AKRU Investment Platform Review

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Contributor, Benzinga
September 8, 2022
AKRU
Overall Rating:
securely through AKRU's website

AKRU is a real estate investing platform with a simple mission — to democratize the world of real estate investing by opening it to as many investors as possible. It plans to accomplish this goal by offering equity shares in institutional quality real estate investments through fractionalization. AKRU investors can purchase individual units of an offering for $1,000. 

They receive that unit as a token that they can hold as the asset appreciates, but they can also sell that token through AKRU’s blockchain. A business model like this could give a whole new definition to the term value investing and further energize the trend of real estate crowdfunding as an investment vehicle.

Best For
  • Value investors
  • Real estate investors looking for liquidity and flexibility
  • Accredited investors looking for quality real estate offerings
  • Real estate investors who want a diverse portfolio without spending six figures
Pros
  • Seeks to offer everyday investors access to institutional quality real estate
  • May provide a secondary market where investors can liquidate shares
  • No holding period
  • Low $1,000 buy-ins
Cons
  • Only open to accredited investors for now

AKRU Ratings at a Glance

Offerings
Customer Service
Security
Minimum Investment and Pricing
User Experience
Overall

Who is AKRU?

Real estate investing can sometimes feel like an exclusive country club. The place looks like a palace from the outside. The pool is sparkling, the fairways are perfect and you’d love to join. Unfortunately, the entry fee and monthly membership dues basically make it impossible for you to be part of the club no matter how hard you try. The AKRU real estate investing platform wants to change all of that. 

If you gathered a room full of people who wanted to invest in real estate and asked them why they haven’t done so yet, the answers would probably be a combination of one or more of the following:

  • The investment minimums are too high.
  • I can’t afford to put so much money into one thing and let it sit for 5 years.
  • I don’t have access to the best investment that the “big guys” do.

The AKRU platform offers a radical new take on value investing. Instead of demanding large investments from accredited investors, AKRU fractionalizes equity in real estate offerings and turns them into tokens. Each token is available for $1,000. Accredited investors can then peruse the AKRU platform and buy as much or as little of any investment as they want. 

This process — known as fractionalization — could change the way people invest in real estate. However, the low entry price is just the start of how AKRU’s business model differs from traditional real estate investing. AKRU also has its own blockchain and secondary market, which means accredited investors can liquidate all or part of their tokens at any time. That’s an unprecedented level of freedom compared to most traditional real estate investments.

Usually, a real estate investment requires a much larger minimum investment, usually five figures. Once the investment is made, it usually has a hold period of several years where the investor can’t sell it or liquidate it. In rare cases where they can, early liquidation usually carries a significant penalty. AKRU investors are free to sell their tokens to anyone at any point during the life of the investment. 

AKRU Offerings

AKRU is a relatively new platform with a unique business model. As such, it does not boast the same variety of offerings as more seasoned traditional crowdfunding platforms. It will soon launch thirteen new open offerings. One is a 14-unit apartment building in Cincinnati, Ohio, and another is a commercial shopping center in Cincinnati. 

It’s not a large slate of offerings; however, it’s not hard to see that as the idea of real estate tokenization/fractionalization becomes more mainstream, it will attract more developers and sponsors who need to raise capital. Additionally, there are over 70 million offerings going live within 2022 and a pipeline of over half a billion.

AKRU Customer Service

Getting people to do something new is always hard, especially when it comes to their money. For people who don’t understand it, real estate crowdfunding is already confusing enough. When your platform adds a new element like offering tokenized real estate investments, your customer service setup has to be rock solid. 

AKRU is focused on customer service. It starts with a wonderful YouTube video on its splash page that lays out its business model in plain English. Even if you had never heard of fractionalized or tokenized real estate investing, viewing this video would give you a thorough grasp of how AKRU works. 

The site has a helpful live-chat window through the AKRU concierge at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. Apart from that, you can reach the site through a number of means. You can email AKRU directly, or reach out through social media via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Email is the best way to reach out if you have a specific inquiry, and the platform responds promptly to those inquiries. 

AKRU Security

AKRU devotes a great deal of attention to investor security. The platform has a valid SSL certificate. When you sign up, a third party verifies your accreditation status. Apart from that, it takes the standard security measures you would expect of a real estate crowdfunding platform. 

You will need to verify your email address after the initial sign-up, and if your password changes, you will receive an immediate email notification. Once your basic sign-up is complete with a verified email, you must also verify your telephone number via text before you can open your account. 

AKRU is considered very secure given that it is built on a public blockchain and is completely traceable and immutable.

AKRU Minimum Investment and Pricing

AKRU prides itself on value investing and democratizing real estate investments and offers accredited investors several options. AKRU offers three different categories of investing:

  • Starter: This rating is for between one to five units or tokens and people looking to invest between $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Core: This rating is for more experienced investors or people who want to develop a larger portfolio. Core investors invest between $5,000 to $10,000 in five to 10 properties.
  • Advanced: This is the highest investor rating. Advanced investors are looking for a large, completely diversified portfolio of over 25 properties and can make investments of $25,000 or more.

This multi-tiered approach can be helpful. It not only allows investors to pick out the level they want to be on, but it lets the platform tailor offerings to different investors. That process will limit the number of emails you get as an investor. The bottom line here is that as an accredited investor you can become an equity owner in high-quality real estate offerings for as little as $1,000.

AKRU User Experience

Using the AKRU platform is straightforward. From the opening tutorial on the landing page to the layout for individual offerings, this platform is easy to navigate. The resource center and FAQ page are also both well stocked with all the information you would need about the AKRU business model and how to invest. 

The user experience component is an essential element of launching a new platform. It’s obvious in using AKRU that the site’s designers and company brain trust put a significant amount of time into making sure this platform is easy to use and understand.

AKRU vs. Competitors

AKRU’s competitors include Lofty.ai, HoneyBricks and Crowdstreet. 

Some stand-out features of AKRU are: 

  • 1 click investing options.
  • Low buy-ins of only $1,000.
  • A secondary market where accredited investors can liquidate their shares without possible gains.

As AKRU continues to grow as a platform, it will offer more deal sponsors for accredited investors to choose from.

  • securely through AKRU's website
    securely through AKRU's website
    Best For:
    Accredited Investors
    Rating:
    Read Review
  • securely through HoneyBricks's website
    securely through HoneyBricks's website
    Best For:
    Accredited Investors Only
    Rating:
  • securely through CrowdStreet's website
    securely through CrowdStreet's website
    Best For:
    Accredited Investors
    Rating:
    Read Review

AKRU Overall

Anytime the world of real estate investing can get less expensive and more accessible, it’s a win for accredited investors. AKRU does an admirable job of advancing these goals. It’s a good platform that offers a lot of tangible benefits for both experienced and new investors. The flexibility of AKRU’s built-in secondary market and the low minimums make them a serious player in the real estate crowdfunding platform landscape.

As it stands, the only negative regarding AKRU is the fact that it doesn’t have a lot of offerings and in spite of the low minimums, AKRU is only open to accredited investors. Soon, however, AKRU hopes to make its affordable, flexible model of fractional real estate investing available to more people. 

With a platform that is easy to use and a range of projects for investment, it appears as if this type of real estate investing has a bright future. AKRU appears to be well positioned as an innovator in the CRE space.

However, all investors should be mindful that investing carries risks, including the loss of all principal invested.  Prospective investors may wish to consult a qualified adviser before making any investment decisions. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

What is Fractional Real Estate Investing?

A

Fractional real estate investing (or fractionalization) is a form of crowdfunding where a group of investors pools resources to purchase commercial real estate. The percentage of equity each investor owns is essentially a fraction of the asset’s total value. For example, if you and nine other investors put in $10,000 to purchase a $100,000 commercial property, you would each have 1/10 or 10% equity in that particular property. 

Q

What is real estate tokenization?

A

 

Real estate tokenization is a form of fractional real estate investing where investor equity is purchased as a token instead of an equity share. Investors are then free to hold on to that token for the life of the asset or sell it on a blockchain to other investors. In some cases, real estate token holders can leverage their tokens by lending or borrowing against the value on decentralized finance platforms. 

 

Although the concept of real estate tokenization is relatively new, it has tremendous potential to open the world of real estate investing up to a more diverse group of investors. Real estate tokens can be liquidated without penalty to the token holder, which is a stark contrast to traditional real estate investments that carry early withdrawal fees or don’t even offer a secondary market for share liquidation at all. 

 

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