The investment trend of crowdfunding has fueled startup development over the last few years. The appealing alternative is finally removing barriers that have prevented entry in the world of real estate for decades. The delivery of much-needed flexibility and greater transparency are already transforming the usually cautious industry.

Real estate startup Sharestates recently hit the headlines for surpassing the $300m mark in total funding. The promise of providing a streamlined service that offered an opportunity to invest in real estate for as little as $1,000, initially sounded too good to be true.

When I investigated further, I discovered a fantastic story about following your entrepreneurial journey for the right reasons. Allen Shayanfekr and his brothers moved to the US in the eighties to escape religious persecution. With a desire to deliver a new life with just the shirt on their back, they dreamed about one-day doing business with  Wall Street.

They learned very quickly that the 9-5 work day doesn't exist for an entrepreneur. The first goal was to build solid foundations for the future. When I spoke to Shayanfekr, he revealed a simple philosophy. He compared his dream to a plant that he would water every day until that plant became a tree.

The next few years would involve building those foundations by working in numerous roles.  Valet parking, food delivery and even Dunkin' Donuts for $5 an hour to name but a few.

Armed with a firm belief that everyone should be able to invest in real estate. Shayanfekr and his colleagues challenged themselves to create a solution that would give everyday investors a chance to access those inaccessible housing investments at a fraction of the investment minimum.

A combination of hard work and a crystal clear vision would one day help Sharestates name appear in the media for using technology, innovation, and crowdfunding to transform an entire industry. The world of real estate is famously slow-moving. But, once again it's technology that's pushing it forward.

The team behind Sharestates knew from their personal experiences the dilemmas faced when looking to invest their savings. Reduced interest rates have made savings accounts appear incredibly unattractive. Meanwhile, the prospect of buying a car or home is overwhelming and often out of reach for many people.

Crowdfunding is enabling Sharestates to open up a wealth of opportunities for those that also dare to dream. Those seeking to benefit from the types of returns offered by real estate finally have an option. They can now decide what properties they want to finance with their capital on the Sharestates marketplace.

Traditionally, investing in property was reminiscent of an old boys club. The rich continued to grow richer while everyone else found themselves locked out of the best deals. The magic sauce hidden inside crowdfunding contains a combination of individual investors, investing alongside multiple institutional investors at the same terms.

Seamless real estate investing has been made possible through technology. The company proudly allows people to build their own real estate portfolio, one share at a time. An equal opportunity marketplace for all is no longer just a pipe dream; it's a reality. 

Although it is crowdfunding, technology, and innovation getting all of the attention. By watering their metaphorical plant every day, it seems that  Sharestates has become the tree that is enabling a couple of Main Street kids to live their dream by partnering up with Wall Street.

In my podcast interview with Allen Shayanfekr, the CEO and Founder of online real estate investment platform Sharestates proves, the American dream is alive and well.

Published on: Jul 12, 2016
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