Real estate crowdfunder Realty Mogul has raised an additional $9 million that it will use to help more qualified investors buy shares in commercial and residential properties for as little as $5,000.
The Series A funding round, reportedly one of the largest of its kind ever closed by a company with a female CEO, was led by Canaan Partners.
“Canaan’s backing will help us to enable thousands of investors to have an easy, transparent way to diversify their portfolio into commercial real estate by crowdfunding opportunities previously only available to a select few,” said Jilliene Helman, CEO and co-founder of Realty Mogul.
Realty Mogul enables accredited investors to browse investments in residential and commercial properties on its website and buy into them. Real estate firms sponsor the deals, accepting investors’ cash through Realty Mogul, throwing in a little of their own and then executing and managing the investments.
Investors that buy stakes in deals facilitated by Realty Mogul earn cash returns ranging from 7 to 10 percent off of rental revenue, according to Realty Mogul.
So far, investors have used Realty Mogul to invest $14.6 million in 58 properties in 14 states that are collectively worth $100 million, according to the startup.
Realty Mogul said it will spend its pot of cash in three ways.
First, it’ll work on expanding the number of deals it makes available to investors at any given time. That’ll largely involve building relationships with real estate firms that can bring the deals to Realty Mogul, Helman said.
Second, it’ll invest “millions in technology to have the best interface for investors,” so that investors come to think of Realty Mogul as the “E-Trade of real estate.”
Lastly, it’ll beef up its customer service.
Real estate crowdfunding might not seem like anything special. After all, intermediaries have long pooled money from investors and handed it to real estate companies that purchase property with it.
But what sets real estate crowdfunding apart from its offline predecessor, “real estate syndication,” is that real estate crowdfunding brings more access and transparency to the marketplace.
By putting investments online, real estate crowdfunders are able to attract more potential investors and sell shares in properties that cost only a few thousand dollars instead of hundreds of thousands.
Real estate crowdfunding also makes it much easier for investors to keep tabs on their investments. Realty Mogul offers investors a dashboard that help them track their investments performance and keeps its investors in the loop by producing webinars and Q-and-A lists for each investment.