Why NFX Invested in Lev: The Startup Rebuilding Commercial Real Estate Financing

Pete Flint · @peteflint · May 2022

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Why NFX Invested In Lev

Today, Lev announced its $70M Series B to rebuild commercial real estate financing with an additional $100M debt financing from Cross River’s Strategic Direct Lending Group. The new round brings Lev’s total funding to over $200 million.

In the last decade, we’ve seen many tech companies modernize and digitize residential real estate financing. Established public companies like RocketMortgage, Blend, and others have helped millions of homeowners find homes and mortgages, saving money along the way by digitizing processes that typically involve dozens of hours and manual paperwork from mortgage brokers, bankers, and others.

Unfortunately, this same efficiency and up-leveled user experience has yet to be brought to the enormous commercial real estate market, the second-largest asset class in the United States at more than $20.7 trillion – until now.

That’s why we’ve backed Lev since their initial Seed round a little over a year ago, and it’s been a rocketship since then. NFX is delighted to continue to partner with the ambitious and talented team at Lev, and alongside a terrific set of investors that includes many industry insiders: Parker89, Cross River Digital Ventures, Citi Ventures, Canaan Partners, JLL Spark, Capital One, StepStone Group and Animo Ventures.

Here are 3 reasons why we continue to be excited about Lev’s progress:

1. Consumerization of the Enterprise

While econ textbooks make a clear distinction between B2B and B2C, they fail to consider that enterprise customers are also consumers, people who are accustomed to a level of simplicity and user experience that many B2B products neglect.

With clunky UXs and a low level of automation, many enterprise products feel like they were designed decades ago and haven’t been updated since.

By contrast, Lev gives customers a well-designed, familiar experience that feels more like a consumer fintech product than a commercial broker platform.

There is an inevitability of digitization in many B2B companies that were once thought to be hold-outs or better served by humans.

It doesn’t mean that humans are completely eliminated in the process, but the modern leaders are typically software companies at their core and run software-defined processes, not human-defined ones.

2. Marketplaces Drive Efficiency For All Participants

At NFX, we believe in the power of marketplaces. We like that Lev creates a new marketplace that gives commercial real estate investors instant access to thousands of lenders, in minutes.

By letting users instantly compare the offers and rates of more than 5,000 lenders, they give their users a massive advantage over competitors.

By adding in a technology stack that speeds up the paperwork and approval process, Lev users can close quicker and at a much better rate.

We and the team at Lev believe there is a huge opportunity to build a uniquely valuable software platform that improves the experience for all, to help transform and evolve this massive industry.

3. Tremendous Market, Tremendous Need

At an estimated value of more than $20.7 trillion, commercial real estate is the second-largest asset class in the United States, only behind residential real estate.

Considering nearly every other major asset class has experienced tremendous productivity gains from the implementation of new technologies, there’s a huge opportunity for Lev to create a paradigm shift in how commercial real estate deals are done.

By increasing the efficiency of this market, Lev will drive significant savings across the industry from lenders, to buyers, and even down to small businesses leasing these properties.

The complexity of the commercial real estate transaction and the entire financing stack is intimidating to many, but for Lev it presents a major opportunity.

To learn more and use Lev’s commercial real estate financing platform, go to www.levcapital.com

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