In episode 8 of season 8 of the Propcast, Louisa is joined by Benjamin Miller, CEO and Co-Founder and Alison Staloch, CFO of Fundrise. They talk about their journey in PropTech and how they built the Fundrise product to make high-quality real estate investments available to everyone at a low cost. They also discuss the benefits to the everyday user and how they’ve grown since they launched in 2012. A key takeaway from this episode is that most financial products are built for institutions, so how can we democratise private market real estate for individuals?
Key Insights From This Episode:
About Our Guests:
Benjamin Miller is Co-Founder and CEO of Fundrise, the largest direct-to-investor real estate investment platform.
Fundrise’s mission is to use technology to build a better financial system for the individual, one that is simpler, more reliable, lower cost, and transparent. Since launching America’s first online real estate investment in 2012, Fundrise has become the largest direct-to-investor real estate investment platform with more than 1.2 million users, more than $2.4 billion worth of equity under management, and $7 billion worth of real estate transacted, including over 18,000 residential units. Thanks to their robust proprietary technology and vertically integrated infrastructure, they’ve continued to democratize private market real estate for everyone.
Prior to Fundrise, Ben has decades of experience in real estate and finance. As Managing Partner of WestMill Capital Partners and President of Western Development Corporation, Ben was responsible for acquiring, developing, and financing more than $500 million worth of property.
Alison Staloch, CFO at Fundrise. Alison joined Fundrise in April 2021, she characterises her workload as typical of a late-stage company. She’s focused on accounting and reporting, alongside more strategic work, like improving revenue models and managing diversity, equity and inclusion goals. Prior to joining our Fundrise, she served as the Chief Accountant of the Division of Investment Management at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from December 2017 to April 2021, and before that, served as Assistant Chief Accountant from November 2015 to November 2017. From 2005 to 2015, she was with KPMG LLP in the Asset Management practice. Alison has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Miami University and received a Master of Accounting from the Ohio State University.
About Our Host
Louisa started her career in property working at a well-known estate agency in London. Realising her people skills, she moved over to Lloyd May to pursue a career in recruitment. She now is a Director at LMRE, who are a specialist recruitment firm driven by PropTech and recruitment professionals, and Louisa oversees their 5 core areas. Louisa co-founded LMRE and provides a constructive recruitment platform to the new disruptors in real estate. Louisa is also on the board of Directors at UK PropTech Association (UKPA).
LMRE believe there is a better way to recruit. LMRE focus on a more comprehensive, client led focus delivering exceptional talent to the place at the time. They are passionate about the industry and passionate about people’s careers. LMRE spend time with each client to become and an extension of the business, and their transparency and core values help them grow with the sector. LMRE simplify recruitment and innovate with our clients and evolve the people driven, PropTech community.
[02:15] TO BEN: Prior to Fundrise, you were managing partner of WestMill Capital Partners and President of Western Development Corp. Can you tell us about your journey and how you ended up founding Fundrise?
[05:35] TO ALISON: What’s the transition been like going from the traditional capital markets investments zone into a fast-growth tech company?
[08:45] When you say the ‘normal investor’, can you describe that profile?
[09:55] What is the profile of someone who uses Fundrise?
[11:50] Fundrise announced that the average annual return for all Fundrise clients’ accounts was 22.99% for the year, can you tell us how you made that happen?
[13:40] How have you gone about growing the team and attracting people from all other industries to Fundrise?
[16:40] What is next for the whole sector as well as Fundrise?
[17:50] From the CFO point of view, as the business scales, there are lots of extra bits of structure you’re putting in as well to make sure the business can continue to grow and make money.
[19:15] The ‘LMRE’ part, Louisa asks the guests to talk about:
1.Lessons learned in your career
2. Mention a person, product or service
3. Rewarding parts of working in the space:
4.What are you most Excited about for the future of the space?:
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