Lev Raises $30M in Series A Round Led by Greenspring Associates
Tech-focused commercial real estate brokerage Lev has sealed a $30 million Series A round of funding led by investment firm Greenspring Associates, the company announced today. First American Title also participated in the financing, along with existing investors NFX, Canaan Partners, JLL Spark, Animo Ventures and Ludlow Ventures.
With Greenspring leading and First American rounding out the investor mix — with lenders, sponsors, an advisory firm, and a title insurance firm all investing in the platform — Lev now has the perfect industry backing to drive the customer experience forward, Yaakov Zar, founder of Lev, told Commercial Observer.
The Series A financing is one of the largest to-date in the commercial real estate finance sector, and comes hot on the heels of Lev’s well-received $10 million seed funding round in March.
In total, Lev has now raised $40 million and the platform’s valuation — less than two years after its founding — is $130 million, Zar said.
“Investors continue to see how broken the traditional commercial real estate transaction is, and COVID’s acceleration of digitizing transactions is having a big impact on people’s perception of what could evolve,” Zar said. “People also see the slow response of the incumbent players, and that we’ve been able to get great traction at Lev. Our customers are very happy with us — they all come back and refer us to their friends — and we’ve built an experience that’s really great. That’s the main driver of investor interest.”
Greenspring, a venture capital firm, has more than $17 billion in assets under management and makes direct investments into companies as well as funds managed by others. It recently announced its acquisition by private equity firm StepStone Group in a $725 million deal.
“We strongly believe that Lev is paving the way for the future of the industry by providing technology that not only makes transactions more efficient, but ensures that their customers get the best financing, with the best experience,” Hunter Somerville, a general partner at Greenspring Associates, said. “And Lev is doing all this while working with some of the largest, most established organizations in the industry. Their willingness and tenacity to truly make this industry better is a vision we not only believe will come to fruition, but one that will set the standard for CRE moving forward, and we’re excited to be a part of it.”
Lev was founded in September 2019, not long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit U.S. shores. The commercial real estate finance brokerage is powered by both human and artificial intelligence, and its technology only continues to evolve as time passes.
“We’re building a process now, where borrowers can get a term sheet for certain assets in 30 seconds and will be able to close a loan within a week,” Zar said.
The company is growing, too. Lev is now busy hiring additional professionals for its product and engineering team, as well as building out its sales and capital markets groups.
As such, the funds raised from this round will primarily be used to expand Lev’s team in its New York City headquarters, Miami research and development center, and Los Angeles outpost, as well as through remote positions.
Lev closed approximately $100 million of loans in its first year of business — during the pandemic — and is on track to close more than $1 billion in 2021.
“Since we started working with Lev, we’ve been repeatedly impressed with their deep knowledge of CREF and ability to execute on all types of complex transactions,” Steven Kachanian, a managing principal at Klosed Properties, said. “The expertise Lev’s team brings, combined with tools that help my team and I stay current on how our deal is progressing, makes it clear that they have envisioned and redefined the entire financing process, and then some.”