Tag Archives: Crowdfunding

Real Estate Tech

The State of Technology & Innovation in Real Estate

The integration and adoption of technology into every industry is inevitable, even in industries that are traditionally relatively slower to adopt like real estate. Tech developments are enabling professionals in the space to be able to facilitate easier, faster, efficient, and more secure deals for all parties involved. Below are some of the emerging technology trends that are being integrated into real estate now, and in the coming years, many of which have been accelerated by the outbreak of COVID-19.

Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality

The AR/VR spaces have seen tremendous growth, and it seems with the onset of COVID-19 the demand and urgency to roll out these capabilities has only increased. With the need for limited contact during the pandemic, restricted travel, and work from home trends, it is only natural that AR/VR trends will continue to surface in the real estate industry.

AR/VR technology increases the efficiency of managing tangible spaces and properties. Buyers and investors can view homes, office spaces, apartment complexes, industrial properties, office buildings, etc. without having to physically visit these properties. This saves time and money. The benefits are plentiful and include:

  • Virtual tours to advance remote property viewing,
  • Increased efficiency of property marketing,
  • Web and mobile applications for easy accessibility (even if a user does not have a headset),
  • Detailed investigation of properties that saves time,
  • Potential to remotely cover all stages of the negotiation process,
  • More dynamic and real-time collaboration with architects, developers, GC’s, and brokers,
  • Ability to build out a space, input secured tenants, and decorate a potential property, and
  • Many other use cases and capabilities are being developed daily.

The increasing popularity of real estate mobile apps and websites to search for properties will only be enhanced by AR/VR technology. People are closing deals and investing in properties/land without even physically seeing properties and are saving time in eliminating those properties that they would otherwise waste view in person.

CRM, Automation, & Business Intelligence

CRM programs are still in an early stage of adoption in the real estate industry despite being around for a while, and regardless of having proven their incredible value to companies in every industry. This industry relies on, and has a heavy emphasis on relationships, so the value to having a great system is immense. In addition, the more a firm and its professionals can automate the sales and marketing process to supplement their activities, the more likely they will be to grow.

Further, not just helping with the management of relationships and sales but tracking and referencing data can really set firms apart as well. For example, “Business intelligence derived from big data is already one of the biggest trends in property management. It can empower a real estate application affecting the process of interaction of property owners, agents, and customers in the app. BI provides various tools for the optimization of decision-making. Business analysis algorithms are applied to get intelligent predictions defining the relationships of app users. Then, it is easier to give an answer to the question about what is going to happen. Reviewing internal data and analyzing business processes, BI is increasing your data-driven real estate business. With business intelligence software solutions, you can optimize your operations leveraging and processing all incoming data.”

Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

AI and ML have a bit longer of a way to go yet compared to the other trends, but they’re likely a lot close to widespread adoption then you’d think. An article from Forbes, highlighted some of their potential use cases:

“Right now, property search sites rely on simple preferences like location and size to display properties for sale; in the near future, however, AI may enable these sites to recommend properties based on additional preferences, personality traits, and values.

AI will also be able to help predict pricing trends more accurately. This type of technology would look at historical trends in the market for an area, but might also take into account area crime, schools, transportation, and marketplace activity.

It may also make the buying experience faster and easier. Companies are already creating ways to digitize the entire homebuying experience — no more reams of paper to read and sign at closing.”

Crowdfunding & Fund Syndication

Purchasing real estate, especially in the commercial/industrial sector, obviously requires a large amount of capital, which creates high barriers to entry. Syndication through crowdfunding, (along with blockchain mentioned below) allows for part-ownership in properties. Similar to how crowdfunding has become popular for those wanting to invest in start-ups without the traditionally large amounts invested by private investment firms and angel investors, you can now crowdfund to invest in properties too. This easier access enhances the trend towards a “sharing economy” where expenses are distributed, yet relationships flourish, through sharing the tangible things that traditionally single people or businesses would own. This is further evident in the business space through the popularity of coworking spaces.

Blockchain

Blockchain is most often associated with cryptocurrency, but it is reshaping business practices in traditionally non-tech industries. Blockchain does not necessarily change how real estate business is done; however, it serves to mitigate many of the challenges that arise in real estate negotiations, creating a safer and more efficient approach for the industry.

Fraud has existed in every industry that uses paper contracts. Why try to develop fraud detecting software or practices instead of just getting rid of the real problem: paper. So-called smart contracts can link digital property ownership to the blockchain, preventing any altering of material terms once they are encrypted. The documents become impossible to forge as the cryptography keeps them safe.

Although records are impossible to forge, they are not impossible to update. Typically, up-to-date, and relevant property information can be difficult to obtain when dealing with real estate paperwork. Also, it often must be paid for. Blockchain, however, provides all the historical data on properties and relevant updates in real time, preventing the need for any intermediaries to provide and verify relevant information.

Real estate deals involve many different individuals: notaries, bankers, real estate brokers, and others. Blockchain allows the buyer and seller to reduce the time needed from some of these respective individuals for their deals.

Drones

Marketing has become less about specific products/capabilities and more about storytelling, creating an emotional attachment to material things. Creating videos using drones can help tell the story of properties while maintaining a cost-effective marketing budget. Different angles give a better big picture look into what a property can offer.

Furthermore, drones can also assist in estimating the value of a property. Not only can you see surrounding properties, but you can get a better feel of the surrounding community. Drones can be used to spot potential risks or maintenance issues, providing a more thorough evaluation of properties.

Conclusion

This article just scratches the surface here, as there are many other technologies rolling out related to construction best practices, architecture, maintenance, materials, marketing, etc. The industry is ripe for further disruption and optimization which presents incredible opportunity for those that embrace it and make the most of these emerging technologies.

 

Written By: Mike Simmons and Evan Shirreffs.

Launching an Equity Crowdfunding Collaboration

Launching an Equity Crowdfunding Collaboration

WIMS Consulting is launching a collaboration to assist startups and well-established businesses with launching their equity crowdfunding campaigns. We are partnering with The Arora Project and Striders Group (the team that brings you DiscoverCLT and more, further details about each below) to deliver this unique offering.  Not only will we help with the financial compliance component, but with the marketing, CRM, and PR as well to super charge your campaign’s effectiveness.

While we will assist companies across the USA, we are primarily focused on launching in Charlotte and Miami initially. The collaboration will assist with traditional crowdfunding campaigns as well. This initiative is also designed as an ancillary and related focus to the WIMS Consulting Fund service line which supports private equity, venture capital, and family office funds with their own firms as well as their portfolio companies’.

For some additional background and context on the experts we’re working with:

Krishan Arora, CEO of The Arora Project published the article below in Forbes that goes into depth about the nuances and what is required. This is required reading as the starting point for those interested in potentially pursuing this approach to growing your business.

“Equity Crowdfunding Will Revolutionize Fundraising For Startups”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2020/06/08/equity-crowdfunding-will-revolutionize-fundraising-for-startups/#3849fd8cc433

“The Arora Project began in 2016 as a full-service crowdfunding campaign management agency, helping creators globally raise over $75 Million in funding. Today we maintain our expertise in crowdfunding as well as offer a wide array of digital marketing solutions to innovative companies looking to launch the next big idea. The pride and passion we have for our projects has resulted in an exceptional service that you won’t find anywhere else.”

Striders Group provides, “marketing services that help you stand out from the crowd. With over 10 years of experience, we help businesses create their brand presence and achieve their goals. Our process is designed to empower your brand and outfit your business with the marketing tools needed to succeed.”

If you’re interested in learning more and/or setting up a discussion about whether your company would be a good candidate please reach out!

Seed Round Capital

Notes on Raising Seed Round Capital

Throughout the past year I’ve helped lead a couple of seed round funding for company’s that I’m a co-founder of. While I’ve assisted and consulted many startups prior to that with raising money, doing it from this perspective was quite different. I won’t admit to knowing absolutely everything, but I’ve certainly learned a few things along the way that are worth sharing if you’re in a similar situation or considering it.

Seed round funding takes significantly longer than you think it will, even if you’re just going after “friends and family”. Start reaching out to potential investors at least 6-9 months before you think you’ll need the funds as it can easily take that long to close the deal and collect the check.

How are you going to structure your company, and the investment? Delaware C-Corp’s are a common favorite structure and get a ton of attention, but you don’t necessarily need to structure it that way. Do you want to offer a convertible note or do a straight equity investment (or equity crowd funding – which is a whole other game)? There are pros and cons to each of these decisions, so it really just comes down to preference and seeking expert counsel.

Get serious about documentation as there’s a ton of it required. These deals are a negation, so anticipate there to be red lining for edits on a term sheet contract, additional concessions will be asked for, etc. Secure an attorney to assist you with this side of things. While you can start with a template, always get approval from a professional before executing the deal and finalizing documentation. It will help you later.

Your valuation is likely too optimistic. But even then, a valuation is always subjective. Your true valuation is essentially what you can convince someone your company’s worth. Remember no business plan or pitch book in the history of the world was 100% accurate with their projections. Make sure your work comes across as thoughtful and realistic however to show the potential investor that you did the work and aren’t just flying by the seat of your pants.

A “yes” isn’t really a yes until the money has been transferred. Don’t count your chickens and start deploying capital until you have received it. You can get a yes (or what you perceive to be a yes) on a deal but then when it comes time to complete a wire transfer the investor can get a little gun shy. Things happen, whether they get push back from their spouse, the market takes a downturn, or perhaps it’s some other random unexpected occurrence, a deal isn’t truly closed until you have the money in hand.

Collecting the funds isn’t where it ends, rather it’s just the beginning. After you receive the investment capital, then you have to execute the vision, deliver on what you said you were going to, provide further documentation along the way, communicate progress regularly, and ideally turn a profit so you can return the capital back along with a sizable return on their investment. Not sure which is the hard part? They all are.

What are some of the things you’ve learned along the way? There are so many others to consider. I always love hearing, and learning from, a good case study about your personal experience raising funds if you’re willing to share.

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Hathrup.com Entering Beta Testing Phase

Hathrup.com is launching the beta testing phase of it’s website and platform that primarily focuses on making access to capital for entrepreneurs more convenient and significantly easier.

April 9, 2015 (USA) – Hathrup Capital Funding, LLC (HCF), a website platform that offers entrepreneurs, start-ups, inventors, and investors an opportunity to connect and help each other, has announced the launch of the beta testing phase for it’s socially interact website and “FundMeNow” program.

“As entrepreneurs and investors ourselves, too many times we have seen and experienced numerous ideas fizzling out because of the lack of capital. As a team, we have struggled to raise seed capital in ventures we have done in the past and met with too many people that gave us a reason why we could not create and achieve our dream,” states Henry Norom, Co-Founder and CEO of Hathrup.

This recurring problem spawned the idea of using the peer-to-peer business model, made popular by companies such as Uber and AirBNB, to bridge the vast gap that exists for entrepreneurs seeking funding to achieve the American dream. The idea evolved over time, leading to the social media like platform, which is now something of a cross between Facebook, LinkedIn, and Kickstarter, but for primarily geared towards connecting entrepreneurs, investors, and the many ancillary people that help support them.

Further, most of the existing solutions out there focus primarily on start-up tech companies that offer innovative products and services, yet the vast majority of entrepreneurs with service business (80% or so of small businesses) are left out. They may not have a sexy idea that will change the world, but they have solid businesses that need access to start-up capital as well. Whether someone wants to open a hair salon, photography business, or even an independent legal or accounting firm, Hathrup will help facilitate. These businesses may not get the attention of some of the larger VC funds, but they deserve the opportunity to achieve the American dream as well.

As Hathrup’s mission states, it wanted to bridge elements of what makes all these ideas and companies successful, while stripping away the downsides in order to create a more complete product specifically tailored to improve the lives of users, not exploit them.

An excerpt from their mission reads:

“Hathrup is a free, capital-funding facilitating technology company. We are a non-bank/untraditional finance company. We are a social media/social networking company specifically for entrepreneurs and their family and friends. We are a crowd-funding company, without the strangling limitations of high minimums and the must-reach-your-arbitrary-goal-to-actually-get-funded restrictions. We are a peer-to-peer company that allows you to receive a direct financial contribution to your company via our FundMeNow program, which is facilitated by PayPal, giving you access to the capital you desperately need as it comes in and when you need it, i.e. ASAP. We are a capitalism facilitator. Hathrup takes the technological advancements of today, mixes them with the philosophy and ideals of the American Dream of yesterday, in order to bring you a better way to make your dreams become a reality tomorrow.”

Initially, Hathrup.com is narrowing its focus to entrepreneurs who need between $500-$25,000, for either building a prototype, purchasing inventory, or are looking to launch or expand their business.

As they now begin to enter their beta testing phase, they are seeking other like-minded thought leaders to take their site for a spin and to offer feedback. Those who are interested in participating, you can email contact@hathrup.com to get access.

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Hathrup.com was founded in 2013 and is a LLC registered in Delaware. For more information, please visit the website at www.hathrup.com. You can keep track of their progress in real-time by following along on Twitter @Hathrup, and/or at www.facebook.com/hathrup.

Media Contact:

Mike Simmons, CMO

Hathrup Capital Funding, LLC (HCF)

PH: 305.562.9639

mikesimmons@hathrup.com

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The Hathrup Manifesto

What is www.Hathrup.com?

Hathrup Capital Funding, aka Hathrup, is a free, capital funding facilitating technology company. Hathrup is a non-bank/untraditional finance company. Hathrup is a social media/social networking company specifically for entrepreneurs and their family and friends. Hathrup is a crowd-funding company, without the strangling limitations of high minimums and the must-reach-your-arbitrary-goal-to-actually-get-funded restrictions.

Hathrup is a peer-to-peer company that allows you to receive a direct financial contribution to your company via our FundMeNow program, which is facilitated by PayPal, giving you access to the capital you desperately need as it comes in and when you need it, i.e. ASAP. Hathrup is a capitalism facilitator. Hathrup takes the technological advancements of today, mixes them with the philosophy and ideals of the American Dream of yesterday, in order to bring you a better way to make your dreams become a reality tomorrow.

We believe in the power of the human mind, and we belief that anything is possible when one is determined. We want to help remove the barriers created by the world around you, to clear the way and let you run with your innovative and potentially world changing ideas. Hathrup represents a newer and better way of doing things, one that puts PEOPLE first. We look forward to working for you, and to watching all of you change the world for the better.

As we now begin to enter our beta testing phase, we are seeking other like-minded thought leaders to take our site for a spin and to offer us feedback so that we can go live with the best service possible. If you are interested in participating, please send us an email at contact@hathrup.com. We understand that perfection is impossible to attain but we will continue striving for that unreachable ideal daily as we relentlessly work to enhance the value we provide for our users.

You can keep track of our progress by following along on Twitter @Hathrup, and/or at www.facebook.com/hathrup.

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The New Entrepreneurial Landscape: Not Just an Ol’ (White) Boys Club Anymore

American’s born abroad are now responsible for launching more than a quarter of new businesses in the US. This is a substantial trend as that percentage continues to grow each year and doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Hathrup Capital Funding, the company I’m thrilled to be the CMO of, is extremely proud to be one of these businesses as our CEO, Henry Nnorom, was born in Nigeria, and continues to pursue his American dream. At Hathrup, It is our mission to help entrepreneurs of all backgrounds succeed regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, or any other demographic.

Henry Nnorom

Henry Nnorom, CEO of Hathrup, realizing it’s time to get back to work!

It’s no secret that the American economy as a whole is vastly different than it’s ever been. While there haven’t been too many changes to the top of the food chain other than the emergence of the tech titans, the landscape in the middle class is evolving at a rapid pace. The reemergence of growth in this country can largely be attributed to the groundswell of start-up businesses.

Entrepreneurs are inspiring and creating a revitalized level of innovation enabled by the rapid progress of technology. Because of this the world has become very small, and much easier to make an impact. One of most important components of this increase in new businesses is that it is largely attributed to women, immigrants, and minorities, creating one of the most unique opportunities for commerce in the history of the world. This is better than the Silk Road, the rail road, and just about every other commercial quantum leap combined. It is the opportunity for literally everyone to become a member of your target market and the potential to spread commerce to a global scale without having to leave your couch.

Collaborating across multiple cultures and backgrounds and biases inspires innovation and growth. Differing ideas that complement and challenge each other lead to better ideas. The fact that people from other countries are coming here to start a business is a huge win for the US. This not only expands our tax base, improve our markets by increasing competition, but it also opens up a gateway to the rest of the world. This enables any small mom and pop shop to have the potential to create a global impact. Collaborating and working with businesses from a variety of backgrounds opens up your opportunity as well. In the event they maintain connections in their home country, new markets emerge and become a realistic opportunity.

At Hathrup, it is our goal to facilitate funding of businesses locally in the US initially; we especially want to service people of all backgrounds and ethnicities as we subsequently want to export capital around the world. When we help a business get started here, after they become successful, hopefully they will then want to pay it forward and fund businesses not only locally but from their home country as well. That is how we help create and facilitate a more global economy and enhance growth for all. This will enabling people to be able to make their dream become a reality and gain an entirely higher level of pride and self-worth.  We want to encourage everyone to take the chance and start the business of their dreams. Even if they maintain their day job while they build it, that’s ok with us.

Stay tuned as we gear up to launch our beta testing program in the next few weeks. If you’re an entrepreneur, planning to become one, or if you’re open to the possibility of becoming one of our investors please reach out and let us know. We’re opening up our testing program to those interested in getting a sneak peak at the platform in order to get user feedback and implement improvements before going live on a much larger scale.

Funding Gap

The Gaping Hole in Capital Funding

Along with countless other entrepreneurs out there it has been nearly impossible to acquire funding for my consulting firm, WIMS Consulting. It’s a constantly looping game of “chicken or the egg.” You can’t get a business loan or start-up funding without demonstrating two-three years worth of income. Simultaneously you can’t grow your business to a sustainable level without having an appropriate amount of capital. See the dilemma?

While I’ve been fortunate enough to walk this tight rope since I launched my business back in March, at some point the only way my business can truly grow is with additional external funding. Only that’s much easier said than done, as you can only operate on retainers and short-term projects for so long before the bills start piling up. But for professional service businesses like mine it’s difficult to show predictable and sustainable revenue in the beginning. It’s not only the case with consulting; it’s the same whether you want to start an accounting firm, a law practice, a hair salon, or photography studio among countless others.

Perhaps I’m just going about it all wrong? I certainly realize that’s a distinct possibility. To quickly digress, this isn’t meant to be a “woe is me” post, I may have to struggle now but don’t get me wrong, it’s been the most exhilarating and rewarding experience I’ve had in my professional life to date. But in case I’m not the only one stuck in this catch-22 let’s review the existing options out there along with their shortcomings.

The first one that comes to mind is going to an actual bank. Theoretically their sole purpose of existing is to give access to capital to those that need it, right? Ha! Unfortunately that is far from the case. They only loan money to those that already have it and don’t need it. Even when they do consider shelling out a measly slice of the multi-billion dollar pie they’re hoarding they make you jump through insurmountable hoops while holding you hostage throughout the entire process.

After banks the idea of peer-to-peer lenders came to mind. Companies like the Lending Club would be more understanding that I can’t provide two years of my business’ tax returns because I just started it, right? Wrong. It doesn’t matter how much money you made at your previous position, starting your own business deems those years of income moot.

Unless you have a world-changing technological innovation or company that can prove solid cash flow over multiple years, venture capital and private equity aren’t really an option. Not too mention the equity hit you’ll have to take for them to give you the time of day typically isn’t worth it either. Moving on.

I finally found the ideal solution, or so I thought. Crowdfunding is all the rage these days and the success stories receive a ton of media attention. While it has been a step in the right direction, and has done wonders for things like financing movies of old TV shows and launching innovative new products like the Coolest Cooler, it doesn’t help much when you’re starting another “boring” service business. I tried getting in on the action by setting up a GoFundMe account; sadly it still remains bare after several months. There remain challenges with this approach, but at least upcoming (still pending) changes allowing the incorporation of equity provides hope.

What’s left is the dreaded and awkward “friends and family” option, another far from perfect one however. This is especially true in my case as I personally come from a very poor family. While I’m generally very proud of that fact, it’s an unfortunate one when you’re trying to raise capital for your business. Yet, even when you get past the awkward ask and get to pitch to wealthy friend, it’s quite challenging to assure them that you will be able to generate enough revenue to be able to pay them back as these can be quite unpredictable businesses. You can’t blame them for being concerned, like any reasonable person they just want that elusive guarantee that their investment will be returned to them.

Despite this ongoing challenge, starting my own business from scratch has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life, and one I’d remake over and over again. And on a sort of related note, the best businesses always solve a huge problem that a large number of people face. Therefore there is a huge opportunity here.

When I became the CMO of the start-up (and soon to go live) Hathrup Capital Funding it’s clear that this is a problem that I personally can become part of the solution for, while helping potentially millions of people in the future so they don’t have to go through the same experience I have. I’m very much looking forward to the challenge.