In 2013, Brian Dally co-founded GROUNDFLOOR with the seed of an idea born out of the Jobs ACT of 2012. From humble beginnings, funding their first $50,000 loan with just 50 investors, Brian and his partner have built GROUNDFLOOR into the go-to funding platform if you want to fix’n flip property. And now they’ve added in Accessory Dwelling Units as well. Last year, with the pandemic looming over their heads, 90,000 investors invested $145 million into fix’n flips through GROUNDFLOOR.
Brian has a diverse educational background, from political theory to business to law. He worked as an entrepreneur back in the dot-com boom of the 1990s, and for communications companies in product management and VC strategy. In starting GROUNDFLOOR, based in Atlanta, he and his team broke new ground as the first company approved by the SEC to offer real estate debt investment, via Reg A, to accredited and non-accredited investors alike.
But Brian isn’t planning to stop at fix’n flips or ADUs. He thinks the GROUNDFLOOR model can be used on a much bigger scale, and on a much more varied asset class. He is optimistic about where they are headed, and after successfully weathering a pandemic year, which included reducing fees and interest rates for borrowers to reduce the financial burdens, he says, “‘We emerged from it stronger and better.”
Insights and Inspirations
- With GROUNDFLOOR, Brian has opened the door to investors of all types, truly democratizing investment. You just need $10 to invest in a GROUNDFLOOR loan.
- GROUNDFLOOR was an early adopter of one of 2012 Jobs Act regulations that seeded the investment crowdfunding industry – Regulation A.
- Last year GROUNDFLOOR raised $145 million in tiny fractional amounts, and made 90 loans to developers fixing and flipping properties. And this with the pandemic raging.
Read the podcast transcript here
Eve Picker: [00:00:16] Hi there, thanks for joining me on Rethink Real Estate. I’m on a mission to make real estate work for everyone. Real estate can help to solve climate change, can house people affordably, can create beautiful streetscapes, unify neighborhoods and enliven cities. So I’m on a journey to find the most creative thinkers and doers out there. I’m not the only one who wants to rethink real estate. You can learn more about me at EvePicker.com or you can find me at SmallChange.co, a real estate crowdfunding platform with impact real estate investment opportunities open for investment right now. And if you want to support this podcast, join me at Patreon.com/rethinkrealestate where there are special opportunities for my friends and followers.
Eve: [00:01:24] Today, I’m talking with Brian Dally of GROUNDFLOOR. GROUNDFLOOR started with the seed of an idea born out of the Jobs Act of 2012. From humble beginnings, funding their first 50,000 dollar loan with just 50 investors, Brian and his partner have built GROUNDFLOOR into the go to funding platform if you want to fix and flip property. And now they’ve added in accessory dwelling units as well. Last year, with the pandemic looming over their heads, 90,000 investors invested 145 million dollars into ‘fix-n-flips’ through GROUNDFLOOR. You might learn how to fund your next ADU. It’s an unusual model and worth listening in. If you’d like to join me in my quest to rethink real estate, there are two simple things you can do. Share this podcast or go to Patreon.com/rethinkrealestate to learn about special opportunities for my friends and followers and subscribe if you can.
Eve: [00:02:44] Hi, Brian, it’s a real pleasure to have you on my show today.
Brian Dally: [00:02:48] Great to be with you, Eve.
Eve: [00:02:50] Yes, so you and I are kind of in the same business, we both founded companies based on the 2012 Jobs Act and we both care about democratizing investment in real estate. So I want to just start talking about what you do first today and that is GROUNDFLOOR. Why don’t you just explain what GROUNDFLOOR is.
Brian: [00:03:13] Well, as you said, we realized back in 2012-2013, you and I didn’t know each other back then, but you were tracking the same trend. You know, the world of investment and capital formation was undergoing some very early change back then, and it continues to go through change, even today. But what started back then is Congress and the SEC put rules in place that for the first time allowed everybody, regardless of your income or wealth, to participate in a whole class of securities offerings that haven’t been open to people who don’t meet the definition of an accredited investor.
Eve: [00:04:00] Let me jump in.
Brian: [00:04:01] Sure.
Eve: [00:04:01] Because people don’t know what an accredited investor is. It’s probably about three percent of the adult population in the state, which in itself is pretty shocking and it’s anyone who has income of 200,000 dollars a year and has had for three years. Or has net worth of a million dollars, at least a million dollars without their primary residence. That’s right. Right?
Brian: [00:04:26] Yeah, exactly. And that’s a very small slice of the American population. And if you meet that definition, if you’re in that club for a long time, you have had access to investments that the other 97 percent of us haven’t had. And which started to change in 2012 is Congress and the SEC put forward rules that would start to open that up. Now, since then, they’ve continued to improve those rules, spell them out a little bit more. Companies like Small Change and GROUNDFLOOR have been built. Republic is another one that allows you to invest in startups, for example, or StartEngine or SeedInvest, there are a bunch of portals now where you can go invest in a wide variety of securities offerings that weren’t open to us all before. We saw that coming, we started a company to help open up that market and we’re still going. Now, we’ve got about 90,000 investors who are investing. Last year put in about 150 million in aggregate into our investments. We’re funding 70 or 80 different real estate projects per month now using this model. And I mean, we’re really just getting started. I think you would agree, right, with Small Change we’re just in the early innings even still.
Eve: [00:05:43] So what is your model? Because we both have real estate platforms, but they’re pretty wildly different, right?
Brian: [00:05:49] Yeah, we looked at the market for investments and we said, look, what’s missing out there is sort of a short term high yield secured investment that people could get their hands around. You know, so many times you invest in real estate or you invest in a startup or something, and your capital is locked up for a very long period of time. Typically, the terms of those investments don’t give you a lot of control over it. Like, for example, if you put money in any of the eREITs like Fundrise or RealtyMogul, any of these new kind of funds that have launched, you weren’t able to access your capital when you probably wanted it. And you’re in Covid. Because they shut down redemptions out of those funds. And we looked at the landscape of investments and realized what was really missing was for all of us to invest the same way that hedge funds and banks do, which is on a per deal basis, on a short term, a short term loan that that has a high yield. So where we started with GROUNDFLOOR was with value added renovation to single family houses that were being basically built by independent entrepreneurs. Right, so you have somebody who had a real estate project that they wanted to fix and flip, for example, or fix up and rent out and create rental housing out of it. We make a loan to them and then we turn around and allow individual investors to participate in that loan, ten dollars at a time. So, most people invest about an average of two or three hundred dollars. But you can start with a minimum of just ten. And what that means is if you have 1,000 dollars to invest, you can invest in 100 loans, which is a very nicely diversified portfolio. You’re as diversified as a lot of small private equity funds or hedge funds. So you get the same benefits of diversification and the loans repay on an average of about nine to ten months. And the average rate that people are earning ranged between 10 and 11 percent. So it’s a very high rate of return on short holding period in an asset that if you watch any house flipping show, you can understand what’s going on there.
Eve: [00:08:01] Sure.
Brian: [00:08:01] And I think that’s why it’s been so popular, is those factors.
Eve: [00:08:04] So, a couple of things. One is I get what you’re offering investors. Opportunity to invest in a way they’ve never had before. What does this do for developers who do ‘fix-n-flips?’ ?
Brian: [00:08:17] So developers who do ‘fix-n-flips’ or who are trading rental housing or we also finance independent builders who are doing new construction. There are a couple of problems with the capital markets, the way that they’ve been built, so far, on the legacy infrastructure. The legacy infrastructure is financed by some kind, what used to be banks. But when banks stopped funding this category of real estate development or or this type of small business, if you will, these types of projects, really who stepped in were sort of wealthy people with checkbooks. In any town, there are probably a couple dozen people who will finance these types of real estate projects. The problem is that the form of lending was not very professional. It was hard to find these lenders. The terms were all over the map, sometimes very lopsided terms for these agreements.
Eve: [00:09:12] Yeah.
Brian: [00:09:12] And I think the problem is if you’re just getting started out as real estate investor, a house flipper, a builder, it’s pretty hard to find your way in those capital markets. And I think the other problem is that a lot of the real estate development that’s getting done in residential real estate, in places where housing stock is aging, for example, when Wall Street steps in, they just buy up blocks of a neighborhood and they bulldoze everything and they build up McMansions or they build up some kind of mass market product. And that doesn’t leave a lot of room for the independent builder or the independent real estate investor. So they’ve been playing at a disadvantage over the last 10 or 15 years. And GROUNDFLOOR’s approach solves that problem because we’re not lending out tens of millions of dollars at a time to one company that’s going to go bulldoze a neighborhood. We’re working with independent real estate developers who know these neighborhoods. They probably live in the neighborhoods. They care about the neighborhoods. And I think that’s a good counterweight to gentrification. Right. I think it’s a way to to renovate the residential real estate stock in a way that is more community friendly. Right. It also allows people in the community to participate in the financing of it, which I think is a novel idea.
Eve: [00:10:32] And so where are you lending now?
Brian: [00:10:35] We lend in about 30 states. Our lending is heavily concentrated in the southeastern U.S. We dabbled quite a bit in the mid-Atlantic and the midwest and we’re starting to expand out west now. We started to finance projects in Colorado. We’ve done a couple in Washington state. We’re not in California, but we’re in about 30 states for lending and then investors nationwide.
Eve: [00:10:59] Yeah, yeah, obviously. And then how do you vet the the developers and the deals.
Brian: [00:11:05] We’re frankly looking at developers on these deals the same way that anybody who’s lending money or investing money in an entrepreneur would look at an entrepreneur. We’re asking ourselves, can this entrepreneur with this plan create the result that they’re hoping to create? And a lot of times we use this expertise to help entrepreneurs realize maybe the deal wasn’t as good as they thought it was going to be. Right. Maybe their plan, they didn’t have a big enough budget. Right. We really look very closely at the budgets for the projects and we look a lot at the valuation at the end. Do we believe I mean, every entrepreneur, myself included, we always believe what we’re doing is super valuable. Right. So GROUNDFLOOR will serve as a little bit of a reality check for those situations where maybe their expectations are a little inflated. We need to make sure that the properties can sell for enough in the end…
Eve: [00:12:00] That investors get their money back, right?
Brian: [00:12:02] Yeah, I mean that and they get it back in a timely manner. Right? I mean, that’s that’s really important to the model that investors can trust the projects that we put up. It’s not that things don’t go wrong. Things do go wrong. You know, when you’re renovating something, you know this well. You’ve dealt with so many interesting projects in Pittsburgh and beyond that, you know, you’ve seen it firsthand. I mean, you can’t plan for every contingency, right?
Eve: [00:12:27] For sure.
Brian: [00:12:27] Things take longer, things cost more money. And so in our vetting, we make sure that the plan covers those major contingencies. And that’s why we’ve had such a low loss ratio. Over time, we’ve lost less than one percent of the money that we’ve loaned out. And the returns of 10.5 percent are net of those losses. So, it’s a pretty low volatility and investment where you really know what to expect.
Eve: [00:12:54] Right.
Brian: [00:12:54] That’s why it works for the investor. Why it works for the borrower, for the entrepreneurs, they get a professional outfit that’s actually looking at the merits of what they’re trying to do. And we’re providing some advice to them and a perspective. And if everything lines up, we’re happy to fund it. We’re doing like I said, we’re doing about 70 to 80 fundings a month right now.
Eve: [00:13:14] Wow. A few years back when I met you, we talked about how hard it was to find your crowd of investors.
Brian: [00:13:23] Yes.
Eve: [00:13:23] And what you have to go through at the beginning. And I’d love to talk about what that was like and how that compares to today and what you think made a difference.
Brian: [00:13:33] Well, I realized early on that, and I think you felt this too, you and I are creating, you know, an unknown product in an unknown category from an unknown company. Right? So it kind of just amazed me in the early days that anybody would, you know…
Eve: [00:13:52] That’s absolutely true.
Brian: [00:13:54] Isn’t that the feeling, though? It’s kind of just amazing.
Eve: [00:13:57] Yeah. And by the way, we just closed an offering today for 890,000 dollars.
Brian: [00:14:02] I saw that. Congratulations. That’s huge!
Eve: [00:14:06] Yeah.
Brian: [00:14:06] That’s huge! Congratulations. That’s got to be one of the bigger ones, I would think.
Eve: [00:14:11] Yes.
Brian: [00:14:12] Yeah, I would think so. That’s that’s a huge success. And that’s a testament to just continuing to persist because I think what I was about to say is, I think you’re probably feeling this too, is that people now are more comfortable with the idea that this exists, you know, this category exists, that they, too, can get access to these deals. And there’s a little less of what I used to call the Groucho Marx problem, which is like I wouldn’t want to invest in any investment that would allow me to. Right? It’s a problem of investor psychology. And I think the category has advanced now enough that people are interested. I also think we’re seeing the rise of the retail investor more generally. I mean, look no further than what happened last month with Robinhood and GameStop.
Eve: [00:14:59] Yep.
Brian: [00:15:00] The retail investor is waking up and as they wake up, they’re also realizing that public markets for a lot of people feel like it’s a rigged casino. And they’re now open to the idea that they can invest, that they should invest, that they can band together to put their capital to work and cause a change. And I think some of these traders are going to become investors. And that’s part of what’s happening, too. And then the third factor that has started to change the game and bring in a lot more growth. And we had a record Q2 and record Q3 last year because of some of those other factors, you know, the retail investor waking up and opting out of public markets. But I think the future growth that’s to come and that we’re starting to see lift off from now is the track record that we’ve all built. Right.
Eve: [00:15:49] Yes.
Brian: [00:15:49] Now that we’re repaying, you know, we have over 1,500 loans that we’ve repaid.
Eve: [00:15:54] Yes.
Brian: [00:15:55] You know, and people now can see what the empirical data tells them about what they can expect. You can go on our website and see a scatterplot of, I think 9,000 portfolios that have returned capital on at least one loan over the years and you can see what returns that portfolio has earned on average based on how many loans they’ve invested in. What you learn is the more you invest, the more you can predict the return. And I think that’s giving people more confidence in the category, in the companies and in the products, right, that we’re building here.
Eve: [00:16:29] Right right right. So along with all of this, but I want to go back to what I originally asked. Sorry. And that was like I remember you telling me a story about what it took to get one person to invest in the beginning. And how many did you have last year?
Brian: [00:16:45] Gosh, we now have 80,000 investors.
Eve: [00:16:47] That’s amazing and really what is a fairly short time to kind of scratching your head over why you can’t even find one investor to…
Brian: [00:16:56] Well, the first loan we funded was a 50,000 dollar loan for a house flip in Adair Park in Atlanta, which is a neighborhood, transitional neighborhood near the beltline. I think we put, it was a 40,000 dollar loan. We put 39 investors in it, you know, a thousand dollars each. And it was a lot of work.
Eve: [00:17:16] A lot of work.
Brian: [00:17:18] A loan that small won’t last a day or two on the platform.
Eve: [00:17:22] Yes.
Brian: [00:17:22] And, you know, people are investing smaller amounts in many more loans. So there might be 500 people in that loan. Three or four…
Eve: [00:17:31] It’s pretty amazing that you can invest just ten dollars.
Brian: [00:17:33] I think just yesterday we hit a new record for I think 1.2 million dollars was invested on the platform just yesterday alone.
Eve: [00:17:41] Oh, wow. That’s that’s amazing. Congratulations.
Brian: [00:17:44] We’ve come a long way. But I’ll tell you one thing that’s exciting to me about that is that now that we have those basics in place is we recently started piloting an ADU financing program.
Eve: [00:17:57] That was my next…
Brian: [00:17:59] Oh, oh good.
Eve: [00:18:00] Question. Yeah. I want to know about your ADU program because that’s a little bit different for you. And I wanted to ask why you are piloting that.
Brian: [00:18:09] I’m psyched to talk about that, because when we started off, yes, we wanted to build a financial product, but more than that, we wanted to build a platform that could be used for good. You know, we wanted to open up this asset class. We wanted to make a great investment product. But we also hoped that people would come to the platform as borrowers or sponsors and investors in order to have a positive impact on the world as well. I feel very strongly that the source of capital really matters to the result that we actually see in the world. And I think real estate plays an important role in shaping our communities. I mean, it’s where people live and shop and work. And I think that who is financing that work really matters. And I think this ADU program is exciting to me because as an entrepreneur, when you build a platform, you have ideas about how people will use the platform. You can’t predict it. If it goes well, people use your platform to create even more value for themselves in the world around you. Then you even get. Right. I mean, that’s the whole idea of a platform. And still with this ADU pilot, we were actually approached by some people in that community who are having trouble finding financing because of the particular borrower situation that sometimes exists where you have somebody who doesn’t want to move out of their house, out of their neighborhood. Home values are changing over. They like to participate in the growth of the neighborhood and they see ADUs as a way to do that because we’re increasing density. I mean, there are two ways of dealing with increasing lot values and housing stock values. Right. One is you can knock everything down and just rebuild it all with mcmansions and more valuable real estate. I think most of us in the impact community would agree that sucks. Right? The other way is to increase density by changing the zoning rules and you change the zoning rules, but then you still need financing.
Eve: [00:20:11] Right.
Brian: [00:20:11] So to support that increased density. And I know you’ve talked with PadSplit, for example. That’s one way to increase density. This ADU sort of approach is another way…
Eve: [00:20:21] PadSplit doesn’t really increase density. They find unused spaces.
Brian: [00:20:26] Right.
Eve: [00:20:27] A little bit different. And by the way, I feel bad, because we we haven’t told everyone what ADU stands for. It’s accessory dwelling unit. And it’s also what we know as a granny flat. It’s just an additional unit on your property, on your piece of land.
Brian: [00:20:44] I think the reason we were excited about it is we saw it right away as a valuable approach to urban development in certain situations, especially with gentrifying neighborhoods where homeowners don’t need to be displaced, but they can participate in what’s happening around them as owners and grow their equity value without having to be displaced.
Eve: [00:21:06] Yeah.
Brian: [00:21:07] Right. So, selling their property and taking that money and moving elsewhere, we think is a suboptimal outcome for many people who would rather stay right where they are. You know, stay in their neighborhood, retain the character of the neighborhood, but open up some more housing opportunity in that neighborhood, too.
Eve: [00:21:24] Yeah.
Brian: [00:21:26] We’ve got excited about it, mostly because we saw a place where, you know, the traditional financing sources weren’t going to step in. We thought that investors on our platform would like it. And we were right. The first two ADU deals that we’ve put out there have sold very quickly. Had a really enthusiastic reaction. And so, you know, we we have a little ways to go to kind of build up the pilot. But I’ll tell you, we piloted new construction two years ago, and it’s already, I think it’s on track to be about a third or maybe even 40 percent of our volume this year. And I mean, the same thing could happen with ADUs.
Eve: [00:22:01] The most difficult thing might be that the person who wants to build an ADU, accessory dwelling unit, the homeowner may have absolutely no experience building anything.
Brian: [00:22:13] Right.
Eve: [00:22:13] What do they do? And this is probably one of the most difficult things to crack about accessory dwelling units. How do people who have no development, no real estate experience, go about adding that value to that property?
Brian: [00:22:28] Happily, there’s an ecosystem of builders, contractors, architects who are ready to meet the needs of the people who want to do that. The problem is that those people cost money. The projects cost money.
Eve: [00:22:44] Yes.
Brian: [00:22:44] And a lot of people don’t have the money. So even if you know about the idea, you know, first of all, you have to get connected into the ecosystem of people who work on these things and do them right. Right. Do them within the zoning standards, you know, do them in a way that will be good for long term value. People who are inexperienced that I think have to tap into that network. But then even if they tap into that network, what’s been missing is the money. Where do you get the money to do it?
Eve: [00:23:12] Right. And, you know, the whole business of financing something as complicated as well.
Brian: [00:23:19] Agreed.
Eve: [00:23:19] You know, provide something consistent and easy to understand, that would be really helpful.
Brian: [00:23:25] And that’s the goal, right. So we’re we’re looking to partner with contractors and architects who know how to get these projects off the ground. And so, when someone has an interest, there’s already a network of providers that know how to plan it out, design it, and, of course, finance it, because we’re we’re out there offering that fund.
Eve: [00:23:51] That’s fabulous. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, I was on a panel with a CDFI a few months ago and was horrified when they explained with great pride how they had spent the last three or four years developing a program which looked like it would, you know, finance a couple ADUs, maybe four a year. And I was just like, how do we even get this to work if there’s no financing out there?
Brian: [00:24:14] Right.
Eve: [00:24:15] Yeah.
Brian: [00:24:16] Yeah. I think people on our platform, investors on our platform have a lot of appetite for it. I think it’s a it’s a really attractive investment. I think it’s a really attractive initiative for homeowners in certain situations where they want to stay put and they want to grow their equity value in concert with the neighborhood around them. And I like it because we think that one of the benefits of crowdfunding for financing as a way to finance real estate is that people should be involved, directly involved in deciding what gets financed and how. This is a way that that can happen. Right?
Eve: [00:24:56] I like ADUs because I think they build on infrastructure and community that’s already there, which is a great thing. You know, the bus stop that’s right out there on the street or grocery shop or a school or anything like that is already there in that community. And we’re adding density around those really important pieces. So it’s a fabulous idea. So I want to go to your background now. Your background is very diverse. Communication technology, gaming, political theory, business and law, but not real estate. So I wonder how you came to this real estate platform from your background?
Brian: [00:25:36] Well, I have been an investor since about age 15. And one category that I had never really invested in was real estate. You know, you always hear it’s it’s almost like a trope in American life, right? Like, well, the way to build cash flow is through owning real estate. Right. And so there’s there are no shortage of real estate investing seminars and whatever out there. So I feel like real estate investing is kind of in the air, you know, in America, more or less. I mean, it’s amazing to me that we still have house flipping shows that are watched. You know, people people are interested in it. And I think that drove me as an entrepreneur because what I was looking for after leaving the wireless industry in my previous startup, by agreement, I could no longer work in the wireless industry. But we had built this wireless company that was structured in a way that allowed people to route around, you know, the cell phone network, except when they absolutely had to have it. And then they could, you know, the calls would switch from the Wi-Fi network to the cell phone network. And the company that we built, it’s called the Republic Wireless it’s still around today. One of the things I noticed and I think this is true in politics, in philanthropy, I know it’s true in finance, people when you give them a platform where they can band together, I mean, this happened on Reddit, right? You give them a platform where they can band together and cause some change by voting with their dollars, by buying differently, by investing differently. They will do it because we can all debate whether people are smart enough to make their own decisions or whether they know what they’re doing or not. The truth is, regardless of whether they are or not, they’re going to behave as though they are. And that’s what can drive a lot of change in the world. And I think we start to get a closed loop feedback system where people do get a lot smarter. And so, you know, as an entrepreneur, I was very attracted to that. I didn’t quite know what sort of financial product we could build and what would be underneath it. But pretty quickly, Nick and I realized that if you’re building this new type of product and you’re trying to open up this type of investing, you should probably do it in a space like residential real estate that’s tangible, that people can understand, that people are excited about. And I think that’s what really led us there. Now, once we got there, you know, also as an entrepreneur, you need to have something as a beachhead that, you know, makes up for the perceived risk, like, for example, at Republic Wireless, we’re launching phones, we said, look, this is an unlimited plan that’s going to cost you 20 bucks a month instead of 150 bucks a month. And you’re not going to be locked into a contract. Well, people really like that. They saw some advantage in that. So they were willing to try the technology. With GROUNDFLOOR, we said, look, you know, you’re not going to lock up your money, you know, for years. You’re going to lock it up for months. You’re going to get a really high rate of return. If this thing works, over ten percent and you’re going to get to control it, you’re not turning your money over to a fund manager.
Eve: [00:28:46] Um-hm.
Brian: [00:28:46] You get to make the decision. And I think because it was residential real estate, they believed it. Right? It was tangible and they could buy into it. If we had done it in some exotic category that nobody understood, like financing receivables or something, I don’t think it would have been as successful. So I had to learn about real estate. I’ve spent a lot of time with people with many decades of experience in real estate. And now very shortly as an operator will have made a billion dollars worth of loans in this category.
Eve: [00:29:16] I think that’s fantastic.
Brian: [00:29:16] You know, which is not an insignificant number. So I had to climb the learning curve. We have a lot of advisors and executives around the company with deep experience in this. And as an entrepreneur, you know, a lot of us want to learn something. This was an exciting area for me to to learn. And now I guess I don’t get to claim that I’m not experienced in real estate anymore.
Eve: [00:29:36] I think that would be true. What do you love doing the most about this?
Brian: [00:29:41] I love working with people who are putting themselves out there and taking a chance. So the people who I’ve most enjoyed interacting with are the entrepreneurs who are financing projects on our platform. I can really identify with them and equally the investors who are venturing off into this unknown. I really identify with those people. You know, we started raising money from our customer base to finance the growth of the company. So we have a crowdfunded equity offering that’s still live today on SeedInvest. I love talking to people about getting involved in angel investing. So I really like engaging with the people who are drawn to these platforms because I admire them for being intrepid enough to take the risk and vote with their dollars to change the way that we finance, in this case, real estate. And we’re startup. I think that’s that’s what I love about it.
Eve: [00:30:41] I think that’s great. And actually, there’s still a relatively small number, because one of the reasons this is hard is there’s still a pretty big group of people out there who don’t trust online investing and…
Brian: [00:30:54] It’s still the early innings, it really is.
Eve: [00:30:56] Early innings. Yeah. So what is your big, hairy, audacious goal for GROUNDFLOOR?
Brian: [00:31:04] The big, hairy, audacious goal is to take the model that we’ve pioneered for these private capital markets and to show that what we’ve done in these first couple of sub asset classes in real estate can be done at a bigger scale across a broader scope. You know, the big, hairy, audacious goal would be to infect other asset classes with this model. You know, it’s a very disruptive model. It’s easy for people to look down on it and say, oh, it’s underpowered, but that always happens with disruptive technology. So my big, hairy, audacious goal for this is to see how many asset classes at what level of scale this model can produce, the kind of results that it’s producing in this market. And I don’t know where the endpoint for that is. I think it can go very, very far. So I don’t have a specific quantification of that. But that’s the idea, is I’d like to take what I think we’ve proven in this one market and see how many more markets we can extend it into.
Eve: [00:32:08] And I have another question for you that may be a little bit difficult, but is there anything else that you’re noticing out there that really excites you about the way we might do things differently, live a lot differently, what we what we can change?
Brian: [00:32:22] I look at our own market and I think it’s true in digital assets, I think it’s true in the securities that we’re offering online, I think it’s true and how we transact in real estate. I see a lot of opportunity to remove friction from the system. I mean, you look at something like title and how much time and money.
Eve: [00:32:44] Oh yeah.
Brian: [00:32:45] Is put into clearing title and then battling the insurance company when there’s a defect in title that comes up later. I think this is the bane of real estate investors everywhere. And I think it’s true in private market transactions with illiquid assets generally. And I think it’s something I’m excited to see change because I feel like it’s a very difficult change to effectuate. But I think as a community, we’re going to keep chipping away at it and eventually we’re going to have to knock down the barriers to I mean, title is a great example. But I would just say in general, these kind of transactions in illiquid securities need to, the friction needs to come down.
Eve: [00:33:28] Yeah, I totally agree with you. Well, thank you really so much for talking with me. I really enjoyed it. And I’m really wondering what’s going to happen this year if you did so well last year as well, too. Right.
Brian: [00:33:42] I think things are looking up, you know, in 2021. And and I hope we get to work together.
Eve: [00:33:48] Yes.
Brian: [00:33:49] Eve, I really admire the work that you’ve been doing and been persistent enough to keep doing over the years. And I hope we get to join forces someday and do some work together.
Eve: [00:33:59] That would be fantastic. Thank you so much, Brian. Bye.
Brian: [00:34:02] Yeah, you too.
Eve: [00:34:06] That was Brian Dally. Brian isn’t planning to stop at ‘fix-n-flips’ or accessory dwelling units. He thinks the GROUNDFLOOR model can be used on a much bigger scale. And on a much more varied asset class with 145 million raised in 2020, I can’t wait to see where he takes the company in 2021. You can find out more about this episode on the show notes page at EvePicker.com. Or you can find other episodes you might have missed. Or you can show your support at Patreon.com/RethinkRealEstate, where you can learn about special opportunities for my friends and followers. A special thanks to David Allardice for his excellent editing of this podcast and original music. And thanks to you for spending your time with me today. We’ll talk again soon. But for now, this is Eve Picker signing off to go make some change.
Image courtesy of GROUNDFLOOR/Brian Dally