As a marketing agency, we see how digital affects our clients. As a consumer, I see how digital platforms are quickly shifting the way we shop, engage and even invest. investors, specifically in the real estate world are shifting from traditional to digital. I sat down with CEO Jillene Helman to understand more about this new way of investing in real estate.RealtyMogul (RM) is a perfect example of how
LM: Let's start by giving us a snapshot of you and the company.
JH: As you know I'm the CEO of RealtyMogul which is a commercial real estate private markets investing platform that provides discerning investors exclusive access to thoroughly vetted opportunities, rigorous underwriting, and high-touch customer service through licensed investment professionals. We strive to build wealth through sound principles and data insights, serving real people who want a smart alternative investing strategy.
My personal goal is to help others create wealth through real estate. I have personally underwritten over $5 billion of real estate and sit on our company's investment committee. So far we've made investments in over $1.7 billion of commercial real estate.
LM: Tell me about your origin story. How did you create RM?
JH: Prior to my current position I was a Vice President at Union Bank in Wealth Management and Risk Management, but when the Jobs Act was signed into law in 2012 I saw an opportunity to provide real estate investment opportunities to everyone instead of just our wealthiest clients. I could see the way crowdfunding paired with technology and the internet could bring the real estate industry into the 21st century so I decided to leave Union Bank, partner with my co-founder Justin Hughes and together we launched RealtyMogul in 2013.
LM: What is your favorite thing about the RM platform/offering?
JH: At the end of the day, we provide a financial product to our investors and my favorite thing is returning money back to investors. We are about to cross over $100 million in cash disbursements to investors and we have a track record that I am proud of.
LM: What was the inspiration behind the aesthetic/branding?
JH: Crowdfunding is still a new concept and can be difficult to understand which makes it seem a bit intimidating and overwhelming for some people. We wanted our brand and website to be extremely simple and easy to use. We want our website to provide our deals simply and clearly, but also provide education and information regarding real estate investing for those wanting to learn more. Ultimately, we want all Americans to have the opportunity to have passive investments if they want to so we made our brand simple, sleek and accessible for all.
LM: What would you say makes RM different than other real estate or investment platforms available today?
JH: I think our biggest differentiation is the commitment to investor protection and underwriting. There are a lot of crowdfunding platforms, but most do not do thorough underwriting or step foot on every property they invest in. This does not mean that we are
going to get it right 100% of the time, there is still real risk in real estate investing, but investors can rest assured that we personally did a site visit to every property to verify that that deal is accurately portrayed. We're currently spending over $1 million a year on data and technology to vet transactions and less than 1% of all the deals submitted to us make it through our underwriting process. Investor protection is really our top priority.
LM: If you had to describe RM using only three words, what would you choose and why?
JH: Trustworthy, Thorough and Serious.
Despite building a lot of innovative technology, I wouldn't compare us 1:1 with other technology companies; we have a much more serious culture. On any given month, there may be tens of millions of dollars flowing through our platform and we operate day in and day out to be good stewards of capital. We are grateful to our investors for entrusting us with their money and we strive every day to be trusted with that money. We curate investment opportunities that have been through rigorous, thorough underwriting and thoroughly vet each transaction to simplify the world of real estate investing.
LM: What brands are you currently obsessed with and why?
JH: I grew up in a car family and I'm a car gal. My favorite car brand is Lexus and my current obsession is the Lexus LC. I spent a few months living in Japan years ago and I so appreciate the attention to detail that Lexus brings to every car, which embodies Japanese culture. They also have incredible technology and you can fluctuate between an incredibly smooth drive or drive it like a true sports car.
LM: What is your take on the future of RM? What's next?
JH: I want to help investors earn passive income, plain and simple. Today investors have entrusted us with nearly $400 million of their hard-earned capital and I want to see us help investors invest billions of dollars in real estate, simply and confidently over our online platform. We strive to build wealth through sound principles and data insights, serving real people who want a smart alternative investment strategy and I don't see that changing any time with our brand.
Jilliene has had an impressive track record of success and this latest venture is no exception. As a marketer and investor myself, I'm excited to see what the future holds for this company. The accessibility that crowdfunding in the real estate sector has allowed for more passive investors like myself is incredible and has put many on the road towards fulfilling Jilliene's goal of providing wealth building opportunities for all.