Ryan Williams wants to completely change how the real estate industry currently runs.
Williams, the 31-year-old CEO and Co-Founder of fintech startup Cadre, has won the backing of high-profile investors like Mark Cuban, George Soros, Peter Thiel and Jared Kushner. He's been on the cover of Forbes and built Cadre into a company worth nearly $1 billion.
But as an African American executive trying to disrupt real estate, Williams has also faced his fair share of skepticism.
"Real estate is a Jurassic industry. It's antiquated," Williams told CNN Business from the sidelines of the SALT Conference in Las Vegas earlier this month.
The Cadre CEO said he's aware of the fact that he looks different from many of his peers, noting that both the tech and real estate industries suffer from an "outsized lack of diversity."
Williams, who grew up in a working-class household in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, views his background as an opportunity to reset preconceived notions.
"At the end of the day, it's about results and what you're able to deliver," Williams said, "not about the color of your skin, not your sexual orientation, not your socioeconomic background."
According to Cadre, Williams worked his way through Harvard University and launched his first real estate company during his senior year there. After stints at Goldman Sachs and Blackstone, Williams started Cadre in 2014 as a digitized real estate investment platform. Cadre's mission is to level the playing field in an industry that is often tilted toward the biggest players.
Individuals, groups and institutions willing to invest at least $50,000 can comb through vetted real estate projects listed on Cadre's online marketplace.
"It's taking what's been an offline industry and making it online and transparent," Williams said.
Using machine learning and statistics, Cadre says it has built a technology program that provides analytics for real estate investors.
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