CircleUp just raised an additional $14 million of capital (for itself, not for its portfolio companies) and RealtyMogul an additional $9 million.
Both of these Title II portals were early to the starting gate and RealtyMogul was the first portal to recognize the value in segmenting the market, i.e., limiting itself to real estate. Given that Crowdfunding represents the most significant change in the U.S. capital markets since the Great Depression, with the potential to channel a river of capital through Title II portals, it is not surprising that investors would be keen on the prospects of these two market leaders.
CircleUp, RealtyMogul, and a handful of others saw the opportunity early and, more important, have successfully executed their business plans. At the same time, these new investments likely are as much about the potential of theTitle II market as much as they are about individual companies.
In an industry as young as Crowdfunding, the term “market leader” doesn’t mean as much as it does in a mature industry. When Title II became legal on September 23, 2013, just six months ago, it was as if millions acres of vacant land were suddenly opened for development. The names CircleUp and RealtyMogul are deservedly well-known among the cognoscenti, but far from household names. You might say that the market leaders of today have staked claims but that the malls and office buildings and skyscrapers are yet to be built.
To me, it seems reasonable that within 10 years at least one Title II portal will be large enough to buy Morgan Stanley. And business being business, the chances are that this portal has yet to be formed.
There are at least two lessons from these new investments.
The obvious lesson is that it’s a great time to create and develop Title II portals.
The less obvious lesson is that creating a successful Title II portal takes real money. CircleUp and RealtyMogul don’t need $23 million of new capital to build websites. They are building businesses, building brand names, trying to stay on top of the Crowdfunding wave. To compete, others must do the same.
Questions? Let me know.