Networking event leads to local real estate fund start-up

May 23, 2014 11:00 AM

Maggy Baccinelli

Cullan Maumus

Cullan Maumus, left, and NORF construction manager Daniel Bell discuss renovation of a Mid-City project site on South Cortez Street. (Photo by M. Pereira)

For Tulane University alumnus Cullan Maumus, networking is serious business. And it has delivered his best return on investment to date: the opportunity to be project manager and executive team member of the New Orleans Redevelopment Fund (NORF), a start-up that tackles blight and renovates properties to answer the city’s growing demand for quality housing.   

Maumus, who earned his MBA in 2013, met his business partner Alex Hernandez, who received a Tulane MBA in 2003, at the annual New Orleans Freeman Days event in March 2013, a recruiting and corporate connection event organized by the A. B. Freeman School of Business.   

Already working on purchasing and renovating properties in New Orleans with his friend Michael Niemtzow, a 1998 Tulane grad, Hernandez saw an opportunity to scale up. Maumus’ six years of experience in general contracting looked like a good fit for NORF, then only an idea on paper. 

Freeman Days proved to facilitate a perfect marriage of alumni talents and perspectives. 

After taking on market research assignments for Hernandez and Niemtzow, Maumus stepped into his full-time role at NORF on June 1, 2013, helping to launch the company. 

“As an entrepreneur, every conversation you have with a person is an opportunity for business, and networking is so important,” Maumus says. “You are always selling yourself, and you have to show confidence for your potential partner to be confident in you.” 

It’s a mantra that holds true in his work today, as NORF actively seeks investors in its Phase 1: the acquisition and redevelopment of between 15 and 20 multi-family units in New Orleans. 

Now focused on Mid-City, where $2 billion has been invested in hospital development and there is an influx of new residents, Maumus says the company is open-minded to all opportunities. 

Maggy Baccinelli is a communications specialist in the Office of Development Communications.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000