SmartCrowd raises $3 million bridge round
- UAE-based real estate crowdfunding platform SmartCrowd, has raised a $3 million bridge round led by Mad’a Investment Company, with participation from TriCap Investments, Amaana Capital, the venture capital arm of US-based NRD Capital, along with a group of regional angel investors.
- Founded in 2017 by Abdul Kadir Faizal, Musfique Ahmed and Siddiq Farid, Smart Crowd provides investors with access to real estate investment opportunities through its online platform.
- SmartCrowd has so far funded more than 70 properties and processed transactions worth AED50 million.
- The fresh funding will enable SmartCrowd to scale its operations, fine tune its product and expand into new markets including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
SmartCrowd, Dubai’s innovative real estate crowdfunding platform, which allows individuals investors to take a “fractional” share in a rental property, has grown its investor base nearly 6 times since the pandemic. The investor based grew 100% on a Q-o-Q basis. The company recently closed a bridge round in excess of USD $ 3 million.
The bridge funding will enable the rapidly growing company to scale its operations, products and establish a presence in new markets including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
Mad’a Investment Company, an influential Saudi firm, is the lead investor of the Bridge Round. TriCap Investment, a diversified investments group based in Dubai, made a follow-up investment in SmartCrowd and was joined by Amaana Capital, the venture capital arm of US-based NRD Capital., along with other prominent angel investors in the region.
Commenting on the investment, Abdullah A. Al Othaim, CEO of Mad’a investment, said: “As part of our strategy to invest in companies that add exceptional value through their innovative ideas to the Kingdom and the region, SmartCrowd, MENA’s first regulated real estate investment platform, will open up new investment channels to individuals looking for relatively safe methods for passive income”
“SmartCrowd is leading the charge in fractional ownership of real assets in the region by providing its customers with high-quality and pre-vetted investment opportunities. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Siddiq and Musfique in their next stage of growth,” said Aziz Hashim, Managing Partner at Amaana Capital.
Suleman Soorani, Director of Principal Investments at Tricap Investments, shared: “We are big believers in Smart Crowd’s digital investment platform and the value proposition it offers to all types of real estate investors and owners.
“Smart Crowd’s user-friendly technology platform has made real estate investment accessible hassle-free for to all and we are excited to support the founders in making Smart Crowd not just a preferred way of investing in real estate but a preferred way of owning real estate.”
Assets under management have grown more than 60% quarter-on-quarter, while the number of investors has doubled in the last quarter.
SmartCrowd CEO and Co-Founder, Siddiq Farid, says: “The rapid growth we are experiencing is down to our innovative approach to property ownership, a market ripe for investment, and the strong economic outlook the UAE is experiencing. Dubai’s real estate transactions are at an all-time high - and that is translating into our growth.
“Meanwhile, our latest bridge funding will help us rapidly scale to new heights and continue our mission on making alternative investment universally accessible to the masses. Average investor has been historically restricted to traditional asset classes such as shares and bonds and unable to diversify their wealth into alternative assets like the wealthy to preserve and accumulate wealth. Now more than ever it is prudent for people to construct investment portfolios that with stand market volatility.”
Individual investors in SmartCrowd take a ‘fractional’ share in a vetted rental property based on a 100-point proprietary screening tool, with investments on the crowdfunding platform starting at AED500. Investors then receive a share of rent, proportional to their investment. Once a property is funded, it is purchased via a special purpose vehicle (SPV) registered in the DIFC, ensuring a safe, secure investment opportunity.
“For anyone looking to earn a decent return on a relatively small investment, SmartCrowd is a revolutionary offering,” adds SmartCrowd’s CEO, Siddiq Farid.
After 18 months of solid growth – despite the global economic woes induced by the pandemic – SmartCrowd now has more than 30,000 users on the platform, 80% of which are UAE-based. The remaining 20% come from as far as New Zealand and Australia and are using SmartCrowd to take a beneficial slice of Dubai’s real estate market.
SmartCrowd has now funded more than 70 properties and transacted over AED50 million. The company has paid out close to AED3 million in rental income to investors so far.
A new SmartCrowd mobile application, now available on iOS App Store and Google Play, makes real estate investments even easier and more accessible.