Bill Lanting: Everything Old is New Again

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In my admittedly-biased opinion, I believe that the nascent crowdfunding industry represents the most compelling innovation in commercial real estate capital formation since the real estate syndication heydays of the 1980s. I also believe that RealtyShares can emerge as the leading provider of crowdfunded investment capital for real estate transactions in the United States. Let me tell you potentially why….

At RealtyShares, we offer access to institutional-quality commercial real estate investment to individual investors for whom such access would otherwise be limited. Fortunately, this time around, investors are lining up to participate for the right reasons — current income, capital appreciation, or both — instead of the value-warping allure of tax sheltering motivations.  That is what convinced me to hitch my wagon with the RealtyShares team. I wanted to be part of this seismic shift that is taking place in commercial real estate investment and finance. In fact, I don’t think that we have even scratched the surface of what this industry can do, and be.

The Benefit of Perspective

Growing up as the son of a real estate broker and developer in Southern California, real estate has been a part of my DNA since a very early age. If I wanted to spend any quality father-and-son time with Dad, that meant riding along with him on a Saturday, looking at properties from Ventura to San Clemente. So, it came as a surprise to absolutely nobody when I embarked on a career in real estate immediately following graduation from USC in 1983. I started this ride with Lehman Brothers, Kuhn Loeb (in the good, pre-Shearson Lehman days), where I learned the real estate syndication business.

In 1990, I launched a $50 million hotel investment fund which was designed to capitalize upon the fallout in the hotel industry caused by the Tax Act of 1986, the over-building of the late 1980’s, and the Savings & Loan crisis.

Over the next decade, I also punched a few corporate tickets, first joining Radisson Hotels as their Vice President of Development for the Western United States and, later, serving at Wyndham Hotels in a similar capacity. Most recently I worked at Partners Capital, where I oversaw that firm’s lending operation, originating senior bridge debt. While there, I helped raise a $100 million dedicated, discretionary bridge debt funding allocation from an institutional investor, and deployed that capital in short-term bridge loans, secured by commercial real estate throughout the Western United States.

So, why did I join RealtyShares?

So, back to my original point…. Having spectated from a front-row seat through no less than four significant economic/real estate cycles, it has become a bit easier for me to handicap the field of current contenders. Through the goggles of that multiple-cycle perspective, I see a clear path for RealtyShares leading to potential industry dominance.

At RealtyShares we have a very clear view of where this industry is headed, and where we should be positioned in order to possibly capitalize upon all that this industry segment has to offer. For example, in alignment with our stated objective of offering a full-spectrum capital stack solution to borrowers and the loan brokerage community, we are to soon implement a plan for constructing a solid foundation of institutional debt capital to pair with our crowdfunded capital in order to provide speed, accuracy and general excellence in execution of capital funding. Furthermore, we plan to integrate the efforts of the CRE Debt Team with company efforts that are focused upon equity procurement in order to offer the broadest range of capital solutions to borrowers.

  • Bill Lanting is the Vice President of Commercial Debt Originations for RealtyShares.