Dubai real estate crowdfunding platform posts solid growth

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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 six times since the pandemic. The investor base grew 100% on a Q-o-Q basis. 

Founded by Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed, SmartCrowd is set to be a revolutionary offering. 

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, stated Farid, the CEO of SmartCrowd.

Explaining the concept, he said 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,” he noted.

“For anyone looking to earn a decent return on a relatively small investment, SmartCrowd is a revolutionary offering,” added Farid.

The Dubai group recently closed a bridge round in excess of $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, while Dubai-based TriCap Investment 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 growth, Mad’a Investment CEO Abdullah A. Al Othaim, 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 Farid and Ahmed in their next stage of growth,” said Aziz Hashim, Managing Partner at Amaana Capital.

Suleman Soorani, Director of Principal Investments at Tricap Investments, said: “Smart Crowd’s user-friendly technology platform has made real estate investment accessible hassle-free for all.”

“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.

“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,” remarked Farid. 

“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,” he added.