Startup Stories: Crowdium, A Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform
Our startup stories now bring Crowdium, the first real estate crowdfunding platform in Latin America. This Argentinean startup was handpicked among the top 100 startups of the world in the South Summit 2016, an event of great importance to entrepreneurs, held in Madrid.
When was this startup funded? Which were its goals?
Crowdium was conceived three years ago, when its founders realized that there were paradigm changes coming in the real estate industry and they understood the need to find comprehensive solutions for all of the industry’s actors. The platform was launched 6 months ago.
Crowdium is the first 100 percent transactional real estate crowdfunding platform in Latin America, which gives everybody access to the real estate market in a simple, safe and profitable way.
Founded by Manuel Estruga and Damian Lopo, top executives of Newlink Capital, the group that manages the company, Crowdium was officially launched in March 2016, in Argentina.
Crowdium brings to Argentina the possibility to invest in real estate projects that were previously related to investments of over 100,000 dollars. With the birth of Crowdium, every small and medium investor interested in the real estate market can step into it with minimum amounts of only 25,000 pesos, in local currency. Moreover, the projects are meticulously assessed by the company’s team of Real Estate experts, who select the candidates with the best opportunities to safeguard the value of the investment and each project and operation is backed up by a first-level fiduciary, regulated by the NVC (National Value Commission).
How does Crowdium work?
Crowdium chooses projects with the lower constructive, financial and commercial risk; afterwards, the renowned fiduciary, CFA Compañía Fiduciaria Americana S.A., puts together the legal structure (trusteeship) to allow the access of investors. The customers and investors are attracted and treated by means of the different channels offered by Crowdium’s products. They can also self-manage their investment online and, once the project is chosen, the website centralizes and coordinates the interaction of customers with the trusteeship in order to complete the process. The fiduciary, not attached to the company, manages the funds to guarantee the existence of transparent processes.
After the subscription period, the asset is acquired under the trusteeship’s name. The fiduciary manages the asset and periodically distributes the profits among its investors. In the same breath, Crowdium and its team of specialists run economic and marketing studies to determine the best trading moment, so the investors perceive a bigger return of their investments.
How can people invest with Crowdium?
When it comes to investing, any person can register for free in Crowdium’s platform, introduce personal information and activate the account by attaching the documents requested by the fiduciary. Once the documents have been approved, the option to invest in the projects will be available. The contributions are deposited in a Current Account at Galicia Bank and managed by CFA Compañía Fiduciaria Americana S.A.
Once the documents required by the fiduciary have been submitted, the investment has been done and funds have been transferred, the investor acquires a share of the trusteeship. When the funds required for the project are complete, the trusteeship is improved by buying the selected property. After that moment, each investor owns a percentage of it.
What have been your main outcomes?
Just a few months after having officially launched the online platform and company, Crowdium has already received over 200,000 visits in its website, more than 4,700 users have registered and over 800 accounts have been created. The company closed its first investment project in September (Crowdium Villa Maria), thus collecting over 300,00 dollars for small and medium investors.
Estancia Villa Maria is the most important real estate enterprise at the south area of Buenos Aires, with 1,183 lots distributed in 656 hectares, a unique natural heritage and first-level services, as a high-performance tennis club, professional equestrian center and golf course. The project offers an estimate profitability of 25-35 percent in 2 years. We are already acquiring the property and handing the share certificates to each investor.
In June, Crowdium won the first place in the Fintech category, in RedInnova Challenge 2016, an event that every year welcomes the most innovative and value-generating startups in the market, as well as corporate innovation projects from big companies. The event was attended by all of the people linked to the Argentinean enterprising ecosystem, such as investors, public sector (the nation’s Minister of Education and the U.S. Ambassador to Argentina), consultants, service providers, and media and advertising agencies.
In October, Crowdium was chosen by South Summit among the top 100 Startupsof the World. South Summit is the leading platform at the south region of Europa, which gathers the most promising startups of the region, the Mediterranean and Latin America, the most powerful international investors and leading corporations that look for innovation by means of startups. 3,000 companies from around the world were there. Crowdium, representing Argentina in Madrid, Spain, competed for the title to the Best Startup of the World. After that event, the company gained momentum and got international recognition. The Minister of Modernization from Buenos Aires City, Andy Freire, welcomed the executives of Argentinean Crowdium because of their positioning among the top 100 startups of the world. He was supported by Argentina’s embassy in Spain.
Crowdium, by means of its associate channel network, has already inked contracts with the biggest real estate agencies and brokers of Argentina in an effort to offer Crowdium’s investment opportunities as new alternatives for its customers and enhance its portfolio of real estate products.
What are your plans for 2017?
Crowdium’s prospects in 2017 are numerous:
- Launching and funding 5 new projects.
- Significantly increasing the investment amount per project.
- Launching and deploying the platform in some of the main provinces of Argentina.
- Reaching out to the following countries: Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Spain and Mexico.
- Developing the platform so everybody can invest everywhere, technological development.
- Implementing an aggressive and multiplying program.
What do you think about the importance of having been included in the final stage of South Summit 2016?
That’s very important to us because these events bring about significant international exposure within the enterprising community and investment funds. There is great enterprising potential in Argentina. Winning a nomination and showing our work to the world is a huge honor and opportunity to extol our country’s name in these type of events.
What mistakes could trigger the failure of a startup?
The loss of perseverance, lack of focus, expenses beyond the structure, optimistic forecasts, lack of management and implementation are some of the most common mistakes.
How about your 5 tips for other entrepreneurs?
- Trust in yourselves
- Shed passion on everything you do
- Put together management and implementation teams
- Speak the truth and act with coherence
- Adjust, adjust and adjust every single element that needs to be adjusted
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