Fundrise's startling transformation.
Former #1 star is now barely recognizable with gargantuan fees, investor dilution, questionable marketing, and allegations of financial extortion.
June 13, 2016 BY IAN IPPOLITO
October 2017: this article is more than a year and 1/2 old, and Fundrise has changed some of their offerings considerably since. For the latest information on Fundrise, see the reviews of the top nonaccredited investor sites.
When we last reviewed Fundrise in the middle of 2015, it had one of the strongest offerings of all the 100 + sites out there. It boasted one of the largest selections of investments (over 15), the lowest fees in the industry (about .5%), and a rock solid reputation with investors. All these features plus pre-funding, earned it a well-deserved #1 ranking.
However, today, the old Fundrise is no longer recognizable with all the changes that have occurred since then.
Investors started noticing the 1st signs of strange behavior at the site in late 2015. The large selection of investments dried up overnight, which concerned many (including us). Around this time (October 2015), Daniel Miller, the CEO and cofounder left the company for unknown reasons and was apparently replaced by his brother Benjamin Miller. A few months later, Miller wrote an open letter, stating that the choice to forgo new investments was to “ensure quality”.
As early 2016 came and went, there were still no new individual investments on the site. And it turned out that there was another shoe to drop. Fundrise disclosed to the SEC that Michael McCord (former CFO and treasurer) had attempted to extort $1 million from the company, and allegedly did so in exchange for staying quiet about inadequate due diligence on some of the investments. Fundrise denied there was any inadequate due diligence, and said it appointed a third-party auditor to check the investments. (As far as we know, these results have never been made available to the public.) Click here for more information.
Then came the announcement of the new Fundrise eReit. While innovative, this offering also contains gargantuan fees, painful investor dilution, and in our opinion uses misleading marketing gimmicks to lacquer over flaws. We covered the pros and cons of the Fundrise eReit in-depth in this article here.
And as of today, June 13, 2016, Fundrise has not released any new, individual investments on its site, and does not appear to be doing so anytime in the near future.
It’s sad to see that the site really bears no resemblance to what it was in mid-2015. As a result, Fundrise has dropped in the rankings from #1 to #25.
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About Ian Ippolito
Ian Ippolito is an investor and serial entrepreneur. He has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Forbes, TIME, Fast Company, TechCrunch, CBS News, FOX News and more.
Ian was impressed by the potential of real estate crowdfunding, but frustrated by the lack of quality site reviews and investment analysis. He created The Real Estate Crowdfunding Review to fill that gap.