Chief Investment Officer
As Chief Investment Officer of CA Ventures, Nishant Bakaya leads CA Ventures investment management team to help manage the firm’s strategy across multiple asset classes, including student housing, senior housing, residential, and hospitality.
Prior to joining CA, Nishant was the Global Co-Head of Real Estate Private Capital for Evercore Partners. During his tenure, Bakaya advised CA Ventures on its $660 Million joint venture with QuadReal Property Group and GI Partners to acquire, develop and manage student housing properties at select universities throughout the United States. Over the course of his career, Bakaya has been involved in over $100 billion of real estate transactions across the senior housing, student housing, hospitality, multi-family and retail asset classes.
Nishant holds an MBA with honors from the University of Chicago and bachelor’s degree in economics from Franklin & Marshall College.
Global Head of Investments and Principal
John Diedrich serves as the Global Head of Investments and Principal for CA Ventures. He is responsible for the oversight of all acquisitions and development, globally, for CA’s wide range of commercial real estate asset classes. John provides strategic leadership from pipeline formation to capital raise and project closing. As a member of CA Ventures’ Investment Committee, Mr. Diedrich supports the development and implementation of the firm’s investment strategy. John also oversees CAV Finance – a division dedicated to alternative investment products and EB5 business.
Since joining the firm in 2008, John has actively supported CA’s growth from a ~$400 million portfolio into the $10 billion portfolio it is today. He has overseen $3.3 billion worth of student and multifamily dispositions and has played a crucial role in the expansion and diversification of CA’s portfolio, domestically and internationally.
John graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science in Finance
Executive Vice President, Investor Relations
Sean Zasche serves as Executive VP of Investor Relations of CA Student Living. In this role, Sean is responsible for overseeing the firm’s investment and disposition activities and structuring and managing joint venture relationships with institutional investors.
Prior to joining CA, Sean was a Vice President at M3 Capital Partners, a global real estate investment and advisory firm based in Chicago. Over nearly 10 years with M3, Sean advised public and private operating companies in the execution of over $13 billion of institutional private equity transactions. He was also responsible for sourcing and identifying entity level investment opportunities on behalf of M3’s subsidiary, Evergreen Investment Advisors, which managed $3.4 billion of institutional equity. Prior to M3, Sean worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers as an Associate in the real estate assurance group.
Sean received a Bachelor of Science in Business (with distinction) from Indiana University where he majored in Finance and Accounting.
Sean is an active member of the Urban Development/Mixed-Use Council of the Urban Land Institute and of the National Multi Housing Council.
Head of Capital Markets and Chief Experience Officer
Katie Kazas serves as Head of Capital Markets and Chief Experience Officer for CA Ventures. Katie oversees a $3 billion loan portfolio and acts as the primary point of contact for all of CA’s lending relationships across multiple asset classes. Her wide-ranging responsibilities include sourcing term sheets, negotiating loan documents and reporting performance of assets. In Katie’s five-year tenure at CA, she has overseen the execution of over $7 billion of total loan volume.
In addition to leading the firm’s capital markets group, Katie is responsible for developing and implementing various corporate-level initiatives focused on workplace culture and professional development. She co-manages CA’s affinity groups – Women of CA, Social Impact and Wellness – which bring employees with shared interests together outside of their professional responsibilities. In 2017, Katie established a formal Summer Internship Program, which has quickly flourished into a prestigious career opportunity for young professionals interested in the real estate investment industry. She continues to oversee and provide strategic direction for the program.
Prior to joining CA, Katie was a Managing Director at The PrivateBank (now CIBC) in the Commercial Real Estate lending group. Katie was responsible for developing new business through existing and new clients, maintaining customer relationships, analyzing and monitoring the financial performance of clients, and evaluating needs and requests for financing.
Katie started her career at LaSalle Bank as Assistant Vice President in the Commercial Real Estate Department after completing LaSalle Bank’s Commercial Banking Training Program.
Katie received a Bachelors of Science in Finance from the University of Illinois – College of Business.
Katie was named REFF’s 2016 Women of Influence, graduated from Crain’s Leadership Academy in 2017, received REFF’s 50 under 40 award in 2018 and in 2019 received Crain’s Notable Women in Finance award and Bisnow’s Chicago Power Women award.
Executive Investment Analyst
Ms. Lau serves as CA Ventures’ Executive Investment Analyst. Ms. Lau oversees CA Ventures’ real estate portfolio valuation and financial planning across all business units, including CA Student, CA Senior, CA Residential, and CA Europe/International. In this role, Ms. Lau works closely with the company’s investment management team in forecasting cash flow and evaluating investment capitalization, restructuring, and disposition opportunities. Additionally, Ms. Lau coordinates with CA’s executive leadership in the cultivation of CA’s relationships with its partners and investors.
Ms. Lau has more than 20 years’ experience in financial analysis and valuation of real estate portfolios, specializing in student, residential, senior living, office, and commercial assets throughout the country. Prior to joining CA Ventures, Ms. Lau consulted for numerous corporations, developers, and brokerage firms, including Vornado Realty Trust, CB Richard Ellis, Grubb & Ellis, and U.S. Equities Realty.
Ms. Lau earned Bachelor of Science Degrees in Accountancy and Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Vice President, Investor Relations
Robert serves the RIA/High Net Worth/Family Office markets for CA Ventures delivering timely updates and investment philosophy for CA strategies across the United States. Robert joined CA Ventures in August of 2019. Prior to joining CA, Robert was a Client Advisor for JPMorgan Asset Management serving the Midwest Regional Territory of the Subadvisory/Insurance distribution channel and also worked at Stifel Nicolaus, a full service brokerage and investment banking firm where he was a research analyst covering Mutual Funds, ETFs and Separate Accounts.
Robert has previously held his Series 7,63, and 53 licenses and was a Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor(CMFC). He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from The University of Mississippi and his Masters of Business Administration from Fontbonne University.