International soccer star Martin Braithwaite and his business partner Philip Michael are on a mission to convert 100,000 Black women and millennials into millionaires through real estate investing.
Braithwaite, a forward for FC Barcelona, and Michael are the founders of New York-based NYCE Companies, a real estate company that will offer shares of real estate investments through an IPO. Michael, who mainly runs the company as Braithwaite is mostly overseas, said he wants $1 billion in assets in five years.
“The overall vision is I want to help inspire and create 100,000 millionaires of color,” Michael, a Danish real estate investor, told CNBC.
In April, NYCE filed for a $50 million real estate IPO, which will live on the Nasdaq through its marketplace services platform. Nasdaq’s platform allows the company’s like NYCE to offer real estate stock at low entry prices. NYCE plans to offer stock as little as $100 when its app launches in September.
“It’s basically how Robinhood operates when you buy stock,” Michael said of his app, which will launch in September. “It’s the exact same way. That is the long-term vision.”
Investors can currently invest for a minimum of $500 via crowdfunding service Wefunder. The real estate trading platform will be operated by Nasdaq and software company Lex Markets Corp.
Michael, the author of “Real Estate Wealth Hacking: How to 10x Your Net Worth in 18 Months,” started the investing initiative to help combat racial inequality as the nation is still grieving from the murder of George Floyd on May 25. Police brutality, social injustice and disparities in Black communities’ income have been highlighted in the wake of Floyd’s death.
“Obviously, racism exists, but in the long-run, the economic hierarchy has been historically inhabited by people of color,” Michael said in an interview with CNBC.
But millennials, in general, are also accumulating more debt from credit cards and student loans. According to Pew Research Center, the number of households with student loan debt doubled from 1998 to 2016. The median amount of loan debt millennials (defined as ages 23 to 38) carried was $19,000, significantly higher than Gen Xers’ balance of $12,800 at the same age.
Braithwaite, who had his $19 million buyout clause picked up by Barcelona in February, isn’t the first athlete using real estate to help Black communities overcome social inequity.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith helps families obtain home ownership through Hurry Hope, a program funded through his Minority Entrepreneurship Institute capital fund. The Cowboys told CNBC he owns real estate properties in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Indiana, Cincinnati, and Atlanta. Smith said his real estate portfolio includes “multi-family town homes and apartments and complex offices.”
Braithwaite said he wants to “get more involved in real estate business because, in 10 years, I’ll be approaching the end of my career. In 10 years, we should be in a place that we can’t even imagine now, that’s our mentality.”
Investors have already purchased NYCE stock, taking advantage of real estate projects, including a high rise in Jersey City, NJ and property in Philadelphia near Temple University’s campus. The apartment complex, called “The Temple,” features virtual reality leasing, artificial intelligence VIP concierge, and facial recognition entry.
NYCE’s active real estate developments are currently valued at $57 million, according to Michael. If future properties are purchased and developed, reaching $1 billion in assets under management “will happen in the next 12 to 18 months,” Michael said.
“There are some deals and partnerships that we’ve cut that can allow that to happen,” added Michael. “Having the app and allowing people to buy into [properties] with us and continue the scale and grow together and creating a movement.”