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Chapter Leader Focus - Maxim Shapiro

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Maxim Shapiro is a commercial real estate finance expert who is passionate about building relationships with people and helping turn their dreams into reality. Four years ago, he made a bold move in pursuit of a vision of his own. After spending over a decade in banking on the East Coast, he moved to the Bay Area (where he knew no one) and founded a capital advisory firm, Novateur Capital.

Shapiro, who has significant expertise in financing, underwriting, negotiation and business development handles wide range of product types. Currently, he is working on mostly multifamily developments or projects that have a residential component given the strong demand in the sector. Most of his deals are here in the Bay Area, however, he is also working on a few throughout the state and in other parts of the country. “I have begun to see a broader range of product types which is exciting,” he said, “From medical office to commercial kitchen, to general industrial, to townhomes, I love the variety!” 

One deal that has him excited is a ground-up townhome development in Martinez. He was introduced to the developer, who had a great idea yet was stuck on the financing aspect after dealing with some players who led him down the wrong path. Shapiro established a trusting relationship with him and found him a loan that was going to give him exactly what he was looking for, with an excellent lending partner. “The combination of helping a client avoid a really bad decision and finding him an excellent solution that will allow him to move forward with his vision is really exciting” he said. “This will also be the largest deal I will have closed thus far as Novateur Capital, which is an added bonus.”

Another project Shapiro finds energizing is a value-add multifamily development on the Oakland/Berkeley line with a developer who has recently gone independent. He was introduced to the group as they were acquiring their first deal and helped them find financing. The project is their second deal together and their second deal with Novateur Capital. “They are taking an asset with significant deferred maintenance and transforming it into something beautiful which will improve the housing stock in the area,” he said. “I find the opportunity to make an impact on the community very rewarding.”

What Shapiro also finds rewarding about his work is solving complex problems. In fact, one of the drivers that led him to start his own firm was feeling frustrating when he worked for institutions. While he considers the experience an important part of his career, he learned that he needs to be on his own in order to be truly happy. “I love that I am a problem solver and one of the things I find most rewarding now is that I am free to make my own decisions and ultimately answer only to myself. There is a lot of responsibility that comes with that which is rewarding as well.”

Relative to NAIOP, Shapiro joined the Chapter in 2020 to participate in the NAIOP Executive Development Program (NED). Currently, he serves on Programs Committee and leads the Real Estate Insiders (REI) series.

 “The NED program is amazing! It really helped me get some much-needed insights into myself that have helped me in my business and in life,” he said. “I was honored to become part of the Chapter Leadership. We have some very heavy hitters in the Chapter, and I have had the opportunity to get to know people who are doing big and impressive things. It’s a great place to meet really good people who care about the industry and are building a great community.”

In terms of advice for emerging professionals, Shapiro recommends really taking risks. “Push as hard as you can and allow yourself to do things that are off the beaten track if it is something you are passionate about or even just mildly interested in and even if it is not the “accepted” thing to do,” he said. “When you’re young, you have the ability to take those risks and in the long run it will only add to your experience and credibility because people appreciate and respect it when they see someone who has followed their heart and had the courage to do something different or unique.”

On the personal front, Shapiro was born in the former Soviet Union and moved to the US at the age of four. He grew up in Boston and spent most of his life there. He graduated from Middlebury College and earned an MBA and Master of Finance at Suffolk University. Love prompted his move to the Bay Area in 2019 and he settled in San Ramon with his partner Katya, a life coach with her own school, and her two children Daniel (18) and Sasha (7). 

In his spare time, he studies jiu jitsu and plans to pursue it to a black belt and beyond. He also loves music and plays the drums. He is working on his CCIM designation and is also a certified professional life coach. Additionally, he loves taking Sasha to school, helping Daniel with his essays and other questions about life and helping Katya with her thriving business.

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