Point — an 11-month-old, Palo Alto-based home equity marketplace that plans to take people’s homes and make them completely liquid, divisible and tradable by letting owners sell fractional equity in them — is raising funding, shows a new SEC filing.
It’s a fascinating concept that we think has only been tried in the past with vacation rentals by high-end developers, including Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton.
Point was co-founded by Eddie Lim, who co-founded the e-commerce payment platform TrialPay, which Visa acquired in 2013 for undisclosed terms.
Don’t be surprised to see Andreessen Horowitz lead or participate in this round. In August, the Sand Hill Road firm brought aboard another TrialPay co-founder (and Lim’s fellow Harvard classmate), Alex Rampell, as a general partner to focus on financial tech startups.
In an interview with the New York Times about his then-new post, Rampell said he viewed banking and insurance as “ripe for disruption.”
Rampell also said he spied untapped opportunities in new asset classes, citing a future where people sell equity stakes in their homes. “Why not sell a portion of your home?” he asked Times reporter Steve Lohr.
Interestingly, the interview attracted the attention of one savvy commenter, who wrote at the site:
Fintech is going to be super active in the years to come. And I’m sure Rampell and [Andreesen Horowitz] are smart enough not to really reveal their idea. But the idea that investors would buy an equity stake in a private residence without making it a mortgage loan . . . bears a lot of close examination, as anybody involved in the business of equity, loans and collateral will quickly see.
Is this just inert capital?
As an owner of the equity do you have a say, in, for example, renovations and upkeep?
Can they fire the management/resident minority (10-15%) shareholder?
Not saying there isn’t something here — there is. [I]magine the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund investing in a 10% equity stake of all the houses in a 10-city block area in a blighted neighborhood in, say, Detroit, and then leveraging that investment to improve the value of the entire neighborhood . . . Just sorry that Steve Lohr didn’t know to take the opportunity to probe a little.
We’re very interested in learning more, too. In fact, we’ve reached out to both Lim and Rampell for more details on this Thanksgiving eve and hope to have the full story for you soon.