Makena Capital Management

Addepar’s Open Architecture
Powers Innovative Experience

Headquarters

Menlo Park, California

Founded

2005

Assets Under Management

$15 billion

Clients Served

Endowments, foundations
and family offices

Team Members

72


Makena Capital Management was founded to bring holistic, endowment-style investing to a broad segment of investors and institutions. Established by executives from Stanford Management Company and other leading North American endowments and foundations, Makena leverages its expertise, scale and manager network to preserve and grow multigenerational capital. As an alternative investment manager and leader in outsourced endowment investing, Makena provides family offices, foundations and endowments with access to a multi-asset-class investment portfolio traditionally limited to elite North American endowments.

Challenge

Staying ahead of growth and complexity

"We had a strong desire to give more transparency to our clients, while staying lean and focused as an investment organization.”

Bill Miller, Managing Director

Investment management—particularly in alternatives—has evolved greatly over the last decade, becoming more competitive and service-oriented. Coupled with a wave of consumer applications such as Wealthfront and Robinhood, client expectations have significantly changed. Since 2013, Makena has leveraged Addepar to get a holistic view across their assets and provide clients with a tailored reporting experience, all in a scalable way.

"We no longer have five clients; we have hundreds. It’s important to scale our analysis and reporting workflows, and Addepar has allowed us to do that."

Derek Lapcevic, Head of Performance Reporting

With a rapidly growing and increasingly diverse client base, Makena needed to continue enhancing the client experience while staying laser-focused as an investment organization. The team wanted to incorporate as much automation and efficiencies as possible—preferring to have high-value client conversations about performance or market trends over where a client’s K-1 is located. The firm knew digital solutions such as online portals or mobile apps would play an important role in scaling communications and transparency, but their existing touchpoint—a third-party’s document repository—wouldn’t cut it.

Solution

Leveraging APIs to create a uniquely Makena experience

Makena decided to move from their fund administrator’s off-the-shelf approach to something entirely their own.

"When clients are visiting us online, it’s a golden opportunity to provide more of that Makena experience. We wanted to translate our client service expertise into an experience you could get anywhere, including online."

Malcolm Stewart, Product Manager

Starting from scratch meant they could create solutions that are uniquely Makena, and evolve beyond offering a basic portal. They also could ensure full control over how they engaged and interacted with clients online—elevating their standard for transparency and self-service. But accomplishing this would require a powerful platform with user-friendly APIs to simplify development.

"From the start, we had a strong vision to be data-independent. Addepar’s competency in software and its open architecture has allowed us to achieve that vision and do so in a modular way."

Bill Miller, Managing Director

As Makena’s data platform, Addepar serves as their engine. “Addepar not only allows us to look at performance, but also at asset allocation, exposures, cash flows and more. We can run consolidated analytics across client portfolios and our own funds and compare with respective benchmarks,” says Lapcevic. Addepar’s APIs and other developer resources make it easy for Makena to securely access their data. By creating requests with Addepar’s Jobs API, the team can tap into a wealth of portfolio data and analytics. Being able to set parameters for any data set, metric or time period, Makena has full flexibility to get the data they need—with complete confidence in the results.

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"At the end of the day, I knew I could always rely on the data in Addepar. If we ever have an issue with data, I always tell our developers ‘Addepar is the source of truth.’"

Malcolm Stewart, Product Manager

Setting a new standard for transparency

The Makena team mapped out the entire experience, from displaying top-level performance and exposures across client portfolios and respective Makena funds to asset class-level insights and manager profiles. This portal was designed to provide clients with a unique understanding of the investments they own through Makena and how they have performed, with color and context. It consists of four primary dashboards:

Portfolio Dashboard

Provides regular updates and insights from the Makena investment team, along with consolidated performance and exposures across every Makena fund in a client’s portfolio.

Fund Dashboard

Provides descriptions of managers in the Makena portfolio, their investment merits and the firm’s strategy.

Asset-Class Dashboard

Shares the latest insights from Makena’s asset-class directors, the objective of each segment in the larger portfolio and asset class-level performance and exposures.

Manager Dashboard

Displays fund objectives and strategies, together with fund-level performance, exposures and asset-class breakdowns.



Results

A foundation for continued growth and innovation

“ Addepar has allowed us to scale without doubling or tripling our operations team. We’ve managed to handle a larger, more diverse client base and meet their more demanding needs with almost flat headcount over the last few years.”

Bill Miller, Managing Director

Makena’s partnership with Addepar has allowed the firm to scale their exceptional service and provide deeper transparency, even as they grow with a more diverse client base. Leveraging powerful technology to address their clients’ changing needs lets the firm’s investment team focus on precisely that: investing. Makena has also evolved offerings to include complementary funds for asset class-specific exposures and subsets of the larger endowment fund, providing clients with more options and tailored solutions. 

Addepar’s self-service API platform makes it easy for Makena to customize their portal experience. Clients appreciate the firm’s attention to detail and commitment to transparency. Makena’s portal is facilitating thousands of interactions each quarter, leading to more productive conversations. “Our clients no longer have to call us for every question about their portfolio, so when we do get on the phone, it’s a more meaningful discussion,” says Stewart. 

It’s also changing how Makena engages with clients. Makena can track account activity and monitor what clients are reviewing on the portal, enabling client teams to prepare for more constructive meetings. This usage data provides additional feedback to help create a more personalized experience.

For Makena, the partnership with Addepar provides the means to grow and manage increased complexity in a smart, highly efficient way. “Addepar gives us the platform to scale and expand our service offerings without having to change foundationally. It’s a great feeling to know you have that flexibility built into your business,” concludes Miller.

“ Addepar gives us the platform to scale and expand our service offerings without having to change foundationally. It’s a great feeling to know you have that flexibility built into your business.”

Bill Miller, Managing Director

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