About us

The firm

Sercea is a real estate investment firm that augments a traditional approach to underwriting risk and evaluating investment opportunities with data science. 

We believe that by leveraging machine learning, we are able to  understand complex layers of data in ways that traditional real estate analysis cannot. By doing this we put our investments in a better position to deliver market leading returns while still protecting investor capital.

What we do

If data, math, and technology are the brains of our business, human interaction, consumer psychology, and design are the heart. Qualitative meets quantitative. For any investment strategy to be successful, a human touch is required – but when a fundamental strategy is augmented with technology and data, a true competitive advantage is achieved in the market. 

Governed by an outside of the box approach to trend prediction and pattern recognition, we use machine learning to connect the dots between historical data and future real-world conditions. Because of this, we are able to make faster, more intelligent decisions about the way we underwrite risk, analyze opportunities, and execute on our investment strategies.

How we do it

The creation of our proprietary methods begins with galvanized hypotheses rooted in economic & psychological theory, applied mathematics, and domain expertise. These ideas are modeled, tested, expanded, tuned, and eventually integrated into our processes.

Sercea is currently focused on syndicating capital into sponsored investment vehicles on a per deal basis. Our targeted equity partners are institutions, family offices, and private investors.

Let us illustrate with an analogy

Imagine you're shopping for groceries. When you pick out your products you might look at the ingredients and nutritional information, but do you know where the kale in the bottle of green juice is sourced from? Do you know the grade last issued by the health inspector at the manufacturing facilities where the juice is processed? Likely not, but if that information was available, how would that affect your decision on whether to buy the juice?

That's what we do. We obtain and synthesize the alternative data in order to create transparency and obtain a more complete picture of exactly what you are spending your money on, or in our case, what you are investing your money in.

Team

Marshall Proehl
Principal

Marshall works on all aspects of the real estate investment process as well as leads the creation and coding of Sercea’s proprietary algorithms and machine learning models. The idea to start Sercea was born out of his passion for programming, data science, and investing and his desire to unite them all in one business strategy.

Prior to starting Sercea, Marshall was a fund level partner and vice president at Northpond Partners, a Chicago-based private equity real estate firm targeting value-add to opportunistic mixed-use and retail investments on behalf of its sponsored fund vehicles. He was charged with running all aspects of the acquisition and asset management processes, overseeing a portfolio with a gross asset value in excess of $150MM. Before Northpond, he was with Shiner Capital Partners, a private equity real estate fund focused on acquiring retail assets, and Pate LaManna Commercial, a boutique investment sales and development firm.

Marshall holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Oregon and a graduate certificate in data science from Harvard University’s Extension School. His interests span many industries and disciplines from volatility trading and psychology to design and economics. In his free time you can find him cooking, traveling, playing golf and tennis, skiing, or reading.

Benjamin Heller
‍Principal

Ben focuses on acquisitions and asset management, as well as assists with the research and creation of Sercea's machine learning models. He leads the company's underwriting efforts with a unique perspective of risk and reward which is augmented by Sercea’s proprietary ability to analyze data.

Prior to joining Sercea, Ben was a part of the Development Team at Focus in Chicago and was tasked with sourcing and underwriting new projects. Additionally, Ben assisted with the asset management of $500M+ in multifamily properties in the Chicago MSA and led Focus’s initiative to expand to new markets outside of Chicago. Before Focus, Ben worked in institutional multifamily brokerage at Moran & Company, specializing in Class-A underwriting and transactions in Chicago and Minneapolis.

Ben holds a B.S. in Business from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business where he concentrated his studies in real estate finance. He was a Harold E. Eisenberg Real Estate Scholar and won multiple awards throughout his education. Ben enjoys traveling, golf, and finding the best restaurants in town.

Firm values

Challenge fundamental assumptions

As the world evolves, so should our assumptions about it 

Act with integrity

Our partners and colleagues are our family

Think differently

There are no bad ideas, until they don’t work

Seek truth

Being right is supreme but discovering you were wrong is better than being ignorant

Learn about our business

Real estate