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re colloquium

ICF Real Estate Colloquium: Democratizing Commercial Real Estate Investing through PropTech

On March 1st, 2023, the ICF hosted its first Real Estate Colloquium at Evans Hall.

Commercial real estate (CRE) is the largest alternative asset class in the U.S., valued at $32.8 trillion, and $4.7 trillion in investable stock as of 2020Q3. At the same time, CRE is difficult to diversity across geography and verticals (multi-family, commercial office, retail, industrials, healthcare) without relying on traditional investment vehicles like real estate investment trusts. What role can fintech play in democratizing access to commercial real estate and improving the liquidity of this important asset class? How has ongoing repositioning of the real estate sector after the COVID-19 crisis changed the needs of prospective investors and deal sponsors?

In this lunch conversation, Darren Powderly, Co-Founder of CrowdStreet, shared his views on these questions and the role of new technology platforms like CrowdStreet in unlocking capital from accredited investors -- including large institutions and beyond. The conversation and Q&A with Darren was moderated by ICF Advisory Board Member Francis Lively (’15 MBA), CEO & President of The LCP Group, which specializes in both private and public debt and equity transactions with $1 billion in current assets under management.

About CrowdStreet
CrowdStreet is a provider of online commercial real estate investment offerings and technology, connecting investors with sponsors engaged in CRE deals across the U.S. Its platform gives more than 100,000 investors direct access to a broad range of institutional quality assets to diversify their portfolios. CrowdStreet’s members invest anywhere from the minimum of $25,000 to multimillion-dollar contributions to collectively fund property sales and financing. As of December 30, 2022, investors have invested over $3.9 billion towards more than 732 projects.

Darren Powderly Bio
Darren Powderly founded CrowdStreet in 2012 after identifying the need to radically improve people’s access to commercial real estate investments via technology. Since day one, he has overseen the steady growth of the company along with his team, with a specific focus on Capital Markets and Strategic Partnerships. Over his 20+ year career, Darren has transacted billions of dollars worth of commercial real estate investments and enterprise software contracts.

Darren is a driven leader who loves building relationships based on mutual success. In addition to building businesses, leading teams, and advising a prestigious list of national clients, Darren has personally owned commercial real estate, syndicated investment groups, and developed properties from the ground up.

Before founding CrowdStreet, Darren served as President of Compass Commercial, a full-service commercial real estate services company. Darren launched his career in software at Oracle/ATG in San Francisco, where he managed 17 salespeople while performing as an individual top producer. An entrepreneur at heart, Darren started his first profitable business at 19 years old in Boulder, CO.

Darren is a graduate of the Leeds Business School at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a CCIM designee, a recognized expert in investment real estate. Darren is a full member of the Urban Land Institute.

Francis Lively Bio
Francis Lively is the Chief Executive Officer and President of The LCP Group, L.P. (LCP). He is responsible for the execution of LCP’s investment strategies and oversees all aspects of business development, operations, and management of the firm’s diverse portfolio of real estate investments throughout the United States, including key sectors such as hospitality, multi-family, residential, single tenant net leased properties, value-add office properties, and land investments. Mr. Lively also oversees LCP’s institutional capital relationships and its EB-5 program that raises capital from foreign investors to finance job-creating development projects in the United States.

Prior to LCP, Mr. Lively served as Vice President and Counsel at Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) where he led the restructuring and partial disposition of a $5 billion commercial real estate loan portfolio and structured approximately $1 billion in commercial real estate loan originations. Before LBBW, Mr. Lively practiced law at Shearman & Sterling LLP where he advised on complex commercial real estate transactions. Mr. Lively has been involved with structuring the financing of several marquee properties including Chelsea Market, Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, Trump International Hotel Las Vegas, Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, John Hancock Center (Chicago), and 230 Park Avenue New York.

Mr. Lively is the Chair of the Yale Alumni Real Estate Association’s annual conference sponsored by the Yale International Center for Finance. Further, he is an alumni class representative at Yale School of Management and Fordham Preparatory School. Mr. Lively also started LCP’s student sponsorship program at Cristo Rey High School in New York City.

Mr. Lively has a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, an M.B.A. from Yale School of Management, and a B.A. from Georgetown University.