Wework Bets on Communal Living With Welive Venture

WeWork, the $10 billion dollar start-up company that seems to be getting hotter by the minute, is spawning other projects and from the looks of it will attract further investment dollars well into 2016.

The simple premise of WeWork is one that many young startups already employ. For those who are starting their own companies but can’t withstand the distractions at home, WeWork is the ticket to success. The communal working space offers the same camaraderie as a company with like-minded people who are seeking a relatively quiet spot to work.

WeWork also provides private conference rooms, communal lounges, quick internet, printing, mail and package handling as well as free coffee. It’s a win for freelancers and entrepreneurs, who use WeWork to rent startup office space that will appeal to millennials. Now they’re aiming to spread into the residential sector, but with a communal twist.

WeWork will be adding onto its monumental success by adding a residential section under their umbrella with new venture WeLive. With WeLive, WeWork is betting on the appeal of integrated working-living scenarios. Offering WeWork employees micro-apartments at $1600 a month, WeLive will aim to obliterate the concept of work-life balance and replace it with work-life integration.

The company is betting on this model appealing to millennials and recent college grads. Boasting large communal lounges for collaborating on projects or meeting your neighbors, plus craft beer and micro brewed coffee on tap, WeLive is a concept ripe for criticism.

It’s also a huge opportunity for profit if WeWork’s recent success is any indicator. The company recently raised almost $434 million in funding. It will be interesting to see how WeWork’s work-life integration pans out as the company plans to unroll test locations in the coming months.…

Lendinghome Raises $109.3 Million in Series C Funding

LendingHome, the San Francisco based startup that offers peer-to-peer mortgages, recently raised $109.3 million in Series C funding. The bulk of this funding came from Chinese social media company RenRen, who invested $70 million in the fin tech startup. This is RenRen’s latest large-scale investment in several fintech startups, including Fundrise.

LendingHome’s series C funding follows a stellar year with over $100 million in mortgages originated, which funded short-term bridge loans to homeowners flipping properties and mortgages for landlords who own and rent out 10 or fewer single-family residences. The startup is simplifying the process of getting a loan or mortgage, and demand seems high for their new tech-friendly approach.

Borrowers can apply for loans on LendingHome’s website, and track their application’s status as it moves toward approval. LendingHome uses a wide range of data to review property value and which applicants are likely to repay their loans. One source used is Intuit Connect, which can access a borrower’s bank statements.

LendingHome also aggregates deals to allow institutional investors, like hedge funds and financial service firms, to fund bulk loans that have already been approved as reliable and creditworthy. Soon the platform will also offer deals for individual investors looking to get into real estate investing.

LendingHome’s successful round of Series C funding, along with its explosive growth, points to another growing industry eager for a streamlined digital transformation. LendingHome offers mortgages and loans much faster than the manual processes still being used by banks.

Co-founders Matt Humphrey and James Herbert have done well to bring technology to bear on an industry whose operations were largely still operating by pre-internet standards.…

Can a Fintech Startup Take $13 Trillion From Wall Street ?

It’s no secret that FinTech companies are challenging the status quo of the financial industry by leveraging the power of the internet. With lower costs and fewer middlemen, investment startups allow consumers easier access to the market. Investors have taken notice too: 2014 saw $12 billion allocated to financial technology startups, which was a 300% rise from the year before.

The latest disruptor to watch is D.C.-based startup FundRise, an app that allows individuals to invest in commercial real estate right from their phones. Commercial real estate comprises a $13 trillion market. That’s a huge market previously untapped by startups- until now. Wall Street might not want to share, but Silicon Valley can’t be stopped.

Commercial real estate has long been a moneymaker for Wall Street investors. 2014 saw average annual investment returns on real estate stay strong at 15%, while stocks and US bonds returned an average of only 5.2% and 6% respectively.

Typically, real estate investing has required large sums of capital that prohibits the casual investor from entering the playing field. That’s about to change with FundRise, which uses a crowdfunding model to allow investors to pool their money and invest collectively on big real estate ventures. With a few simple swipes on a smartphone, investors can buy a small piece of iconic properties like 3 World Trade Center at Ground Zero.

Founded by brothers Ben and Dan Miller in 2012, FundRise received Series A funding last May, and currently has 56,000 users.  The company reports a 1500% growth in assets since launch, confirming that the demand for online real estate investing with low minimums and high transparency actually exists, as the brothers bet on when launching their startup. It will be interesting to see how much of that $13 trillion market FundRise can actually divert from big Wall Street investors, but so far the online marketplace they’ve built to bring together investors and management companies is an exciting example of fintech shaking up the investment real estate industry.…

4 Factors Driving Fintech’s Explosive Growth

According to a recent comprehensive report by consulting firm Accenture, the future of the financial technology sector is blindingly bright. Consider these stats:

Global investment in fintech grew by 201% in 2014
Fintech investments rose from $4.05b to $12.21b from 2013-14
Compared to 63% overall VC investment growth in 2014, fintech growth is exponential

4 Factors of FinTech’s Growth Spurt:

1. Jobs Act legislation: Recent rulings included the deregulation of equity crowdfunding and private startup investments unleashing a surge of investors.

2. Popular Disruptors: The popularity of fintech startups like Robinhood and Lending Club is just the beginning of a huge wave of disruptive startups out to shake up Wall Street and bring more accessibility, transparency, and lower costs to financial services than traditional banks and investment firms. Investors want to ride this wave into the future.

3. Open architecture: led by Goldman Sachs, longstanding financial institutions are starting to embrace application interface programs (APIs) that are accessible to outside developers. Goldman has posted its proprietary source code on GitHub, opening the door to developer and programmer collaboration—which will ultimately lead to faster innovations and a chance at keeping up with the new tech startup disruptors.

4. Smarter due diligence: The financial industry is next in a line of industries poised to be revolutionized by automating more workflow, driven by advancements in pattern recognition algorithms and predictive coding. The result will be lower overheads and greater efficiency, a win-win in the eyes of investors.…