Financial-technology startup Lendai enables foreign borrowers investing in non-residential US real estate properties the ability to efficiently and quickly access financing and competitive rates using its AI-based underwriting platform.
Lendai, which is based in Tel Aviv and Miami, raised $35 million in equity and debt seed funding, led by Meron Capital and Cardumen Capital, with participation from Discount Capital, Skywell Capital Partners, Mindset Ventures, and Viola Credit.
The funding, announced last week, will enable Lendai to expand its reach and help level the playing field for foreign investors who want to invest in US residential real estate properties. Lendai will also use the seed funding to expand its services to more US states and launch new financing loan programs.
Founded in 2019 in Tel Aviv, Lendai opened a small Miami office in September of 2021 as its US base, with plans to expand. The startup counts as partners hundreds of real estate agents, property management companies, loan brokers, marketplaces, developers, lawyers and accountants and lenders that use Lendai’s platform to connect their foreign clients to US financing.
According to Lendai, its fintech platform provides loan pricing transparency for foreign investors in minutes and loan closings can be completed in one-third of the time it takes US lenders. What’s more, the platform enables existing homeowners to receive loans based on the current value of their properties and thus expand their investment property portfoliso. That allows foreign investors to expand beyond the limits of all-cash deals and gives them access to the world’s largest private debt market, the company said. Foreign investors accounted for $1 trillion in US residential property purchases over the past decade.
In the next few months, Lendai plans to offer more loan products including programs for short-term rentals, which will expand to include Airbnb-specific loans, second homes, and vacation properties. The seed financing will also be used to help enhance Lendai’s platform to incorporate a toolkit of services beyond loans that will help borrowers to scale up their business, become more competitive and help borrowers manage their properties more effectively.
“With this funding, we’ll be able to continue scaling rapidly to meet demand,” said Yair Benyamini, Co-Founder and CEO of Lendai. “The best model for this business is one where everyone wins. With our platform, foreign investors can finally afford American properties, realtors and investment organizations open a new stream of revenue, and one of the most iconic financial instruments gets an upgrade for the digital age.”
Benyamini told Refresh Miami that the Lendao team is about 30 people globally now and about six of them are in Miami. Benyamini is based in Miami, too.
Expanding the Miami team is a top priority, Benyamini said. Why Miami? “Florida is the largest market for foreign investors in the US, 23% of the entire US market with South Florida as the epicenter. Everyone, from all over the world – and especially from Latin America – looks to Miami as their top destination abroad.”
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