March 22, 2021

Lev announces $10 million Seed financing to grow commercial real estate transaction platform

The Lev team and I are extremely excited to share that we have raised a $10 million Seed round from NFX, Caanan Partners, and JLL Spark, the strategic investment arm of commercial real estate services firm JLL, as well as our existing investors, ANIMO Ventures and Ludlow Ventures.

Lev is the online platform for commercial real estate transactions. We closed over $100 million of transactions during our first year of existence and are tracking to 10x that volume this year. We help commercial real estate owners and investors get the best financing for their property, using proprietary data and process automation tools to build the most competitive capital stack, quickly and easily. 

Ten years ago, the seminal essay, Software is Eating the World was published. Ever since then (and perhaps even before) industry experts have argued that their industry was the exception to being disrupted by software. They believe that their jobs were too complex to be automated or to be “eaten” by technology. The thing that is overlooked by those holding to this idea is that software is no longer a component of the business, but it is the platform and layer on which everything else runs. The examples Marc provided ten years ago across airlines, logistics, and more have expanded across the entire economy. Lev is bringing that same level of innovation to commercial real estate transactions.  

We are using the funding and support from this round to focus on hiring more incredible Levers to join our team in order to further invest in our technology, partnerships and customer acquisition. 

Our vision of the future

Through the power of accurate, real-time data and incredible machine learning technologies, Lev’s clients can make more money with less work. We can use these tools —  along with our team of human experts —  to serve as the capital markets arm and partner for the tens of thousands of commercial real estate investors operating across the country. 

Since starting Lev, it has become clear to us that the financing is not only a critical component in CRE in order to maximize investor returns, but it is also the center of an entire series of CRE transactions. 

The financing transaction & capital stack structure lies at the center of a series of peripheral processes related to each asset.

On acquisitions, the financing is often the step that defines closing timeline, influences and works with the title company, accrues legal fees and more. After the acquisition financing, there’s usually a refinance every five years. 

Active CRE investors are always working on —  or are about to work on —  financing an asset. They call their capital markets representative before and after looking at a potential acquisition to see what’s possible and they brainstorm opportunities to improve returns.

The best capital markets advisors have a pulse on the market and the needs of each of their clients. Our goal is to help those advisors be better, free them of the shackles of busywork, and empower them with instant insights, tailored to them and their clients, providing opportunities to help before they’re even asked. We want to digitize the transaction while being conscious that you can’t digitize the relationship. 

Having a trusted resource and partner who is proactive and accurate serves as a competitive advantage for sponsors — that’s what our technology and infrastructure enables.  

Through our existing partnerships and new ones to come, we will become proactive supporters of our clients, adding value to their portfolios and helping them perform better. We will evolve the role of a capital markets advisor into what it really should be: an expert advisor with your best interests in mind, always a step ahead.

It is also important to note that we believe, even in the long-term, that humans will be critical to the process. 

We anticipate that “simpler” transactions (a factor of asset type, loan type, and loan size) will be more automated more quickly. The more complex deals, with multiple layers of debt and equity, will be supported by the tools we are building, so that an advisor can analyze thousands of potential financing structures in less time than it would take for an incumbent to analyze one. 

The platform at Lev will be strengthened by the network effects of each client and lender we work with. As we develop more tools to automate transactions and enable direct integrations with our lending partners, we’ll be able to drive valuable insights into the portfolios of our clients and help them make more money. We believe this cycle will continue to feed itself on both lender adoption and client engagement for many years to come. 

As the Lev platform handles transactions, our ability to serve more customers more quickly with better products and experience increases.

The Next Chapter of Lev

As I mentioned at the top, we are focused on bringing on the most incredible engineering, product and capital markets talent to the team at Lev. If you’ve worked on technologies around real-time pricing for capital markets or real estate, underwriting engines, digital transaction closings or complex marketplaces, we’d love to speak with you. 

Finally, I want to express my appreciation once again, to all of you. Our partners, customers, team, investors — thank you. I also want to make a special mention about three members of our team: Sammy Greenwall, my cofounder and friend who puts his heart into making himself and the company better every single day, Avi Goldberg, my Dispatch cofounder-turned-mentor and closest friend, who has taught me so much, looked out for me always and helps me improve in every conversation, and my life cofounder, my incredible wife, Dassi.

If you’d like to be kept up to date on what we’re up to, please connect on LinkedIn and subscribe to email updates here. If you think you can help us build, apply for a role here or message/email me directly. 

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