What’s in a name?

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Brian D. Milovich

Managing Principal, Calvera Partners

Our company name, Calvera Partners, has two meanings—both relating to our studies at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. First, the “Cal” in Calvera is the nickname for UC Berkeley. “Vera” is our abbreviation of the Latin word, veritas, for truth. To us, Calvera represents “True Cal.” Second, for astronomy buffs, Calvera is the name of the closest neutron star to Earth. It’s located in the Ursa Minor constellation. With ursa meaning “bear” in Latin, we were also able to work Cal’s mascot into the name.

Calvera Partners is more than a name. My co-founders and I received MBA degrees from Haas, where its culture helped shape us as entrepreneurs and investors. Questioning the status quo led us to start Calvera in 2010. At that time, many of our colleagues at other real estate private equity firms were getting laid off. Their companies couldn’t raise money. Distressed real estate was still being worked out. Yet we believed we were taking an intelligent risk—our timing proved right.

The Haas (and Berkeley) ecosystem finds students who are confident, but who don’t have attitudes. That’s how we go about our business and how we treat our investors. At Calvera, we strive to be transparent. To do what we say. And to back that up with aligned interests in all investments. Trust is key in any business with a fiduciary responsibility and doing so with humility is how we operate.

And we’re always learning. Haas supports intellectual curiosity and learning from diverse perspectives. For example, we pivoted away from our home markets and into the higher-growth Sunbelt. The data pushed us there. New technologies are changing how we manage our company and properties. Different investment structures are better aligned for personal tax goals and long-term wealth accumulation. Without constantly looking and learning, we’d never adapt or change.

Haas also asks us to think ethically and responsibly. Even as landlords, usually personae non gratae, we attempt to do right by our tenants. We also understand that our investors entrust us with their hard-earned capital. That’s a responsibility we don’t take lightly. We believe that Calvera Partners is bigger than ourselves. There’s a reason the Defining Leadership Principals of Haas are as applicable today as they were 20 years ago when I was a b-school student.

While these leadership principals are great, it doesn’t help one understand real estate. Within my first week at Haas, I quickly shifted course from corporate development and went all-in on the real estate program. Why? The faculty was, and still is, first-rate. The San Francisco Bay Area is a dynamic market with all types of real estate, architecture, and companies. The coursework was highly practical and current to the environment at the time. In short, I knew that I’d be prepared for any real estate path I decided to take.

Another benefit of Haas was the large network that we gained. As students, we had access to CEOs and executives of the largest real estate companies in the country. Today, the Berkeley Real Estate Alumni Association (BREAA) is stronger than ever. And my favorite perk of this network is that I constantly get to interact with my classmates 20 years later. Some of whom are investors in our many real estate funds. Others are in the real estate industry, and we get to reconnect at conferences each year. And many receive our bi-weekly newsletters which become good reminders to check-in and touch base, regardless of whether they ever become investors.

I’m lucky to partner with two fellow Haas MBAs. We may each come from different backgrounds, but we share common values. We’ve created an authentic, transparent, and principled approach to real estate investing. This really is the Haas way.

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Performance data listed in this website or is otherwise provided by Calvera Partners, LLC, or its affiliates (“Calvera”) with respect to a particular property or project represents past performance calculated for the relevant project and does not purport to reflect the overall performance of any private funds managed by Calvera, which may include other projects, as well as charge additional fees or carried interest, or have additional expenses, which would reduce the overall performance of the project from the perspective of a fund investor. Past performance does not guarantee future results; Current performance may be lower or higher than performance data presented. Calvera is not required by law to follow any standard methodology when calculating and representing performance data; the performance of any of Calvera’s projects may not be directly comparable to the performance of other investment vehicles or funds; and qualified potential investors can contact Calvera Partners for more current performance data of any private funds managed by Calvera. 

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