The real estate industry was relatively slow to adopt technology, but it’s now quickly catching up. That means that virtually every part of the industry is seeing a lot of startup activity. Juniper Square, which today announced it has raised a $6 million Series A round led by Felicis Ventures, is tackling the real estate investment side by helping investment managers raise and manage outside capital for their projects.
The company was founded in 2014 and launched its investment platform in 2017. Today’s funding round brings the company’s total funding to date to $8 million; the company plans to use the new influx of capital to accelerate its product development and grow its team to better service its user base.
San Francisco-based Juniper Square, which also recently opened an office in Austin, says it has quadrupled both its revenue and managed assets over the course of the last year. More than 100 real estate managers switched their private equity funds to the company’s platform last year, and these now service more than 50,000 investors and manage more than 3,000 investments on the platform that have a total worth of almost $200 billion.
“The real estate industry has historically been very underserved by technology, especially in investment management,” said Alex Robinson, Juniper Square’s co-founder and CEO. “Real estate firms are seeking to benefit from innovations in technology, and our solution helps firms of all sizes better manage the entire life cycle of their capital relationships. This new round of investment will enable us to rapidly improve our product for both sponsors and investors.”
Robinson told me the company almost broke even last year, despite adding 25 new employees. But the new funding will now allow the company to invest in forward-looking projects that probably won’t pay off until a year or two from now. “As an example of this, we’re really excited by the opportunity to invest even more in the investor experience on our platform,” he said. “There’s a lot we can do to further simplify the complex process of private investing for investors, and to help them get more insight from their investments.”
With more than 30,000 funds currently in business, Juniper Square still has plenty of room to grow, but the company hopes that its platform, which gives managers all the tools they need to keep track of their investments and investors, will win over more of the existing funds over time.
When I asked Robinson about Juniper Square’s roadmap, he noted that the company’s mission is essentially to replace all the Excel spreadsheets that currently float around these investment firms. “Excel is an incredible product — I know, I used to be a product manager for Microsoft Office — but it was never intended to be a database or a workflow/collaboration tool. Yet that’s exactly how it’s used inside of 99 percent of investment firms,” he said. “So our roadmap is pretty simple: We look for places where Excel shouldn’t be used, and we replace it with purpose-built software. There are a lot of spreadsheets flying around firms, so there’s still a lot to do.”