has the delicate acoustics of a recording studio. The menu is seafood-heavy and features an incredible natural wine list. The place embodies a “somms in sneakers” vibe.
Bisnow: If you could sit down with President Donald Trump, what would you say?
Renshaw: Stop tweeting.
Bisnow: What's the biggest risk you have ever taken?
Renshaw: As an entrepreneur who has started a number of new ventures, it’s hard to single one out. I will say that the risk level increases with every new endeavor, as you take the relationships, skills, experiences and capital from the last one and invest it all into your next venture. I love it!
Bisnow: What is your favorite place to visit in your hometown?
Renshaw: Most early mornings I run along the East River in Williamsburg with my Labrador.
Bisnow: What keeps you up at night?
Renshaw: Wine that is not natural!
Bisnow: Outside of your work, what are you most passionate about?
Renshaw: It's probably food and wine. I love to cook, and twice a year I create a 12-course meal for friends and family and serve it over about a six-hour period. Southern food recipes that I learned from my grandmother and other people. We sit around and tell stories, play games and share new wine discoveries with one another.