Local tech founder wants to attract real estate investment for ordinary people



Startups like Robinhood and Tradestation have become major – and sometimes controversial – players in the financial world, offering commission-free stock trading available to almost anyone looking to download the app.

Calvin Cooper, co-founder and CEO of Columbus-based startup Rhove, believes the same should be happening in real estate.

“Financial populism is happening in other markets – such as cryptocurrency and public stocks – and they are much less relevant to the average person than real estate,” he says. “People understand the value of owning real estate … we just need to lower the barrier to entry.”

His company has been focused on achieving this goal for the past two years, starting with tenant incentive program at the Gravity development in Franklinton, which was eventually expanded to other properties. Then, last summer, Gravity residents were offered a stake in the building through Rhove’s Rentership program.

(Brett Kaufman, founder and CEO of Gravity Developer Kaufman Development, is the co-founder of Rhove).

Cooper describes this program as a proof-of-concept for the company’s latest initiative, Rhove Invest, an app that allows users to view and select projects to invest across the country, without the minimum account or income requirements that are the norm in real estate investment (for certification “accredited investor“).

The app can be downloaded now, but users won’t be able to actually invest until the official launch, which Cooper said should happen before the end of the year. Once the platform is launched, investors will be able to choose between what promises to be a fairly wide range of projects – for example, the appendix currently lists several large new residential developments in Colorado, a joint project in South Carolina and Cafe Third Way in Columbus.

Cooper’s background is in finance and venture capital, but he insists that it was his tenant experience that influenced his journey to Moove the most.

“I wanted this product for myself, to own part of the house in which I lived,” he says. “Just because I was a renter didn’t mean that I couldn’t be involved in creating value in our cities.”

“Until now, people have had to watch how cranes are raised in our cities, and they cannot participate in the assessment of the value … [and] Millennials have no net income from real estate, ”he adds. “Just walk around Downtown, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know where the money is made, a millionaire is enough.”

Cooper is optimistic about the Columbus economy and its growth potential, sharing his view that the region will indeed exceed widely cited assessment from Insight2050 Initiative and finally add more over a million people by 2050.

“For real estate prices, this means that they rise every time there is economic growth in the city. I am firmly convinced that the housing crisis that followed economic growth is a role for ourselves; we have to embrace the YIMBY ethic, ”he says, referring to the“ Yes, in my backyard ”movement, which advocates increased housing construction everywhere, but especially in existing areas. “More housing for more people – we should not artificially limit ourselves to resolving the housing crisis, because people are afraid of change.”

Cooper believes the new Rhove app could help build the YIMBY coalition by giving non-homeowners a direct stake in local projects. He also believes it can help address what he recognizes is a legitimate concern for fairness, both by bringing more people into a world that is now exclusive and by sharing benefits when the price of real estate grows in urban areas.

It remains to be seen what impact the new platform will have, or whether the reality of crowdsourced real estate investment will justify the lofty rhetoric. However, Cooper says that interest in the platform – from both developers and potential investors – has been strong, and he is not backing out on bold statements about how it will disrupt the real estate industry in Columbus and around the world. country.

“The missing component of the YIMBY movement is property,” he says. “Imagine that YIMBY succeeds and meets demand, and we have multifamily and single-family housing at any price to suit everyone’s needs; you will still have a scenario where most people own nothing, and we can solve this problem. “

For more information visit rhove.com

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Brent Warren

Brent Warren is a staff reporter for the Columbus Underground covering urban development, transportation, urban planning, neighborhoods, and other related topics. He grew up in Grandview Heights, lives in the university district, and studied urban and regional planning at OSU.


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