By Steve Moran
It is one of those things that totally cracks me up. I went to college as a business major (actually started as a psychology major something I think almost everyone did back in my college days) and today I have an interest in the finance part of senior living, but I am most passionate about the people part of it.
Because it is not my passion, even when I attend the NIC conference I find myself drawn to the sessions focused on the people side of the equation and more of my conversations are with operators than with capital providers.
Even in my earliest days of blogging, I would frequently get one or two invites to a 30-minute get-acquainted meeting with a capital provider and the first few were so painful. They wanted to tell me how great they were, except they couldn’t really tell me how they were any different than the folks in the next room and I wasn’t smart enough to know the right questions to ask.
Those invites continue and I have gotten a lot smarter about asking the right questions. So, instead of being painful these little 30-minute meetings with folks like Greystone have become opportunities to hear a different perspective, their view of the senior living ecosystem, and this makes me a better blogger and thought leader.
If you have attended NIC, you know the color of the lanyards signifies the kind of attendee you are. The two most important are the green ones for capital providers and the red (or are they orange) for operators. The idea is that you will not need to do that obvious NIC look where you glance down to see what company, what person, and what position before deciding to engage or move on.
I am not sure it helps all that much.
But this year the conference was awash in green lanyards. There is a lot of capital that is interested in senior living.
Good News . . . Great News!
The big benefit of all this capital is that there is an increasing interest in non-traditional senior living models and this is great news for the industry. We tend to blame the operators for not innovating and they are not without blame, but so much of it has to do with availability of capital. There is no question that if you can’t find capital to try new things, new things won’t be tried.
This could have momentous impacts on aging care in senior living.
On Friday morning, there was a town hall-style discussion about the middle market opportunity and a couple of people in the audience who are doing smaller residential communities made note that most of the capital providers are not really interested.
Except, when the session was over they had several people approach them about funding.
It is still not easy but it is getting better.