LONDON — Online property investment platform BrickVest has raised £2 million from its second fundraising round.
The Series A funding takes the current total raised by the London-based startup to £2.7 million including seed funding, and the firm expects to raise an additional £2 million by June this year.
It is unusual for a company to announce funding results mid-way through a round, but the firm said it decided to extend fundraising after investor Jean Romain Lhomme joined its board in December, and persuaded the firm to expand “further, quicker, and bigger” than originally planned.
The firm was launched in 2014, and is part of London’s burgeoning “PropTech” (property technology) scene, which encompasses a growing number of firms applying technology to the property industry.
BrickVest is a Europe-wide crowd-investment marketplace on which users can actively manage their investment in institutional-grade real estate with a minimum stake of just €1,000 (£854). It targets high net-worth individuals and most of its existing 2,350 investors have far exceed the minimum stake.
BrickVest CEO Emmanuel Lumineau told BI that the platform seeks to “democratise institutional real estate investing.” “In a nutshell, that means being part of the deal that only the pension funds, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley were doing,” he said.
He added: “Our vision is to be the Bloomberg, the internet brokerage, for real estate investments. We are trying to do that without compromising on the quality of the projects — so they are all institutional deals — without compromising on fund and risk management.
BrickVest boss: ‘We are putting the best deals within the best framework and protecting investors’
The firm was recently granted an Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM) Licence, which means it is fully-regulated with cross-border passporting rights across Europe.
“In property, lots of people have deals but don’t have security, or quality fund management set up. Most of our competitors are just a brokerage platform where you are left to your own mercy. We are putting the best deals within the best framework and protecting investors at the same time,” Lumineau said.
Investors on BrickVest are typically either family offices or real estate “insiders” — high-net-worth bankers and financiers working in institutional real estate without enough wealth to be part of the fund they are working in.
Lumineau said that the firm intends to grow its assets on the marketplace by up to €300 million (£256 million) in 2017.
The Series A capital will be spent on technology and data analytics, as well on developing a new “VIP” sister platform on the same website, which will offer bigger-ticket deals.
Board member Jean-Romain Lhomme, who previously ran investment fund Colony Capital Europe, said:
“I invested into BrickVest because I believe the company is about to disrupt the model of how to invest in real estate around the globe from small private investors to large institutions.
“BrickVest is not a crowdfunding platform, it’s a state-of-the-art solution platform for sophisticated investors and sponsors, with a strong and unique positioning.”
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