I’ve joined LEX Markets to build the future of commercial real estate investing
Not the usual kind of update, wanted to share what I'm actually working on these days
If you follow me on Twitter or other social channels, you may have already seen recent news I've joined LEX Markets as VP marketing to build a world-class team and grow the brand. It’s truly day one and I am beyond thrilled to return to my roots working for early stage growth companies. I’m especially excited to work on providing simple access for all investors to a previously complex and difficult to invest in asset class. “Access” is an increasingly important word in the financial world, as tech innovation continues to open opportunities previously reserved for only the most connected, resourced or sophisticated individuals. Innovations that put more people on the same playing field and give everyone a chance to participate are currently one of the most popular and talked about areas of fintech for good reason. Simplified and in plain English: LEX Markets is letting you diversify into CRE properties with the potential to earn passive income and build wealth - for just $250 at a time (fractional ownership of a building). No accredited investor status necessary or millions of dollars in capital to deploy required, we want to let everyone own a piece of a skyscraper.
Personally, before deciding to head straight back to work after leaving my previous role, I was planning to take time off to reflect on some things. But LEX’s director of product @swartzcenter's passion is infectious and he was persistent enough to spend time to persuade me on just why LEX is so cool. It eventually clicked, I saw the matrix and realized the team was onto something special. I quickly went from uncertain what was next, something I personally can’t stand and don’t deal with well, to energized at the idea of joining a startup doing something unique and useful for the world, where I have the opportunity to shape company direction from an early point. I'm already a believer this is the future of commercial RE for investors large and small. We’re still getting started so if you want to be early (and start trading assets you didn’t realize were possible to own in an app) sign up for our waitlist and we’ll let you know when we’re ready for you.
We’re unique vs many of the competitors in the space as our team has built the following:
A retail brokerage app to trade shares of buildings
A investment banking operation to take buildings public
An SEC-registered ATS on which those shares trade
Here’s a sneak preview of what it looks like to own a position of a commercial RE property in the iOS app:
This is an active and live asset chart, not a mockup, as we’re already beginning to “IPO” buildings and selling investors fractional shares starting at $250, not to mention recurring income: each property has been selected by LEX based on its ability to generate stable quarterly income distributions. Returns of course are not guaranteed, but the asset class is one that has a long history of reliable performance - a reason why so many HNW individuals allocate strongly here. You can also benefit from the tax advantages of direct property ownership.
In the product you’ll have a dashboard of account metrics and holdings, your portfolio, useful visualizations, tradable assets, research tools and more. And of course, upcoming listings to browse prior to ability to purchase and indicate interest.
Quick story on LEX in Bloomberg for more background if you want the media’s take. Much more to come, excited to share the story of why this idea is so special for investors large & small, plus property owners.
The other aspect of LEX that will appeal to owners/developers is the ability to recapitalize equity efficiently - the team at LEX built a novel way for sponsors to capture value without giving up control of their asset, something that will appeal to a wide range of owners. Some brief benefits:
Take chips off the table (diversification, uncertainty, external forces)
Reduce expensive debt or preferred equity
Replace ‘difficult’ minority partners
Replace institutional investors’ interests that are required to sell (fund term limits)
Maintain control and management of asset
Replace the equity being sold with non-voting permanent capital
If you own a building or know someone who does and is interested in learning more, our team would love to hear from you (details to reach out to our real estate team are here).
Hope this was a useful overview of LEX Markets, again it’s very early days. Fintech is an exciting area to be in and one of the pieces of frontier tech that will meaningfully shape so much over the next decade: from ecommerce to offline payments to investing/savings and much in between. Also a new challenge for me and one that I personally welcome as startups are blank slates to try out high concept and ambitious creative work, test new processes and team structures and provide the ultimate learning environment. Along with any personal growth I’m lucky enough to benefit from, equally important I want to focus on serving all of you and provide a delightful experience as users on the investor or supply side.
As usual feel free to pass on any thoughts or questions to me on Twitter. And, if LEX is interesting to you follow our company feed here where we plan to post updates educating novice investors/help them learn the key tenets about the sector, as well as provide more in-depth industry commentary for the pros who already live and breathe it.
Bonus: shout to my friend RampCapitalLLC for making the first intro with the LEX team for me. I did not have an anonymous Twitter account sourcing me a role at a super interesting company on my 2021 bingo card, but it's a fun turn of events and part of an already much brighter year.