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Small fish swimming with the sharks, SJO grad finding success in real estate business


NASHVILLE, TN - 2016 St. Joseph-Ogden graduate Jake Pence hasn't let the pandemic slow him or entrepreneurial pursuits down. The real estate business he founded two years ago is now based in Music City. Kaski, formerly known as Blue Chip Real Estate, is a real estate investment firm "focused on luxury short-term rentals in Nashville and value-add multifamily properties in Central Illinois and Middle Tennessee."

This is a short-term rental in Nashville that Pence purchased and has since renovated. See more photos on his Instagram page where he describes his acquisitions experience. Photo courtesy Jake Pence

Pence's fledgling business has grown from managing four units valued at $250K to 83 worth $7.5 million. He also raised $2.15 million in equity from 23 investors who believe in his vision.

After graduating from the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois in 2019, Pence had a choice to join the corporate world or hop on the sometimes turbulent, unpredictable path of entrepreneurship. He chose the latter.

The first year-and-a-half was a little rocky, but Pence made some strategic moves that have paid off.

"For the first year & a half, it seemed like I had placed a bad bet," Pence wrote in a Facebook post. "However, thanks to the help of numerous people, especially Jared Blaudow, Kendra Pence, & Todd Pence, Kaski finally started to gain traction in the summer of 2021 & was able to close out the year strong."

He also found time and the opportunity to start a new subsidiary business called Stay Music City. The operation is a short-term stay property management company offering luxury single-family homes to an estimated 16.2 million visitors a year to not only the home of country music but also fans looking for a place to stay attending collegiate and professional sporting events, conferences or work-related trips.

Kaski is also set to close on a deal for two apartment complexes this quarter that will more than double the number of residences in their rental portfolio.

"We're still a very small fish in a very large pond, but I'm excited to see what we can accomplish in 2022 & beyond," he said, who earned varsity letters in three sports at SJO.

When asked what advice he would give aspiring entrepreneurs and real estate developers, he offered sound advice.

"Be impatient with action, yet patient with results," he said. "Don’t take yourself too seriously or get too caught up in the highs and lows, just take consistent action over a long time period and you will start to see results."

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