Real estate and lending have always been closely associated. What Aperture, a Los Angeles-based real estate technology and investment company, has done is integrate real estate, lending,and cryptocurrencies to create a new model for funding and investing in real estate.
The Aperture Business Model
Aperture was formed in the year 2016 by three co-founders: Andrew Jewett, Rudy Cortes, and Matt Miles to monetize the opportunity in real estate through creation of a large national fix and flip investor and lender. The company is focused on two things:
- Buying residential properties to renovate and resell (“flips”) and
- Making loans to other property investors (“investor loans”).
The company bridges the gap for fix-and-flip investors by offering short-term loans for fix and flip, bridge, rehabilitation, or rental purposes. The main focus are homes that do not qualify for traditional lending. The company provides a quick and convenient way to finance property to borrowers with low interest rates and reasonable up-front fees as compared to its competitors. It also helps home owners to sell their houses at best possible prices. Availability of advanced features like ACH payments, interest-only payments, certainty of close, no minimum credit score requirements and a dedicated team of underwriters are some of the core areas of competencies which differentiates Aperture from its competitors.
As a direct buyer, Aperture looks for affordably priced real estate in need of repairs. The aim is to fix it and resell to end users for profit. The company partners with local contractors to determine the scope of repairs and review the work performed.
The Technology Behind It All
The company has developed its fully integrated proprietary loan origination software (LOS) to handle property management services and reporting. The entire workflow of loans is managed through the software.
Borrowers can apply for property loans through the company’s website, which is interactive and intuitive. They are required to register on the company’s web portal and fill the information in terms of basic borrower data, property facts, and amount of loan requested. The loan process is not completely reliant on technology for the assessment of the proposal. The company will also do a manual review to perform the due diligence on a proposed loan. Aperture strives to close each project loan within a period of five to 10 working days.
The company does not focus on saturated states like California, Nevada, Florida, and Arizona. It will instead concentrate on capturing a higher quantum of deals at a higher percentage rates. This reduces its cost of acquisition per client and will also ensure higher margins.
Aperture is one of the only lenders that is also a property investor. This allows the company to provide additional benefits to borrowers by referring profitable deals to them in which the company has skin in the game. The company targets experienced investors, real estate agents, and contractors wishing to build a portfolio of two to 20 investment properties.
Fundraising Through Property Coin
Aperture is actively lending and is targeting to achieve a portfolio of $180 million in the next 12 months. Head of Loan Operations Dan Goldman helped build another originator to $55 million in monthly originations in just 15 months. The company, to date, is self-funded.
Aperture is also looking to raise $50 million through an ICO. Launching a 100% asset backed coin called Property Coin, they provide investors fractional interest in all real estate purchased by Aperture. The company has also filed a Reg D and Reg S for the purpose of fundraising. Half of the profits from the investments and loans will flow to the coin holders. The token is a way to securitize the real estate assets while giving crypto holders an opportunity to diversify into an asset-backed coin.
Trends and Future Goals
According to the founders, availability of financing to property investors has increased in the last three years. The residential investment market was previously dominated by “mom & pop” investors (who usually own less than 10 houses). On the other hand, attractive market returns and higher margins, as compared to traditional lending, are attracting institutional investors to jump into the market. These trends show that the industry is at a pivot point, and Aperture is at the right place and the right time to grab hold of this opportunity.
The company has generated 50 percent unleveraged returns on its investments. That, along with the management’s experience in real estate and loan origination industries, is a big positive. By incorporating the blockchain, the company has created an investment vehicle that will be attractive to multiple sections of the investor base. Property Coin is a safe bet for those taking their first steps into the crypto space. The coin can also be attractive to institutional players looking for a stable crypto asset in their portfolio with strong cash flows and a tangible underlying asset.
The company’s biggest competitor is Lending Home founded in 2013. Finance of America is another player in this segment and was formed in 2017 with the merger of B2R Finance and Jordan Capital Finance offering residential rehab fix-and-flip loans, single rental home loans, and blanket loans. It is also a portfolio company of the private equity giant, Blackstone.
Lima One is another strong contender, offering services to residential real estate investors with a funding period of 15 to 45 days. The company was formed in 2010 and has funded over $200 million with more than 720 residential deals up through 2017.
The Aperture Founding Team
All three founders were part of the senior management team at Wedgewood, one of the largest fix-and-flip investors in the US. Jewett and Miles were co-heads of the capital markets division. Both also worked previously at RBS Securities. Cortes was the head of fix-and-flip operations at Wedgewood and has previous experience at Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, Inc.
Aperture combines the best of marketplace lending with traditional real estate and asset-backed cryptocurrency to provide opportunities for investors interested in diversification and building a strong real estate portfolio.
Written by Heena Dhir.