Financial technology startup firm Lendai announced Wednesday that it has raised $35 million in equity and debt seed funding. The purpose of the company is to enable foreign, non-residential borrowers investing in US real estate properties the ability to access immediate financing and competitive rates using its AI-based Triple Digital Underwriting System platform – making the underwriting process fast, easy and efficient.
According to the company's announcement on Wednesday, this early round of financing is led jointly by Meron Capital and Cardumen Capital, with underwriting help from Discount Capital, Skywell Capital Partners, Mindset Ventures, and Viola Credit.
Proceeds from the seed financing will enable Lendai to expand its reach and to help level the playing field for foreign investors who want to invest in US residential real estate properties. Concurrently, Lendai will use the seed funding to expand its services to more US states and launch new financing loan programs.
Since it was formed in 2019, the Tel Aviv, Israel-based Lendai – whose US operations are headquartered in Miami – has built a global network of nearly 200 partners consisting of real estate agents, property management companies, loan brokers, marketplaces, developers, lawyers, accountants and other types of lenders. "Pretty much anyone who touches a US-based real estate operation, and who works for a foreign national, is a Lendai partner," says CEO and co-founder Yair Benyamini.
In an interview with ZDNet, Benyamini said that the company's network of partners, and clients, are scattered throughout the world, from Australia, Singapore, Europe, the UK, Israel, Canada, and even the US. They use Lendai's partner platform to connect their foreign investor clients to US financing.
"We basically sit on all the entry points into the market, and this allows us to write to thousands of clients that are in these countries, with minimal effort," Benyamini said. So if you're a foreign investor who wants to invest in US real estate and you're ready to finance, it doesn't matter whether you go to your realtor, loan broker, property manager, or your accountant that does your taxes -- you will be directed to Lendai.
The company said its fintech platform provides loan pricing transparency for foreign investors in minutes and loan closing can be completed in one-third of the time it takes US lenders, according to the company's announcement. In addition, Lendai's platform makes it possible for existing homeowners to receive loans based on the current value of their properties, enabling foreign investors to invest beyond all-cash deals and to have access to the world's largest private debt market, the company said.
Benyamini said the $35 million seed round will help expand Lendai's services to more US states, including California, New York, Arizona, and Nevada, and launch new financing loan programs. As a result, foreign borrowers in more countries will be able to receive larger loans with faster turnaround times and with improved customer experience.
What's more, Benyamini said that in the next few months his company 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.