What was once a fractured and complicated process to organize and raise capital for real estate syndicators and investment firms (also known as the sponsors) is now an end-to-end platform to manage investments with InvestNext.
Using Dwolla as its account-to-account payment solution, InvestNext offers its end users the ability to fund investments or receive distributions with high transaction limits via an ACH payment API.
“In the investment space, payments are moving toward ACH because of the convenience factor and more importantly, the increased level of security,” says InvestNext Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer Matthew Attou. ACH transfers are more secure than wire transfers, which eliminate irreversible consequences and help InvestNext issue a safe portal that prevents fraudulent activity. “Our users are seeing the value in using ACH payments.”
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Frictionless Investing with ACH
InvestNext provides sponsors and those looking to raise capital a white label experience for their investors. The platform also automates reporting, investor distributions, compliance and other facets of the sponsor’s investment back office. Within a few years of InvestNext’s partnership with Dwolla, more than $4.4 billion has moved through the platform.
The platform attracts sponsors from across the United States and various regions overseas by providing one workspace—and one seamless payments experience—to manage the entire lifecycle of a real estate investment. From attracting investors and signing documents to collecting and disbursing payments, users can do it all with InvestNext.
With the implementation of InvestNext’s Secure ACH inbound funding built using Dwolla’s ACH payment API, sponsors are able to collect digital payments from investors through the InvestNext platform, in the US region.
“Payment collection with Dwolla, coupled with Plaid, reduces a ton of friction for our clients. It makes the investing process for investors much quicker,” Attou says.
Prior to implementing ACH, investors were presented with wire instructions. From there, the investor had to go to their bank and wire money to the sponsor. The sponsor would then have to look at bank statements and reconcile numerous transactions. Mailing a check is still an option, but checks can be slow and subject to fraud.
“We have gotten the funding process down from days to minutes. Secure ACH funding has allowed us to avoid using slow checks and wire transfers.” Attou says.
“It’s a huge convenience factor for busy investors, and it’s important for the sponsor who’s raising capital to get that money as soon as possible. By using Same Day ACH to receive these payments from investors, there is a huge value-add.”
Since the addition of Same Day ACH in February 2021, InvestNext has seen an 847% increase in transaction volume and a 506% increase in the number of transactions completed year over year on the platform.
“After some feedback from clients for faster payments, we added Same Day ACH. It was a quick win. We just had to switch it on. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback with the faster options.”
Once all of the funds for a project are raised and the property or fund is generating revenue, it’s time to pay investors.
“With just a few clicks,” ACH payments are sent to investors based on timing parameters established by the sponsor. Using InvestNext means no more manual calculations. The platform automates complex waterfall distributions, saving investment firms time and resources.
With the help of Dwolla’s webhooks, sponsors are able to check the status of payments within the platform. Instead of reaching out to InvestNext with questions about the status of investors’ payments, sponsors can answer those questions themselves.
“With webhook notifications, the level of transparency that we are able to share with our clients and their investors is huge. They know when the money is landing in their account. That’s a huge value-add, instead of reaching out to our customer support, it’s all right there in their dashboard,” Attou says.
‘Unmatched’ Customer Support
Customer service, scalability, pricing, product team communications and a supportive API were among the reasons InvestNext initially chose and has stayed with Dwolla as its account-to-account payments solution.
“When we have questions or issues come up we get a response within minutes. That level of support is invaluable, as it makes us look good. That experience is crucial,” Attou says. “And your pricing model is a scalable solution that meets our business needs.”
With payments being “a huge part” of the InvestNext platform, Attou says his team talks with Dwolla frequently about their product needs and future plans. When implementing Secure ACH inbound funding in 2021, InvestNext worked cross-functionally with Dwolla team members to talk contracts, implementation support, working in the sandbox and getting API keys.
Democratizing Real Estate Investing
The fact that InvestNext was founded in Detroit, Michigan, is central to the mission—and future goals—of the company.
“Our mission is to democratize real estate investing and empower investors to make a meaningful impact on the communities they invest in,” Attou says. “I really look at Detroit as a comeback city, and that’s where I fell in love with this mission. We are really excited to be working with some amazing institutional customers and witnessing how they are pushing the envelope on our platform. What is also really exciting is that we have been able to open up InvestNext to the smaller sponsors, to the mom and pops, and to those who’ve in some cases never raised capital before—it’s super powerful. We’re really looking forward to the day that real estate investing becomes easier and more inclusive.”
InvestNext is exploring how to open the platform to international investors and wants to create a feature on its platform that allows potential investors to search the site for investment opportunities close to home.
With Dwolla as the backbone of its payments infrastructure, InvestNext can continue to delight both real estate sponsors and their investors with a seamless payments experience.
“Dwolla is continuing to evolve and build out its products based on feedback and customer needs,” Attou says. “You’re not stale, you are continually moving forward and doing a great job in the market. Having you as part of our platform provides credibility.”