“Commercial real estate is one of the biggest industries on the planet and has kind of completely resisted the fintech revolution that has taken over virtually every other industry over the past decade,” Zar said. “We’ve been lucky to have the right team, to build the right products in a massive industry, and that’s what drives our continued growth. We are honored to have the world’s best investors, as well as leading financial, real estate and banking institutions helping us drive the development and adoption of our industry-defining technologies.
The new funding will allow Lev to continue to improve its product offerings, recruit top talent across all departments, and double down on research and development for its end-to-end market and lending experiences, Zar explained. “We’re in constant hiring mode,” Zar added, noting in particular the need for talent in the product engineering team in the wake of the new funding.
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The new funding comes amid a period of rapid growth. In 2021, the company closed nearly $1 billion in CRE mortgages, growing 10x year-over-year thanks to its reinvented approach to CRE financing, Zar noted. Lev’s growth over the past year has placed it among the top 100 CRE loan originators in only its second year of existence.
In many ways, the wave of technology we are witnessing accelerated during the height of the pandemic to circumvent an inability of people to come together to avoid infection. This technology push has opened up opportunities for companies like Lev to improve customer offerings.
“I think everyone is getting more used to doing more online,” Zar said. “Things that were new are now pretty standard. I think people are getting more and more comfortable with doing business online – how to use Zoom, e-signatures, etc. We are in a unique state where the market is increasingly embracing technology, and we are leading the way in commercial real estate.”
Gilles Gade, Founder, President and CEO of Cross River, agreed with the assessment: “Yaakov and his team have introduced technology to disrupt the last bastion of traditional lending that is resisting the wave of innovation” , he said in a prepared statement. “We have worked closely with Lev since our initial investment and are confident that they will continue to revolutionize CREF’s value chain and the way borrowers and lenders interact.”
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Nate Levin, Managing Director of Parker89, also saw the tech wave come to a head: “Having witnessed the increasing digitalization of the residential mortgage lending process over the past few years, we believe commercial lending will undergo a similar evolution,” he said in a prepared statement. statement. “Yaakov and Lev’s team are leading this charge, and we couldn’t be more excited to partner with them as they continue to reinvent the process.”
Not that some old-school methods don’t need a little coaxing into the 21st century: “There are definitely scenarios where we need to hold our customers’ hands a little more than others. “, said Zar. “In most cases, we were able to create intuitive tools. We’ve built technology that’s really about enabling the borrower to engage with us the way they want. So if they still want to fax a document, send an email, or interact with us the way they want, we can accommodate them. But for those who want to engage more digitally, we have that experience as well.
Founded in 2019, New York-based Lev grew 10x year-over-year, according to corporate literature. Company officials attribute much of this growth to a proprietary approach to CRE funding, including the industry’s only Application Programming Interface (API), a software intermediary that allows two applications to communicate with each other.