Editor’s Note: David Drake of The Soho Loft and LDJ Capital writes in once again to cover the latest big announcement out of the crowdfunding world: today’s new that Realty Mogul has raised a $9 million Series A round led by Canaan Partners.
Realty Mogul, lauded as one of the top real estate crowdfunding platforms just one year after its inception in 2013, has successfully raised $9 million for its platform in a Series A round led by Canaan Partners.
This deal represents one of the largest Series A funding made by a female chief executive officer, and Jilliene Helman, Realty Mogul’s CEO, seeks to “bring the $11 trillion commercial real estate market into the 21st century.”
Realty Mogul maintains its transparency by always working alongside professional real estate firms and investment companies, such as AH Capital and Crawford Park Financial, making funding more accessible and investment opportunities more available. Since its launch in 2013, it has now exceeded the $100 million mark of total value of properties backed.
Realty Mogul is currently open to accredited investors who have a net worth over $1 million or an annual income above $200,000. The exclusion of non-accredited investors is in a bid to avoid regulatory drawbacks with the SEC, as well as to ensure compliance. It is with this in mind that Helman believes that, with this financial backing by Canaan, thousands of investors will have easier and more transparent ways to diversify their portfolios within the commercial real estate market that was once hidden behind a closed door.
Armed with modern technologies that make crowdfunding for real estate simpler, the company facilitates online investments of pre-vetted properties and gives investors 24 hour access to investments through an online investor dashboard. Even if investors decide that they would like to invest in a property, their funds are not committed until the full amount has been raised.
Realty Mogul, which approves every listing, has a wide asset base that spans commercial and residential properties as a way for investors to diversify their investments and, by extension, their risk. The investor is subsequently notified of movements on their investments, such as when the full figure has been invested, as well as receiving any resulting distributions, such as rental payments from the properties.
Operating originally from Beverly Hills, CA, Realty Mogul has branched off into several other states to include Tennessee, Washington, Seattle, Kansas, and Texas.
To date, approximately 6000 individual investors have invested $14.6 million in 58 properties across 14 states. Analyses of total figures, states, and capital injected by the company indicate that Realty Mogul is in fact the largest crowdfunding marketplace online, underwriting over $1.5 billion in last year alone. Data from Realty Mogul show that approximately 67 percent of the investments received through this platform are from repeat investors and that another 55 percent of this number consists of individuals making multiple investments.
According to Hrach Simonian, principal at Canaan Partners, “Realty Mogul will be the next disruption in a massive asset class just like LendingClub has been for the consumer credit market.”
Labeled the “Start-up to Watch” by Digital LA’s Digerati Awards, Realty Mogul is turning heads with its innovations and continued success. With this Series A funding facilitated by Canaan Partners, this crowdfunding platform is likely to attract more big spenders. Its secret may not be so much what it is doing, but its incorporation with real estate companies synchronized with its radical way of selling properties. With this much capital injected, and with so many potential investors lining up, the only way now for Realty Mogul is up.
Jilliene Helman of Realty Mogul will be one of the speakers at the April 24 Global Real Estate Crowdfunding Conference in New York.
David Drake is an early-stage equity expert and the founder and chairman of LDJ Capital, a New York City private equity advisory firm, and The Soho Loft – The Voice of Capital Formation – a global financial media company with divisions in Corporate Communications, Publishing and Expos & Events. You can reach him directly at David@LDJCapital.com.Read More →
Intel has just announced its acquisition of Basis Science, the hot wearable technology company based in San Francisco. As TechCrunch first reported, the startup went to the chipmaker for around $100 million. The startup will be part of Intel’s new devices group. Read More
In 18K Schools And Counting, Clever Confirms $10.3M Raise From Sequoia, Paul Graham, As It Looks To Build The Next Big Learning Platform
Clever launched out of Y Combinator in 2012 on a mission to help K-12 schools unlock student data, keep it up to date and safely share that data with developers. In other words, Clever’s technology enables schools to make student data more accessible and, in turn, help developers reduce the amount of work they have to do to build killer applications from that data and deliver it back to… Read More
Vicarious, a San Francisco-based company that developed technology to solve Captcha queries last fall, just raised a big new $40 million round from investors including Joe Lonsdale’s Formation 8, Mark Zuckerberg, Vinod Khosla and Peter Thiel. Zuckerberg invested personally while others like Dustin Moskovitz and Ashton Kutcher invested through their funds. Aydin Senkut’s Felicis… Read More
Launched in late 2012 by former Google engineer Sachin Gupta and his IIT batch mate Vivek Prakash, HackerEarth helps India’s growth-stage startups find technical talent they so desperately need. Unlike in the Silicon Valley, where many engineers still find it more lucrative to work for a hot startup than an IBM, or even a Microsoft, Indian startups have to fight perception battles and work harder to attract engineers who mostly prefer to work with more stable, bigger tech companies.
HackerEarth is like a GItHub, except that it’s not only about the Open Source projects.
“For developers, LinkedIn profiles does not matter as much as a platform where they can showcase their work, and GitHub is mostly about Open Source projects,” Gupta told TechCrunch.
Recently, one of the fastest growing Indian startups, InMobi, was looking to hire a Python and Ruby programmer urgently. HackerEarth helped it find one programmer in Taiwan. The startup now wants to tap into Eastern Europe and other Asian markets.
With almost three million engineers currently employed in India’s over $100 billion technology sector, around one million software coders and programmers are added every year. Clearly, the supply is not the challenge, at least not for the country’s biggest software outsourcing powerhouses such as Infosys and TCS who still hire thousands of engineers and non-engineers every year to perform commoditized application development.
And it’s not just the startups looking to hire programmers who are not just Java developers. Many bigger companies scrambling to get high-paying software projects from WalMart and Citi are beginning to hunt for such talent.
Startups such as Practo, which develops online clinic management software, find it even more tough to hire programmers they really want.
“Finding a good developer is like looking for a needle in a haystack”, Sri Karthik Sayana, hiring manager at Practo said in a statement. “By using HackerEarth, we have experienced greater than 80% fit between the candidates identified by the platform and the ones we offered a role at our company”.
As we wrote in April last year, HackerEarth is able to help startups do real-time evaluation through its online engine.
HackerEarth competes with YC alum InterviewStreet, apart from several others in the recruitment space. But the startup says its obsessive focus on finding the right technical talent is a differentiator.
“We will be spending more on sales and big data matching engine,” said Gupta. HackerEarth was part of the GSF Accelerator’s first batch. GSF SuperAngels has also participated in the latest funding round.
Unlike traditional recruiters, the startup evaluates programmers on some of the very basic parameters including the computing memory footprint and quality of code. All this is achieved by holding programming challenges. In one such recent challenge, HackerEarth heaped InMobi hire around half a dozen programmers in one day, a process that could have taken at least a week.
With the latest seed round, HackerEarth joins a small, but growing alumni of startups incubated by Angelprime. Backed by Mayfield, Jerry Yang and Chamath Palihapitiya’s Social+Capital Partnership among several Silicon Valley investors, Angelprime was launched in June 2011.
As I wrote recently, India’s accelerator ecosystem is facing some harsh realities, and many of them are beginning to work with late-stage startups without Y Combinator-like batches. For its part, Angelprime has always been focused on investing in fewer, but focused startups that have the potential to scale and become $10 million companies in three years. Since it was launched three years ago, Angelprime has incubated four companies — ZipDial, Ezetap, SmartOwner, and now HackerEarth.Read More →
With hardware suddenly all the rage, accelerators devoted entirely to the genre are popping up all over the place. And that includes the far-flung regions of Russia.
The Navigator Campus will be the first private hardware technology park in Russia’s Kazan region. If you’re unsure where that is, well, it’s at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia. Ok, nevermind. Suffice to say that the Navigator project will focus on consumer robotics, 3D-printing, smart electronics for “smart home” systems and wearables. And we are talking hard-core Russian tech expertise here.
Navigator is launching with $4 million in backing by founders Ramil Ibragimov (Runa Capital) and Vasil Zakyev (shtrafy-gibdd.ru, Ohmymentor.ru). It may not sound like much, but you can do quite a lot with $4 million in Russia. And they are not stopping there. The GRAVIZapp angel fund, specializing in hardware startups, will co-locate there. And they plan to build a network of hardware hackspaces and accelerators in the region, hoping to raise that funding to top $30 million spread across the region. Thus, neighboring cities like Ufa and Perm will get their own Navigator spaces.
Serguei Beloussov, Runa Capital senior partner and Acronis CEO, believes that access to scientific and business experts, VC mentors and hardware industry players like Dell, Samsung, IBM, Cisco, Intel and Foxconn will mean “we will soon see more venture-backed hardware deals in Russia.”
Some 93 out of 120 spots have already been taken by startups, covering various fields including 3D printing, robots, healthcare hardware, and consumer electronics.
A few hardware projects located there have already raised early money:
• iBlazr – a crowdfunding startup from Kiev (with $150K+ raised on Kickstarter previously) is building a ‘smart’ LED-flashlight for smartphones and tablets.
• Krisaf – robotized gym equipment for accelerated rehabilitation of children with cerebral palsy.
• ENNOVA – a startup manufacturing NOVA 3D printers.
“Our ambitious aim for the next 5-10 years is to launch this kind of projects in each and every Russian city with up to 1 million citizens in order to create a powerful hardware-community based on the Russian engineering history,” says Ibragimov, of Navigator.
It sounds like they might just do it. The Russians are coming…Read More →
The company raised its first institutional round from lead investor Blumberg Capital and U.S. Venture Partners after picking up seed investments from a who’s who of the technology community, including BlackBerry CEO John Chen; Ken Goldman, the Yahoo CFO; and former Oracle COO Terry Garnett.
“The world has changed quite a bit with the financial service meltdown, and regulatory compliance is the resulting fact in today’s world,” said Strevus Chief Executive Ken Hoang in an interview.
Think of Strevus as a monitored and managed networking tool to ensure compliance with new regulations for financial services firms that are going to start taking effect this year.
“Compliance is not a competitive advantage today. The government is picking off [financial services firms] institution by institution,” Hoang said.
The first market that Stevrus is looking to address within the alphabet soup of new and updated compliance requirements being issued by the federal government is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.
FATCA targets tax evaders in the U.S. who aren’t properly reporting overseas financial accounts, and foreign financial institutions who bank for U.S. taxpayers or foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a majority stake, according to the IRS’s website.
San Francisco-based Strevus is currently working with a handful of banks on its managed platform, which operates as a networking tool and an industry Rolodex — as well as a compliance offering. “It’s similar to Box with a LinkedIn functionality,” said Hoang. “We’re enabling customers to reach out to others and bring their data in.”
Strevus will sell its service to both buy-side and sell-side firms. On the buy side, the company is targeting banks and financial services firms with assets ranging from $250 million to $1 billion. On the sell side the customer base is the top 20 banks, said Hoang.
A subscription to the Strevus service costs a sell-side customer between $100,000 and $200,000, according to Hoang.
Photo via Flickr user Bloomsberries.Read More →
High school sports is big business, but few schools can afford to support a robust athletic website with complete player stats, dynamic schedules and rich media. That’s where Varsity News Network comes in. VNN is today announcing an additional $3 million in funding to scale nationwide and launch its first app.
The Series A was led by Arsenal Venture Partners, with participation including, but not limited to, North Coast Technology Ventures, RSL Venture Partners, Start Garden, Grand Angels, Northern Michigan Angels, First Step Fund, Muskegon Angels and the Michigan Angel Fund.
Started just over two years ago, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company boasts 250 schools in 14 states currently using the VNN platform.
Essentially, VNN provides turnkey websites for high school athletic departments that work alongside existing programs and pulls in media from social channels. The result is a professional-looking website that is rich in data that most schools can afford and easily manage. Moreover, while local media often covers high school sports, they tend to focus on superstars. VNN gives all players an opportunity for fame.
The resulting website doesn’t seem like much more than a simple WordPress theme, but the schools are apparently loving it. The company’s current customer counts were acquired on just $552K from the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund and a partial close of $1.09 million last February. The new round of financing will go towards scaling operations to get more schools signed up.
“In just over two years we’ve grown the VNN platform to include more than 250 schools in 14 states, supporting hundreds of thousands of students and their families,” said Ryan Vaughn, co- founder and CEO of VNN, in a released statement today. “With this capital, we are poised to grow even faster and reach the 40 million students and family members who are left out of traditional sports media coverage.”Read More →
CrowdFunding: Alternate Options to Raising Venture Capital on Silicon Valley Smart Money
with Sydney Armani , Danae Ringelmann , Robert Mitchel Nancy Hayes