A powerful investment firm with ties to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and other wealthy elites from the technology industry has, in recent months, engaged in a buying spree of rental apartments in a handful of high-demand western cities.
The purchases made by San Francisco-based Iconiq Capital LLC total more than 1,600 apartments in Los Angeles, Seattle and Denver, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal. The firm reportedly bought the apartments over the past five months, and has additional residential real estate deals in the works.
Iconiq did not respond to Inman’s request for comment Tuesday, but U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings reviewed by Inman shed some light on how the firm operates. The filings reveal that Iconiq launched in 2013 and has since engaged in numerous fundraising rounds, some of which were designed to raise hundreds of millions of dollars.
Filings with the SEC also show that Iconiq has also made investments in a number of high-profile companies such as Amazon, Google parent Alphabet, Apple and others.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Iconiq was managing at total of $13.9 billion in assets as of last month. Besides residential properties, the firm also owns data centers, has invested in a hotel and has helped wealthy clients obtain possessions including high-end property.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is among the most famous of those clients. According to the Wall Street Journal‘s reporting in May, Iconiq helped Zuckerberg buy $59 million worth of property at Lake Tahoe last year.
In 2014, Forbes also described Iconiq as “Zuck and friends secret billionaire fund” and tied its co-founder, Divesh Makan, to other Silicon Valley luminaries such as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.
Iconiq’s new push into commercial residential real estate is focused on areas that attract young professionals and which have rising rents, according to unnamed sources who spoke with the Wall Street Journal. Iconiq has also invested in real estate-related startups such as Hippo Insurance.
The firm’s push into real estate has also raised some concern that it could be creating conflicts of interest, according to the Wall Street Journal.
However, either way Iconiq’s acquisition of apartment buildings epitomizes the trend of big money firms diving head first into real estate. Such firms range in size and focus, but have managed to pour enough money into the sector to create entirely new niches, such as iBuying, and to fuel the growth of institutional landlords that own tens of thousands of rentals.