The CEO of a St. Louis-based commercial real estate crowdfunding platform believes the combination of traditional real estate skills and new technology will help investors earn solid returns.
AJ Chivetta is one of the founders of Selequity, a St. Louis, Missouri-based platform offering clients access to commercial real estate opportunities both in Missouri and across the country.
Selequity’s four founders worked together for many years and recent developments created a new opportunity.
“The new rules in the JOBS Act have the potential to transform the industry,” Mr. Chivetta said.
Some of Selequity’s investment opportunities will come from the St. Louis region, because Selequity’s team knows the area well, a key aspect of real estate investment, Mr. Chivetta said.
“We are real estate promoters and operators in the Midwest. We know the trends that are happening here.”
Mr. Chivetta said the Midwestern real estate market tends to be a little more stable, with fewer of the big swings of many heavy-growth coastal cities.
“There’s not the large demand swings you see elsewhere, but we’re not completely insulated. Growth is slower and less impactful in both directions.”
Selequity, operating in Beta, has two properties in St. Louis and one in Dallas featured on its site.
To properly vet commercial properties outside St. Louis, Selequity relies on a network of contacts generated as the team grew a previous firm into a national company.
“That’s one of the neat aspects of our founding team,” Mr. Chivetta said. “We’ve completed acquisitions in many major U.S. cities. We know who the players are and have great contacts.”
Selequity also sees opportunities where they can leverage their experience in lending and equity to provide additional alternatives to investors, Mr. Chivetta said.
Earlier this year Selequity was selected as the first real estate crowdfunding platform to compete at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference Battlefield competition in New York City, beating out more than 1,000 applicants from many different sectors. They launched on stage in front of top ventures capitalists, entrepreneurs and trade media.
“That was a great honor,” Mr. Chivetta admitted. “It is a great way to introduce Selequity. Technology is such a hot topic.”
Before forming Selequity Mr. Chivetta said the founders developed great technology to help corporate clients. Now technology is being employed to similar effect on a wider scale.
“Investors and sponsors have an effective way to communicate with each other,” he explained. “The technology helps increase transparency while educating investors and sponsors.”
“That information was always there but it wasn’t communicated easily. Technology is the backbone that makes it possible.”