How Lumentum Took One Company from $2M in Investments to $50M
Tax lien investing is a time-consuming process. Countless hours of copying and pasting data into spreadsheets, making phone calls to county and state offices, requesting permission to view sensitive documents and normalizing all data acquired is a cumbersome process—and it’s done every single day.
Manually combing through virtual piles of records and data takes a lot of patience and in the end takes away from tax lien business goals—actually investing in properties and making a profit.
At Kite Tax Lien Capital—a hugely successful tax lien investment company located in Florida—Kite and his associates manage more than 25,000 tax liens and certificates between their home state and Colorado.
In 2009, Kelly P. Kite of Kite Tax Lien Capital wrestled with the amount of data and normalization required to keep his business afloat and agile.
When Kite first met the team at Lumentum in 2010, he was trying to build his business and portfolio, and struggling to keep up with the massive amounts of data and due diligence needed.
In the span of just one year, Kite went from $250,000 in business to $2.5 million and Kite lacked the technology to keep up.
The tax lien investment space was becoming increasingly competitive—ripe with new, motivated investors and growing businesses—Kite knew that simplifying his data collection and normalization process would give him a leg up on the competition. It was then that he kindled a partnership with Lumentum that would change the course of his business in the years to come.
For Kite, it never made financial sense to hire additional employees to manage the vast amounts of data, normalization and research needed to make his business work. Personnel and data management were not something Kite wanted to spend time on, so bringing Lumentum to the table as a solution that perfectly fit his needs.
Now with access to to fully normalized data at his fingertips, Kite knew that Lumentum would cut down the data-processing man-hours needed to scale his business and provide him with more time in a day to buy and sell tax liens—the very reason he started his company.
The more automated the system gets, the less time is needed to operate the administrative side of the business. Using Lumentum, Kite:
- searches the advanced tax certificate management database that’s updated in real-time,
- simplifies his research,
- uses county data in a standardized format,
- reads aggregated data,
- utilizes a full-service brokerage desk 24/7 and
- saves previous searches to refer to at a later date.
There was no longer a need to go to different county websites or scour records that vary by state and even county and information that was once presented in different formats and took countless hours to fix was now delivered in the same format—as downloadable, sortable and easy to read data. “It was a hundred times more time-consuming of a process when it was manual,” Kite said. “Lumentum takes all those different data sources, and whether you’re looking at a piece of property in Pensacola or Key West, you can filter and create formulas to score properties.”
Additionally, Lumentum provides Kite a secondary market brokerage to invest money in. As the premier full-service broker for institutional tax lien investors, Lumentum has a highly active secondary marketplace with dozens of pools of certificates with total face values in the range of tens of millions of dollars and a full-service brokerage desk available for support.
“If we had to rely on making phone calls and keeping in touch with funds and researching the market and where to invest, we would never be able to meet our goals” Kite said. “The amount of time it saves us is tremendous.”
But Kite and Lumentum’s partnership doesn’t begin and end with their robust platform. Since their partnership began several years ago, Lumentum and Kite have benefitted from each other’s expertise. Lumentum’s commitment to continual improvement of their products coupled with their desire to create solutions responsive to the real life challenges tax lien investors face drove them to seek out Kite’s feedback and test new features and products in authentic situations.
Dedicated to doing things the right way and creating tools that save time, money and resources for those in the tax lien community. This partnership staked on mutual respect and trust has fostered growth for both Kite and Lumentum, and has allowed them to branch out and develop new products and solutions for the tax lien community.
Early next year, Lumentum plans on rolling out a new tool tested exclusively by Kite. The new tool tracks tax liens throughout their entire lifecycle—from purchase date to redemptions and Tax Deed applications. As the first to know about it and work closely with Lumentum to address any bugs or glitches, Kite feels it’s a game changer.
“The data is up to date and accurate,” he says. “It’s scraping data from various county websites constantly. It’s the most accurate data you can get and I can trust that what I’m looking at is current, and in this industry, current data is everything.”
No longer does Kelly P Kite Tax Lien Capital need to struggle with disorganized data or spending money to hire additional employees to do the legwork for Kite Tax Lien Capital, thanks in large part, to Lumentum.
Lumentum gave Kite and his associates their time back while delivering premium results in an easy to use solution. And it doesn’t stop there.
Their robust and feature-rich platform has allowed Kite to increase his profit margin and create a business that’s easy to scale and maintains agility, opening up the business to manage more assets.
“I probably would have had to hire a team of computer programmers to pull the data we needed to operate,” Kite said. “I think the size of our business would be much smaller and would need a lot of heavy lifting in several areas. We were able to grow much faster and more efficiently with Lumentum.”
Even though Kite scoffed at the thought of sharing Lumentum’s proprietary technology with others, he wouldn’t recommend anything else. “I’d tell anyone who wants to use Lumentum, that they provide the best data there is for our industry.,” he continues, “In this business, information is everything. The better information you have, the better decisions you can make. I don’t see how you could have a tax lien business without a company like Lumentum.”