Cornell-backed real estate crowdfunding site launches

Groundbreaker founder Joseph Jelinek and the front of the newly launched Groundbreaker site
Groundbreaker founder Joseph Jelinek and the front of the newly launched Groundbreaker site

Despite concerns over U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, a new website is bringing crowd-funded real estate to the public. The Cornell University-backed website Groundbreaker, which helps entrepreneurs raise funds for real estate projects, has completed beta testing nine projects across the U.S. and has officially launched.

The site was founded by Joseph Jelinek, who studied entrepreneurship at Cornell and went on to finance more than $14 billion in real estate at Morgan Stanley and CBRE, according to GlobeSt.

“I love what Kickstarter is doing to empower artists, so I decided to do the same for architects, engineers, and real estate design junkies while also giving them additional resources and support,” Jelinek told GlobeSt.

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The major obstacle to bringing crowd funding to real estate has been protective SEC regulations. However, Groundbreaker is using the SEC’s more lenient stance on general solicitations to allow its users to organically create entrepreneurial networks. Securities lawyer Stefano D’Aniello, who advised companies while at law firm White & Case and oversaw $54 billion at BBVA, Spain’s second largest bank, is working with the site.

The site’s team also includes Alex Jelinek, who helped develop Google Maps and more than 50 mobile and web products, and Jacob Hofer, an application designer with more than 10 years of experience.

“Given our experience and deep understanding of real estate, securities, law, crowdfunding and technology, we help entrepreneurs better navigate the fundraising process and customize a white-label solution to match entrepreneur’s specific fundraising needs,” Jelinek said. [GlobeSt.]Christopher Cameron