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iStar

Real Estate Investment Firm iStar Reduces Time Spent on NDAs by 50% After Adopting Ontra’s Document Processing Solution.
What was Accomplished:
50%
less time spent on NDAs
70-80
NDAs per month
>500
investment firms feeding insights into standardized playbook
Key Results:
Much better work balance
More time for back-burnered, high-value initiatives
Greater efficiencies across the firm

Background

iStar is an investment firm focused on reinventing the ground lease sector, unlocking value for real estate owners by providing modern, more efficient ground leases on institutional quality properties. iStar is also the founder, investment manager, and largest shareholder of Safehold, the creator of the modern ground lease industry. iStar has completed more than $40 billion of transactions over the past two decades.

“Prior to partnering with Ontra, my time was consumed with NDA work. I knew something in my daily workflow had to change so that I could find time to spend in other areas within the company, but I didn’t have time to even think about how to do it all better… how to do it all smarter. Once Ontra came on board, it really freed up a lot of my time. I am now working a more balanced business day and making progress in other company initiatives. I feel like we made a smart decision. We took the right steps and partnered with the right company. Now our NDA work is being done well and at the speed that we need, without having it all done in-house.”

image description

Bessie, Takatsu

Senior Paralegal, iStar

The Challenge

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Streamline the NDA process

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Find more time for other important projects

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Maintain speed and consistency in NDA negotiations

Freeing internal resources from “overwhelming” NDA volume

In 2020, iStar, a New York-based real estate investment firm with nearly $4 billion in diversified assets, reached a critical threshold as NDA volume reached 70 to 80 agreements per month.

Bessie Takatsu, Senior Paralegal at iStar, recalled: “When I joined the company in 2020, I was tasked to work on a number of projects designed to help make the company run more efficiently. One of these projects was to take control of and streamline our NDA process. At the time, all of our NDA work was handled in-house. I found that the majority of my time was consumed with negotiating NDAs and managing the overall NDA process, which left me little to no time to focus on other important work that also needed my attention.”

In order to keep up with the “overwhelming” NDA workflow, Takatsu was tasked with finding an outsourced solution that could help the firm better allocate its time and resources.

Takatsu again, “I come from a BigLaw background, so heavy work volume and quick turnaround are not unusual for me. But with several high-priority projects in my mandate, I needed a cost-effective way to get our NDA work under control without sacrificing speed or quality.”

The Solution

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NDA time cut in half

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Significant increase in efficiency across the business

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More time to address other important work

Ontra provides a cost-effective way to get NDA work under control

iStar vetted a handful of providers before deciding to go with Ontra’s document processing solution.

Takatsu recalled: “We ultimately chose Ontra for several reasons. First, as former BigLaw professionals like myself, their sales team really connected with us. They were more relatable. Second, we knew a number of other real estate companies that were already using Ontra for document processing. Third, since we have a standard NDA workflow, Ontra’s Standard Offering* made sense to us, and the incredible pricing structure made my boss happy. Overall, we just felt more comfortable going with Ontra.”

Since engaging with Ontra, iStar achieved a significant increase in efficiency across the business. With her NDA time cut by half, Takatsu gained valuable hours to focus on improving processes in a variety of other areas, including legal billing, entity management & compliance, and doing a major overhaul of department file management.

Takatsu again: “With Ontra, my NDA workload has been reduced by as much as 50%. That's a big change. Having Ontra as my extended team allows me to oversee all of our NDA work in process, and have the time I need to address other important work that I would otherwise have to put on the back burner. There’s a much better balance now."

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