A talented drummer who toured with a percussion band in high school and college, Nav Athwal ’10 has a keen sense of timing. Exhibit A: the meteoric success of RealtyShares.
His unique company—which connects investors with real estate developers seeking capital—pooled more than $90 million last year. Valedictorian of his Berkeley Law class, Athwal spent 3½ years practicing real estate law before launching the novel online platform in December 2013.
“Historically, people interested in real estate investments could buy property outright or pound the pavement seeking partners,” he says. “Both required lots of time and money. This model brings deals right to investors and lets them decide how much to allocate.”
In minutes, participants can create free accounts online, browse offerings, and invest as little as $5,000 in properties that have hold periods from six months to 10 years. RealtyShares posts only 5 percent of the proposals that developers submit.
“Our underwriting and review process is very thorough, and we never work with first-time developers,” says Athwal, who lectures periodically at Berkeley Law. “There’s a growing appetite for this platform, and we’re making it worthwhile for both sides.”