A company working to bring investment in developments to the masses has taken up residence in Canary Wharf.
Homegrown is a property crowdfunding platform that lets members of the public invest in large-scale residential schemes in the UK for as little as £500.
Investors are given a range of developments to choose from and, once they invest, will own shares in a UK limited company that owns part of the project.
They are then entitled to a share of the profits once the scheme is finished and its properties are sold.
Homegrown co-founder and chief executive, Anthony Rushworth, said: “The crowdfunding focus used to be on buy-to-let properties.
“We just developed that model and made it into a more exciting and sought after product, which is property development.
“You used to have to be a very wealthy investor or have a relationship with a developer if you wanted to get involved with this sort of thing. A normal investment amount would be £100,000 or more. It was only for this very small number of people who could afford it, but we are making it available for everyone.
“It’s also good for developers. It’s not always straight forward to raise money and get loans, and this way we can top up their funds and help them to keep building.”
Projects Homegrown has backed include a block of 56 flats in Limehouse and the London Fields development in Hackney.
The team behind the Level39-based company say they are “incredibly picky” about which schemes they agree to work with, turning down more than 90% of those that approach them, with the aim of only offering the best to potential investors.
Nevertheless, Homegrown sees itself as firm helping to tackle a social issue as well as a property investment business, by helping developers build more homes and tackle the housing crisis.
Homegrown’s chief marketing officer, Aaron Mahadevan, said: “There are very few options these days where you can make great returns as well as contributing to the solution of a chronic housing shortage.
“These platforms weren’t available for people before. We are trying to democratise housing investment for everyone.”
Anthony added: “We like to work in areas that are being regenerated, and where there’s not already a big supply of housing. We focus on outer London boroughs, rather than Kensington And Chelsea.
“In the future we would like to branch into commuter areas in the south east, and in other cities like Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Birmingham.”
Founded in 2015 by Anthony, a former chartered accountant at PwC, and Ben Washington, who runs a financial services consultancy that advises companies including Barclays and HSBC, Homegrown moved into the startup tech accelerator space Level39 in One Canada Square in April.
And its no stranger to its own business model, raising £238,000 through crowdfunding in one month to boost its own business, having asked for an investment of £150,000.
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