SmartCrowd, the property investment and technology platform, has grown by 400% and returned over a million dirhams in dividends to its community of investors since being regulated by the DFSA. The homegrown business was founded in the UAE and was one of the first businesses to graduate from the DFSA regulatory sandbox. Following its full licensing and regulation in November 2019, the company has rapidly expanded, and now has offices in Abu Dhabi ADGM and Dubai’s DIFC FinTech Hive.
SmartCrowd’s CEO and Co-founder, Siddiq Farid, attributes the company’s success so far to the underlying business model, a first-of-its-kind to the region and one which provides access to income-generating property investments from as little as 5000 dirhams.
Siddiq Farid, CEO and Co-founder of SmartCrowd, said: “For many people, not just in the UAE but across the world, the thought of investing into property is a far-fetched dream. Traditionally, it requires either large amounts of cash or taking on debt like mortgages. SmartCrowd opens the door for people to become investors and empowers them with the opportunity to benefit from the healthy returns of real estate investment.”
SmartCrowd’s model involves some simple steps. Coupled with a team of qualified financial analysts, the business uses a 100-point proprietary screening tool and independent data to assess the most attractive properties for investment, before listing on the platform. Properties are listed on the platform for 30-days, with investors given the opportunity to invest until 100% of the property value is reached. The property is then divided into shares (via a Special Purpose Vehicle or SPV incorporated in the DIFC), which is allocated proportionally dependent on the size of investment. Investors then benefit from rental income on the property and can look to sell their shares whenever the investor wants to exit (like any property investment, the value can go up or down).
This easy-to-understand model, with the opportunity to diversify and invest in multiple properties, has attracted a flourishing community. SmartCrowd has grown its team of financial and real estate experts, tech developers and a robust compliance team to meet the needs of its thriving customer base, ensuring a seamless, trusted and secure platform experience. Demand from new customers is high, while there is strong reinvestment amongst existing investors with over 60% of those who invest once, choosing to do so again.
Farid, continued: “We’ve grown organically so far, with our customers passing on recommendations to their friends and family. They are seeing the benefits of strong dividend payments in the form of rental yields, which are on average around 7% per year. We’re really proud that the majority of people who invest once, come back and reinvest.”
Currently, there are a selection of real estate investment choices on SmartCrowd, including impressive offerings from highly reputed brokers and developers. Ellington Properties, Lootah Real Estate Development, Driven Properties and Select Group, have been working closely with SmartCrowd to list the right types of property to suit the investment model. SmartCrowd has also partnered with specialist property managers AirDXB to maximise rental opportunities in the holiday home segment within its portfolio.
To date, SmartCrowd has provided investment opportunities in Dubai Downtown, Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, Jumeirah Village Circle, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Remraam, Dubai Silicon Oasis and many more.
Following its success across the UAE, the business is eyeing real estate opportunities internationally with leading brokers and developers. It is also looking to expand its physical presence across the region to cater to the growing SmartCrowd investment community.