Janover Ventures is essentially a concierge marketplace for multifamily and commercial property loans. The market is fragmented and ripe for innovation. Oh, you can also now invest in Janover Ventures through a crowdfunding campaign on Republic. The minimum is $100.
Blake Janover is the CEO and co-founder of the company. In the early 2000s, he owned a commercial mortgage lending and advisory business but he also had a strong technology background. Keep in mind that he is a self-taught programmer in languages like Visual Basic and C++.
“A few years ago I was searching for a multifamily product that I didn’t fully understand and I discovered that the internet — around complex commercial real estate secured financial products — was totally lacking,” said Janover. “It’s like you could get robust, well-organized results for anything, but once you went down the multifamily or commercial property finance rabbit hole, most of the websites looked like they came out of the 90s and everything was a black box. Of course I already knew about the frictions involved with originating and processing commercial loans and I thought to myself: Maybe I can make this world a little easier and more transparent for borrowers … and so it began.”
Make Me a Match
Janover Ventures is a matchmaker between commercial real estate investors and lenders. A key part of the strategy is a portfolio of various websites that have high rankings on Google. In other words, Janover Ventures has access to low-cost organic traffic.
The company also has a sophisticated technology system that can capture and process loan opportunities based on a scoring/distribution algorithm. This not only provides for a better user experience but also much lower friction.
“The place where we really set ourselves apart — besides the awesome tech that we’ve built — is that we consider ourselves educators as much as we do technologists or capital markets practitioners,” said Janover. “We’ve built an extensive digital media platform that gets more than 100,000 unique organic visitors per month in a fairly small universe.”
Traction From Plethora of Relationships
For those looking to invest in Janover Ventures, it’s encouraging that the company has been showing lots of progress. It has a base of more than 3,000 relationships with companies like BB&T, CBRE Group (NYSE:CBRE) and Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ:ZION). From the second quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020, the company generated loan volume of over $100 million from 42 closed deals. The sizes have ranged from $200,000 to $20 million.
The market opportunity is also massive. Janover Ventures estimates it at more than $3.6 trillion.
“Right now the opportunity I see is in my narrow niche of multifamily and commercial property finance,” said Janover. “It’s to educate and empower borrowers to understand all their loan options and then reduce frictions and costs in connecting them with the appropriate lender that he or she otherwise wouldn’t have access to.”
Invest in Janover Ventures?
So far, Janover Ventures has raised over $231,000 from more than 1,000 investors. The valuation is set at $20 million.
As for the equity structure, it is in the form of a SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity) instrument. This means that you will not receive stock in the company until there is a trigger event, such as an acquisition or IPO.
The investment also comes along with various perks that are based on the amount committed. For example, if you invest between $5,000 to $10,000, then you will get a shoutout on social media, a thank-you note from the CEO and an invite for a group video call with other investors.
But of course, as is the case with any early-stage investment, there are high risks. Building a marketplace can be quite challenging, such as with the need to strike the right balance between supply and demand as well as getting enough scale.
So, before you invest in Janover Ventures, it’s important to do your own analysis and research.
Tom Taulli (@ttaulli) is an advisor and author of various books and online courses about technology, including Artificial Intelligence Basics, The Robotic Process Automation Handbook and Learn Python Super Fast. He is also the founder of WebIPO, which was one of the first platforms for public offerings during the 1990s. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
Investing through equity and real estate crowdfunding or asset tokenization requires a high degree of risk tolerance. Despite what individual companies may promise, there’s always the chance of losing a portion, or the entirety, of your investment. These risks include:
1) Greater chance of failure
2) Risk of fraudulent activity
3) Lack of liquidity
4) Economic downturns
5) Dearth of investor education
Read more: Private Investing Risks