Washington, D.C.-based mogul club, a real-estate investment startup founded by former Goldman Sachs executives, has raised $3.6 million in a seed round led by AY Ventures, according to Crunchbase.
The seed round was upsized four times due to overwhelming investor interest, mogul said. Other participants included Tim Draper & Associates, Draper B1, South Korea’s InterVest, Draper Dragon, New York’s Blizzard Fund, and several notable angel investors, including former US Treasurer Rosa Rios and executives from Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Carlyle. So far, mogul club has raised $4.2 million.
Former Goldman executives Alex Blackwood and Joey Gumataotao co-founded mogul club last year, after years of invaluable experience in real estate investment, starting in their college days. Blackwood, who serves as the startup’s CEO, graduated from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, while Gumataotao earned a degree in Economics from Harvard. Both briefly dabbled with high-level sports — Blackwood in rowing, making a bid to qualify for the Henley Royal Regatta in England, and Gumataotao took a gap year to try the professional tennis circuit in Europe, before settling into business.
Some investors in the company are “many of the same early investors in companies such as Robinhood, SpaceX, Tesla, [and] Skype, Blackwood said in a blog post, adding that it was “a testament to mogul club’s innovative approach to real estate investing with institutional levels of mastery and diligence.” The company’s leadership team includes executives from top tech, finance and real estate firms, such as Goldman, Google, Capital One and Lockheed Martin.
‘More Rigorous Than Goldman’
At Goldman, the two co-founders helped the richest of the rich — the “top 0.0001%” of the population — invest billions in real estate. Spending 100-hour work weeks left the duo little personal time, during which they “tirelessly searched for a low-touch way to deploy our own capital into real estate.” But, the two said, “we found nothing. So, we built a solution, we used it, we loved it. Now we’re bringing it to you.”
So how does mogul club work?
It is an investment platform that accepts anything from $1 upwards for fractional ownership, and maintains transactions on a blockchain. Blackwood told TechCrunch that properties on its platform go through “the same level of rigorous diligence and underwriting as institutional-level investors,” with the company accepting less than 1% of the assets it evaluates. “The information available per property is even more information than we would provide when going through the Investment Committee at Goldman Sachs,” he said. The startup charges fees of about 3%, depending on several factors.
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“They focus on making it really easy for the individual to buy real estate securely, keep perfect records, to pay their taxes and get the tax refunds — so it works for everybody,” Draper, who called the startup “somewhat of a standout,” told TechCrunch.
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Back to Real Estate
For centuries, real estate has been the most prominent tool for wealth generation, but most people have been pushed to the sidelines by “bidding wars, interest rate hikes and seismic shifts in home-buying demand,” Blackwood contends. Real estate has beaten returns from S&P 500 and other indices consistently for decades, he added. During 1993-2023, investment in single family rentals, for example, returned 39%, compared with S&P 500’s 9.9%. Since its beta launch in April, mogul claims a 20-26% projected internal rate of return or annualized return) across real-estate properties.
Blackwood is setting aggressive year-end targets for the startup. He wants to quadruple single-family rental assets on the platform to $10 million, from the present $2.5 million.