CrowdSeekr.com offers aggregation, search functions for real estate crowdfunding efforts
By Richard Mize
Copyright © 2016, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
An Oklahoma City commercial realty executive, e-commerce attorney and information technology expert have launched CrowdSeekr.com, an aggregator and search engine for real estate crowdfunding offerings.
“Real estate investors should pay attention,” said Tim Strange, CrowdSeekr.com vice president of real estate. “The crowdfunding market has more than doubled in the past year to over $34 billion.
“The real estate equity segment alone reached $1 billion in 2014, was projected to reach $2.5 billion in 2015, and is expected to continue growing rapidly.”
Strange said he; attorney Ashley Smith, CEO; and Marylee Strange, chief technology officer, started CrowdSeekr.com because “while investments have flooded into this growing market, tools for searching for and discovering deals are struggling to keep up
Crowdfunding offers investors the opportunity to invest relatively small amounts — as little as $5,000, according to a search of CrowdSeekr.com on Friday — in potential high-return deals.
Strange, who is president of commercial realty firm Newmark Grubb Levy Strange Beffort, said some focus needed to be brought to the chaos of the fast-growing investment model.
“What I found out was there is not a good system in place for searching across multiple platforms to find a deal that best suits an investor’s needs. And, if you are a sponsor looking for a platform to market your deal, the same thing is true. I had the latter experience when I was involved in raising equity last year and that’s what led me to conceive of CrowdSeekr,” Strange said.
CrowdSeekr.com is meant to be an aggregator and search engine for real estate investment opportunities.
“The problems with existing aggregators are that they either don’t focus specifically on real estate crowdfunding or are subscription-based enterprise-level products not designed for individual investors,” Smith said. “Most sites also don’t offer effective filtering or a first-class user experience.”
CrowdSeekr.com secured “proof of business concept funding from i2E, an Oklahoma nonprofit that provides support to startups. The founders also have participated in an i2E-sponsored program to mentor student interns from an honors entrepreneurship class taught by Dean Daniel Pullin at the University of Oklahoma Michael F. Price College of Business.
Claire Robison, venture adviser with i2E, said she is pleased to be advising a startup with such potential. The founders discovered a problem and found a way to solve it to the benefit of clients, themselves and the CrowdSeekr.com platform, she said.
Five top real estate crowdfunding platforms have agreed to share their data with CrowdSeekr: CrowdStreet, 1031 Crowdfunding, PeerRealty, RealCrowd and HotelInnvestor.
“Rather than signing up for and searching dozens of platforms, like many investors are doing now, they can come to one place, set up their profile and have opportunities delivered to them through email alerts,” Smith said, “For busy investors, this means a more streamlined and user-friendly real estate crowdfunding experience.”
Real estate attorney and syndication expert Gene Trowbridge called CrowdSeekr.com “a great idea.”
“I’m happy to tell my clients when they’re looking for a crowdfunding platform to use, check and see if that platform is linked up to CrowdSeekr,” he said.