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Bridging Gaps: How Crowdfunding Is Democratizing Real Estate Investment

In Today’s Episode, Eve Picker Shares How Small Change Is Opening Doors to Real Estate Investment for Everyone, Fostering Community Development and Inclusivity

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Devin: What is your superpower?

Eve: Probably my biggest superpower is ignoring people when they say, “No, you can't do this.” Actually, that probably gets me going. If someone says “no” to me, then I put blinders on, and I'm going to make it happen.

In today's episode of "Superpowers for Good," I had the pleasure of speaking with Eve Picker, the visionary Founder & CEO of Small Change. Eve shared some groundbreaking insights on how her platform is transforming real estate investment.

Eve's company is a beacon of innovation in the finance sector, leveraging crowdfunding to make real estate investment accessible to all. This model isn't just about raising funds; it's a robust approach to community building and social equity. "What I really love about this regulation," Eve explained, "is that it's the SEC's first attempt to democratize investment." Through Small Change, individuals from any background can invest in projects that reshape their own neighborhoods.

This democratic approach is crucial. Traditionally, real estate investment has been a bastion for the affluent, often inaccessible to the average person. Small Change disrupts this norm by empowering people from diverse backgrounds to have a stake in the development that affects them directly.

The impact of Eve's work extends beyond financial returns. It’s about creating inclusive communities and revitalizing areas that traditional developers might overlook. It’s also a testament to the power of innovative financial tools to create real, positive change in society.

As we wrapped up our conversation, it was clear that Eve’s dedication to democratizing investment is more than just business; it’s a passion for social impact. With leaders like Eve at the helm, the future of real estate investment is not only promising but inclusive.

Eve will be one of the distinguished participants in SuperCrowd24, a two-day virtual conference beginning tomorrow. This event is a dynamic assembly aimed at revolutionizing the way we think about crowdfunding and investment and Eve's involvement is particularly noteworthy. 

At SuperCrowd24, she will be engaging with other CEOs in a panel discussion, exploring the complexities and challenges faced by leaders in the crowdfunding sphere. Eve's insights, drawn from her extensive experience as a founder of a crowdfunding platform that emphasizes social impact in real estate, will undoubtedly highlight her commitment to innovation and democratizing investment opportunities. 

It's an event designed to empower attendees with knowledge and networking opportunities, making the complex world of crowdfunding more accessible and actionable. This is a pivotal moment for anyone interested in the intersection of real estate, social impact, and investment. Register now with the discount code SuperCrowd to save 50 percent!

AI Episode Summary

1. Devin Thorpe introduces Eve Picker, CEO and founder of Small Change, a crowdfunding portal for real estate projects with social impact.

2. Eve discusses recent expansion at Small Change, including the addition of five new partners from another real estate crowdfunding platform.

3. The short-term effect of this expansion is increased busyness and the need to align the new partners with Small Change's processes and compliance issues.

4. Long-term implications include the ability to handle more and larger listings and to take on a broader range of projects.

5. Small Change leverages Regulation Crowdfunding, which enables developers to raise capital from the public for projects with emphasis on democratizing investment.

6. The platform focuses on overlooked neighborhoods and developers, often unable to access capital through traditional means, by allowing them to raise money from people who care about their projects.

7. Small Change has a unique rubric to ensure that listed projects make some form of social impact, whether through the team, the neighborhood, the creation of public spaces, or environmental contributions.

8. Examples of diversity in projects include a developer helping his community buy neighborhood shopping centers and another who is purchasing and restoring great estates in the Berkshires.

9. Investing through Small Change offers possibilities of equity ownership or debt investment in real estate projects, but like any investment, it comes with inherent risks.

10. Devin and Eve discuss her determination and persistence, especially in the face of resistance, as her superpower that led to the creation of Small Change, aiming to disrupt the traditional system and to empower overlooked developers and communities.


How to Develop Persistence As a Superpower

In today's episode, I had the pleasure of chatting with Eve, a remarkable pioneer in real estate crowdfunding, about her superpower.  She articulates it with inspiring clarity as “persistence."

Eve's superpower of persistence is evident in her tenacious approach to overcoming barriers in the traditionally exclusive field of real estate investment. This resilience has not only propelled her career but also enabled her to create Small Change, which aims to democratize access to real estate funding. By refusing to accept 'no' as an answer and continuously pushing forward against adversity, Eve has innovated ways to support underserved developers and communities.

One illustrative story that Eve shared demonstrates this superpower vividly. As the only female commercial real estate developer in Pittsburgh for some time, she faced significant challenges, especially during the 2008 financial crisis. Unable to secure necessary funding due to restrictive traditional lending practices, Eve's real estate development practice was at risk. Her response was to create Small Change, inspired by the potential of the JOBS Act and Regulation Crowdfunding to change her fate and that of others facing similar hurdles.

To develop persistence as a personal strength, Eve suggests a methodical approach, breaking down large visions into manageable tasks. Key tips include:

1. **Envision the End Goal:** Start with a clear vision of what you aim to achieve.

2. **Break It Down:** Segment your vision into smaller, actionable parts to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

3. **Work Systematically:** Tackle each segment one at a time, ensuring thorough attention to detail and steady progress.

By following Eve's example and advice, you can make persistence a skill. With practice and effort, you could make it a superpower that enables you to do more good in the world.

Remember, however, that research into success suggests that building on your own superpowers is more important than creating new ones or overcoming weaknesses. You do you!

Guest Profile

Eve Picker (she/her):

Founder & CEO, Small

About Small Change (dot) co: has helped 49 developers raise $14.5 million for projects in 27 cities, big and small, across the United States. uses its proprietary Small Change Index™ to measure a broad array of factors to determine the project’s social impact with the goal of creating more affordable, more equitable and more innovative communities. To date, 62% of the deals funded via the Small Change platform have either a minority and/or female sponsor, and all of them score above 60% on the Small Change Index.  Additionally, 68% of the mixed-use or residential projects listed on the platform have included affordable housing, and almost 90% have been located in underserved communities.


Eve’s Podcast:

Biographical Information: Lover of cities. Architect. Urban Designer. Real estate developer. FinTech pioneer. Urban change agent.

I’m the founder of Small Change, a real estate equity crowdfunding platform. We raise funds for meaningful real estate projects building better cities everywhere. We match developers to investors, providing investment opportunities for everyone who cares about cities and wants to make change. All through a fluid and compliant technology platform.

My world has always been wrapped around cities and change. My background as an architect, city planner, urban designer, real estate developer, community development strategist, publisher, and all-around instigator gives me a rich understanding of how cities work, how urban neighborhoods can be revitalized, what policies are needed to do it, and the unique marketing that creates the buzz needed for regeneration.

Amongst my many urban (ad)ventures, I’ve developed a dozen buildings in blighted neighborhoods, founded a non-profit, cityLAB, built Pittsburgh’s first tiny house, organized a speaker series, launched a Pittsburgh e-zine called PopCity, and established downtown Pittsburgh’s first co-working space. I also co-founded Pittsburgh’s wildly successful Open Streets program and now host a weekly podcast series called RethinkRealEstateforGood.

Some honors I’m proud of include Small Change ranking as one of 7 top Real Estate Crowdfunding Platforms of 2020 by US News, nabbing Top Innovator in the “Capital” category by HIVE, my tenure as a Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center Residency Program and our recent participation in Village Capital’s FinHealth US 2021, an accelerator program for early-stage startups. Most recently, Connect CRE made me one of their National 2022 Women in Real Estate Awards winners.

All of these experiences have led me to become one of the foremost thinkers on urban change.


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Superpowers for Good
Superpowers for Good: Empowering Changemakers for Social Impact via Regulated Investment Crowdfunding from the SuperCrowd.
We host changemakers who are using regulated investment crowdfunding for social impact--impact crowdfunding--as impact investors or social entrepreneurs, catalyzing change with leadership skills we call superpowers.