Fundrise, a website that aims to draw in a broad range of investors to finance commercial real estate deals, has raised more than $31 million in its first round of funding from a group of prominent technology, real estate and other backers.
Fundrise, based in Washington, is a pioneer in real estate crowdfunding, allowing individuals to directly invest with as little as $100 in hotels, apartment buildings and other development projects. Until recently, even small-scale real estate projects typically had been the exclusive domain of wealthy investors and private equity firms.
The company was founded by two brothers, Benjamin and Daniel Miller, in August 2012, shortly after the JOBS Act legalized crowdfunding, although they began working on the concept as early as 2010.
The financing round was led by Renren, a large social networking company based in China. It is also being backed by several real estate firms and individuals including executives of Silverstein Properties, the owner and developer of the World Trade Center; Rising Realty Partners, a Los Angeles developer; the Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group; Scott Plank, a real estate developer and former Under Armour executive; and Richard Boyle, former chief of Loopnet, an online commercial real estate listing service. The Collaborative Fund, an investment fund, also participated in the round.
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