Work / Syndication Deals

Syndication Deals

Building a marketplace that connects real estate investors with investment opportunities.

With Syndication Deals, we set out to streamline the way real estate syndicators raised capital from private investors in a world where platforms are dated, cumbersome, and have high barriers to entry that disqualify the majority of syndicators (leaving them to establish their own capital raising systems from ground up).

I was the lead researcher, product designer, and developer for this project, collaborating with design, marketing, and engineering support.

 Visit / Syndication Deals

Syndication Deals' Deal page where investors can learn about the opportunity and place a soft commitment

Purpose

Our goal is to create a marketplace that democratizes raising capital for real estate investments.

When it comes to investing in real estate, there are various ways to get started—you could buy an apartment building and manage it yourself, or you could participate in a real estate syndication as a passive investor.

A syndicator is someone who sources and structures these investment opportunities for passive investors to participate in—they find the deals, market them, raise capital, and once the deal is closed, execute on the business plan and distribute profits back to the investors.

Using Syndication Deals, people who raise capital (syndicators) from private investors in order to buy real estate could create beautiful marketing materials for their offerings and begin raising capital in minutes instead of weeks.

It also allows real estate investors to browse through deals, place soft capital commitments, and partner with syndicators on those deals.

SkillS used for This Project
  • Project Planning
  • User Research / Competitive Analysis
  • Design Direction (Branding / UX & UI Design)
  • Front-end / Low-code Development
  • Marketing Automation

Process

After conducting 200+ interviews, we crafted our brand identity, UX/UI design, and built this platform using a stack of no-code tools—going from idea to a functional prototype in just under four months.

1. Discovery, Research & Interviews

We interviewed two hundred real estate syndicators on LinkedIn and video calls to learn about challenges they faced when raising capital to purchase real estate.

Interviews, along with competitive research, allowed me to find all of the platforms in existence that let syndicators to promote their real estate investments online.

I've uncovered the various limitations that currently exist in the niche:

  1. As a syndicator, you have to have $100MM in Assets Under Management (AUM) to be considered, which disqualified beginners.
  2. As a syndicator, you had to wait at least 30 days for your deal to get posted while it underwent committee reviews. Many transactions only allow a 60-day period to raise capital, with a non-refundable deposit at stake.
  3. As a syndicator, you ran into cumbersome, poorly-designed experiences that produced less-than-attractive deal presentations. As well as allowance for only one active offering at a time.

Our thesis was to see if a design-centric syndicator and investor real estate marketplace experience would encourage more investment transactions, resulting in more deals closing, faster.

We created the following personas for our project:

Investor Persona

Syndicator Persona

2. Brand Identity Design

To brand our effort, we created the name, Syndication Deals, based on verbiage that would be instantly recognizable in the space, as well as the name's .com availability. Right away, real estate investors and syndicators would know what the platform is about.

The color treatment as well as the font choices were borrowed from The Digital Collective's visual identity, as a way to promote and give homage to its creators.

Color Palette

The wide variety of colors allows us to communicate a wider gamut of messages to our users, utilizing a neutral palette with a variety of accent colors used for utility.

Syndication Deals color palette

Font Pairing

We liked Montserrat for this project for it's low profile, high-contrast, modern design. This open source font provides geometric variance that makes it interesting while keeping it super readable, and is inspired by urban development.

Headings: Montserrat Bold

Body Copy: Montserrat Medium

Logo Design Process

For the logo design process, I collaborated with a designer who was a previous student of mine, Sam Novak .

We underwent a couple of rounds of iteration for the logo, looking to create an icon that depicted "real estate", was simple yet elegant, and scaled well.

Our logo design process, undergoing several iterations

The Final Design

All of our logo ideas, reduced to just the essence.

The icon cleverly spells out an abbreviated version of the platform's name, including the "C" from .com—SDC. The negative space created from the "C" is an accent mark that could be colored in for effect.

The logo icon is geometric, and looks great at all sizes.

The full Syndication Deals logo

Mathematically-perfect logo design

The logo works very well large and small

3. Planning & UX Design to Outline the MVP

With our branding in place, we then set out to create a functional prototype of a lightweight tool that allows syndicators to simply create beautiful real estate deal presentations, while offering investors the most frictionless experience in participating in those investment opportunities.

We created a list of requirements for this initial launch and mapped out the sitemap, userflow, and wireframes for each page.

Sitemap

A high-level sitemap of the Syndication Deals minimum viable product (MVP)

Userflow

The complete userflow of the Syndication Deals platform

Wireframes

A closeup of some of the wireframes from the web app, particularly the Syndicator Profile, Create a Deal, and Deal pages:

Sample wireframes of the Syndicator Profile, Create a Deal, and Deal pages

3. UI Design & Development

For the User Interface design, we wanted to create a layout that feels high-end, given that most of these real estate investments start at $50,000. It was important that the design of the interface builds trust.

Below are production-level designs for the Syndicator Profile, Create a Deal, and Deal Presentation pages:

Syndicator Profile Page

A Syndicator Profile page serves as the central hub for the company page. Within, investors will find a description of the firm, their list of investments, as well as a way to subscribe to receive the syndicator's email updates.

Based on user feedback, every profile page includes sections that describe how the investment process works, as well the benefits of investing passively in real estate.

Production-level interface design of the Syndicator Profile page

Create a Deal Page

This is the experience that allows syndicators to quickly post their deals for investors to see. The data collected here should be readily available to any organized syndicator raising capital for real estate, allowing them to post their deal in just minutes.

Production-level interface design of the Create a Deal page

A video walkthrough of the Create a Deal experience:

Create a Deal in minutes instead of weeks

Deal Presentation Page

The data collected from the syndicator when creating a deal is displayed here for investors in an easily-consumable way.

Throughout the page are calls-to-action inviting investors to place a soft commitment, which introduces the investor to the syndicator and let's the syndicator know how much the investor is thinking about investing in this deal.

Production-level interface design of the Deal page

A video walkthrough of the Deal Page experience:

Body Copy: Montserrat Medium

Walkthrough of the live version of the Deal page

After laying out the userflows, wireframes, and individual page designs for the web app, we used a no-code stack of tools to create a functional prototype—a minimum viable product (MVP).

No-code tool stack used to build out the prototype:

A visual database that stores every data point for our app

A design tool perfect for front-end designers and no-code projects

Gives no-code web apps sign-up and log-in functionality

Allows no-code app builders to create API automation flows between platforms

Leveraging these platforms allowed us to go from sitemaps to launch in just under two months, and is a great way to test an idea without investing many resources.

Deal page investment summary and Google Maps cards

Various production-level interfaces from the web app, desktop view

Outcome

We invited a group of early adopters to list their real estate deal with us to observe their progress and gathering feedback to drive future iterations.

After building the functional prototype and conducting user testing, my findings validated that the Syndication Deals marketplace was best-suited for these two sets of users:

  1. Beginner real estate syndicators who didn't have a website and were looking for a quick way to get started raising capital
  2. Experienced real estate syndicators with an existing online presence who were looking to tap into a new pool of investors

To make a product successful in the passive real estate investment market, it must offer more than an investor-first experience, but also a simple, yet robust back-end experience for syndicators to manage their investors and their deals.

Because the tasks of managing a deal and its investors warrants its own platform, our sole focus with this experiment was to build out a prototype for the investor-facing, marketing experience for raising capital.

Moving forward, our plan is to partner with an existing investor portal platform that handles the management of real estate deals and their investors, while supporting them on the marketing front-end.

Until we're able to build out the full suite of tools, Syndication Deals offers the simplest, most cost-effective way to set up a beautiful deal presentation and get started raising capital from private investors to purchase real estate.

 Visit / Syndication Deals

A simple 3-step process for getting your real estate investments opportunities in front of investors

A link to the case study about creating a marketplace to connect investors with real estate deals.

Syndication Deals was built to make raising capital to purchase real estate easy and straightforward

"I can't wait! This will save me so much time on pitch decks!"

Emma Powell / Highrise Group

"Just made a quick offering. Love the flow."

John Cohen / Toro Real Estate Partners

"Looks great! Really appreciate the UI/flow of it. I look forward to seeing what's in store for this."

Dylan Marma / The Requity Group

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