Real estate crowdfunding has been quietly evolving on the sidelines during the latest commercial real estate bull market. Critics dismissed this new form of capital raising as just another fad or buzzword du jour. However, crowdfunding platform founders claim that it is destined to overtake traditional capitalization methods in the not too distant future. Regardless, the major objections to crowdfunding are dissipating rapidly as advancements in supporting technology trends (to be discussed in a subsequent post) allow for greater investment transparency and growing user-adoption. As this industry matures, real estate investors and sponsors will be able to connect more efficiently, creating greater competition for capital and deals. This increased efficiency and competition will result in a broader demand for quality deals and cheap equity. However, before market participants may hope to reap these benefits, they should first be aware of the basics of crowdfunding.
Over the course of a series of posts, I intend to cover some of the key differentiators of crowdfunding platforms that affect investors and sponsors. These consist of two major areas: differentiation of platforms and differentiation of offerings. While both platforms and offerings have significant effects on both investors and sponsors, investors should be more concerned with understanding the platform, and sponsors with understanding the offering.