Jared and Joshua Kushner, backers of some of real estate’s hottest tech startups, are now themselves stepping into the ring. The brothers have launched Cadre, a real estate investment vehicle that aims to connect institutional investors with opportunities in gateway markets, The Real Deal has learned.
“We’re looking to provide greater access to thoroughly institutional deal flow,” Ryan Williams, co-founder and CEO of Cadre, told TRD. Through the platform, investors can take a crack at specific deals rather than put their money into funds or real estate investment trusts, which don’t allow them to cherry-pick transactions.
Cadre has raised $18.3 million in its Series A round, led by Thrive Capital, a venture capital firm founded by Joshua Kushner, and General Catalyst Partners, a venture firm whose investments include Snapchat and Airbnb. Some of New York real estate’s biggest players, including former Vornado Realty Trust CEO Michael Fascitelli, Island Capital Group’s Andrew Farkas, and SL Green Realty, the city’s largest commercial landlord, have also bet on the startup.
The founders began working on the venture in the fall of 2014, and have secured a $250 million backstop from a large family office. Though Cadre has been in “stealth beta mode,” Williams said investors – including family offices and sovereign funds — have already closed on $50 million worth of deals through it. Revenues will come through transaction fees and other fees, he said.
Williams, an alumnus of Goldman Sachs’ technology and media group and the Blackstone Group’s real estate private equity division, is overseeing day-to-day operations. Andrew Borovsky, who was a director of product at mobile payments company Square, is leading product development. The Kushners serve as strategic advisors. Jared is the CEO of Kushner Companies, a major New York City landlord and the co-developer of Dumbo Heights in Brooklyn. Joshua’s investments through Thrive include Warby Parker, Instagram, and real estate startups Hightower, 42Floors, Honest Buildings, and Compass. He is also a co-founder of Oscar, the health insurance startup whose playful cartoon ads are all over the city’s trains.
For now, investments made through the platform will likely be of the proven, income-producing variety, a person familiar with the company said (Read: More Manhattan Class-A towers, less Dumbo Heights).
It’s been a prolific couple of years for real estate tech startups. A new hopeful sprouts up seemingly every other week, in fields ranging from leasing to market intelligence, and from crowdfunding to visualization. Money, of course, has a lot to do with it –since 2012, investors have poured more than $800 million into the space. But there’s also a sense that for an industry that’s long relied on the old-boy network, it’s time.