Meridian takes page from startups, names CrediFi’s Ely Razin CIO

Actovia bought CrediFi in January

Meridian Capital CEO Ralph Herzka and Former Credifi CEO Ely Razin (Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images; Twitter)
Meridian Capital CEO Ralph Herzka and Former CrediFi CEO Ely Razin (Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images; Twitter)

Ely Razin, founder of the recently shuttered real estate data firm CrediFi, is joining Meridian Capital Group as the brokerage’s first chief innovation officer, The Real Deal has learned.

In the new role, Razin will be tasked with expanding Meridian’s digital and analytics strategy, the company said. At a time when many real estate players are looking for a technological edge, that will mean building on Meridian’s existing data sets and tech stack and creating proprietary products for brokers and clients.

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In a statement, Meridian said Razin is joining the firm at a “pivotal point” in its strategic growth. Last year, the company arranged $40 billion of commercial real estate debt nationwide. Its New York-based investment sales team, formed in 2015, closed $1.25 billion in deals last year, according to TRD’s recent ranking of i-sales firms. In 2018, Meridian also formed a retail leasing division.

Yoni Goodman, Meridian’s president, said Razin would play a key role in maximizing value for the firm’s brokers and clients by focusing on innovations around everything from communication to automation.

“Meridian strives to give incredible support to our brokers by providing better market info, lender info and client info. And the process through which we support our brokers is what we’re determined to innovate around,” he said. “Ely is added muscle and leadership to our bench of people who can think of such things and implement such things.”

Last year Meridian tapped former Silverstein Properties executive Sandy Jacolow as chief information officer, and its brokerage hires have paid dividends in a tough climate for investment sales.

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Meridian’s sales volume rose by 14 percent in 2019 to $1.25 billion, according to TRD’s ranking. Bolstered by recent hires, including Amit Doshi and Adam Hess, that volume put Meridian at No. 7 on TRD’s list.

A former Thomson Reuters executive, Razin founded CrediFi in 2013 and led the Tel Aviv and New York-based startup until its closure in December. CrediFi raised $29 million from investors, including $6 million in a January 2019 round from investors Liberty Technology Venture Capital II, Maverick Ventures Israel and Japanese real estate investor Mitsui Fudosan.

In a statement, Razin said he was drawn to Meridian to help fuel growth by expanding its tech stack. Doing so, he said, is key “at a time of such innovation and change in the dynamics of the commercial real estate industry.”

It’s also a competitive time.

CrediFi closed after talks to sell the company to Moody’s fell through. In the months prior, the company had let go a chunk of its staff.

In January, however, mortgage data firm Actovia struck a deal to buy CrediFi, a former competitor, for an undisclosed amount. At the time, Razin told TRD that a “key driver” behind the deal was Actovia’s ability to keep CrediFi’s business intact and continue working with its clients.

— Reporting by David Jeans