GE 209: How Jilliene Helman Raised $45M of Venture Capital and Built a Real Estate Crowdfunding Business (podcast) With Jilliene Helman

Jilliene Helman Headshot

Hey everyone, today I share the mic with Jilliene Helman, CEO of Realty Mogul who was included in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in 2015.

Tune in to hear Jilliene share how the JOBS Act inspired her to take the leap from her bank job to starting her own online investing company, her struggles of being a CEO, how she got their first 1,000 customers through Angel pitch competitions, and why she does a micronutrient test once every quarter.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How Jilliene Helman Raised $45M of Venture Capital and Built a Real Estate Crowdfunding Business TRANSCRIPT

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:37 – Leave a review and rating and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast
  • 00:56 – Eric welcomes Jilliene Helman, CEO of Realty Mogul, an online marketplace offering crowdfunding for real estate investing opportunities and she is included in the 2015 Forbes 30 Under 30 list
  • 01:23 – Jilliene always knew that she wanted to be an entrepreneur
  • 01:45 – Realty Mogul allows investors to do all their transactions online
  • 02:06 – Jilliene was working at the bank and her boss asked her to look into the Jobs Act that legalized crowdfunding for investments
  • 02:36 – Jilliene quit her job after a few months and started her own business
  • 02:54 – Jilliene says there is always an element of fear, but you just have to get over it
  • 03:27 – The company offers different types of transactions – for investors focused on income, they offer REAT or real estate investment trust
    • 03:45 – For REAT, they just declared their 9th consecutive 8% annualized distribution
  • 04:24 – The returns depend on how much risk the investors are willing to take
  • 04:35 – The company raised $45 million of venture capital which was used to operate their day-to-day business; for real estate, the investors gave $265 million with 110,000 registered investors on the platform
    • 05:10 – The worth of the $265 million investment in properties is a billion dollars and the return was $60 million dollars in capital
    • 05:21 – The goal is to quickly return the money back to investors so they have 0 principal loss
  • 05:51 – The company is not liquid and investors are in it for the long haul
  • 06:27 – Jilliene got their first thousand customers through press in blogs and pitch competitions
  • 07:05 – In terms of customer acquisition, the company does Google, Bing, Facebook, digital advertising, SEO and offline events
    • 07:30 – The goal with SEO is to educate the consumer about real estate and to drive SEO
  • 08:12 – What’s one big struggle you faced while growing the business? – Needing more time and money. Jilliene did not realize at first how long it would take and how much money she would need. They had to build the infrastructure and had to comply with the regulations
    • 09:06 – They learned to make tough decisions in different aspects of their business
  • 09:49 – Jilliene says you evolve as a CEO and the company has grown astronomically over the years
  • 10:22 – Personally, Jilliene grew as a CEO because she had to—as the company grew, she had to become more relaxed and trust people more
  • 11:43 – Jilliene loves learning from books and from others and believes that there is always room for improvement and the goal is to be the best version of herself
  • 12:57 – What’s one big change you did in the past year that either impacted yourself or your business? – For Jilliene, family is always number one, health is second and third is the company.
    • 13:34 – Her biggest change regarding her health is optimizing micronutrient levels
    • 14:14 – Jilliene does a micronutrient test once every quarter and changes her diet depending on her needs, but most of what she eats is green, leafy vegetables
    • 14:46 – Jilliene gets her tests done at Next Health
  • 15:35 – Meeting interesting people is a source of energy for Jilliene
    • 16:05 – She likes that she is learning from other CEOs about their best practices and how to face challenges
  • 16:44 – What’s one new tool that you’ve used in the past year that has added a lot of value? – Journaling
  • 17:48 Eric says you can start with the Five Minute Journal
  • 18:36 – Journaling gives Jilliene rest from her busy day
  • 18:52 – What’s one book that you’d recommend to everyone? – The Everything Store, Hatching Twitter and other company biographies
    • 19:28 – Jilliene thinks it depends on what stage your company is in, when she was still starting out she liked Do More Faster
  • 20:36 – What podcasts do you listen to? – Jilliene is more of a visual learner rather than auditory and enjoys reading more
  • 21:49 – Email Jilliene and check out their website
  • 22:00 – End of today’s episode

3 Key Points:

  1. Set your expectations for the type of business you will create—accept that it’ll cost you time and money.
  2. As your business grows, so do you as a person and CEO.
  3. Be clear on your priorities, take care of yourself, and be a lifelong learner.

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