According to the Chief Executive Officer and one of the three co-founders of real estate crowdfunding platform, Smart Crowd, Siddiq Farid, “Real estate has been used by the wealthy for centuries to accumulate and preserve capital and the average Joe has been left out.”
“This is our attempt to solve many things, but at the same time tackle this income inequality,” he says, in an interview with The National in Dubai.
It’s a profound ambition for a start-up, but crowdfunding is in many ways the epitome of open democracy – a digital fundraising tool to empower citizens to take ownership of things they previously had no access to.
In the case of Smart Crowd, the platform enables fractional ownership of real estate. Investors can purchase a stake in a rental property for as little as Dh5,000 ($1,300), ‘co-owning’ the asset along with tens, hundreds (or thousands, depending on the size and value of the unit) of other people.
They can hold their stake for as long as they wish, collecting the rent from it, or sell it and use the proceeds to invest in something else listed on the platform. Or they can use accumulated returns to buy a property on their own.
“The idea is simple: the platform lowers the entry barrier for people to start building a portfolio of assets to generate a secondary source of income and accumulate wealth over time. Our slogan is ‘Unlock Your Wealth Potential’,”Farid explains. If the platform is successful, the same concept could be used for other assets, from cars to restaurants, to mixed-use schemes. “We are a long way from that,” he laughs.
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