July 24, 2020 | Marc D. Allan

Revenue growth FY 2017 to 2019: 100%

2019 revenue: $5.5 million

Sharp focus: Ivan Barratt has strict rules about investing—and a way with a metaphor. “Under no circumstances can we violate our discipline,” the founder and CEO of Barratt Asset Management said. “We had a front-row seat to that in 2008. I would rather proceed slowly than to get out over my skis.”

President and Chief Operating Officer Adam Ehret, left, and CEO Ivan Barratt

 Slow and steady: In 2018, the Barratt company, which buys and manages apartment communities, acquired three assets. In 2019, it added just two. It was not for lack of capital but for lack of good prices, Barratt said. “We stuck to our guns and slowed down a little bit to maintain our criteria for acquisition.”

What he saw: Barratt said he developed his approach as “a young real estate wannabe entrepreneur in 2008,” when he saw the financial collapse and what could go wrong. He watched some apartment firms get stronger by using long-term, fixed, conservative debt, and some get hammered by reckless spending and borrowing. “Seeing that helped me figure out a way to operate in the apartment space in a way that may not have rock star, sky-high returns, but it’s also hard to screw up if you do it right.” He decided then: Be in good markets, execute well and you’ll always have demand.

Steady growth: In July 2019, the Barratt company acquired an apartment community in Evansville—“another market we’re very fond of”—and in December, it acquired apartments in Greenfield. Barratt now has 13 total assets in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois and will close on two more this summer.

Finding good buys: Before buying, “we need a high degree of confidence that we can execute our strategy,” he said. “It’s like buying a business. We want a business that’s already reasonably well run, but we have to find apartments that will benefit further from a new management team—from our management team—and that is in a market that is also growing. We’re kissing maybe 200 toads to find maybe one asset that works.”•

Check out more of IBJ’s ranking of Indy’s fastest-growing companies.