Black Technology Provider Lands Major Deal With Giant Real Estate Investment Firm
Based on details shared with BLACK ENTERPRISE and a news release, the pact calls for RealBlocks to digitize the fund management process for Chicago-based LaSalle. It will cover LaSalle’s $77 billion in assets under management. That means RealBlocks will help bring in new investors, perform technology for secondary trading, and execute web-based subscriptions for institutional and retail funds for LaSalle.
RealBlocks emphasized that it is not managing LaSalle’s assets or making investment decisions. It simply is the service provider or administrator for all of LaSalle’s global business.
“RealBlocks is a game-changer in the real estate and alternatives space due to its ability to deliver an all-encompassing strategy that addresses the entire lifecycle of the investment process,” Jodi Akers, managing director at LaSalle, said in a statement. “Partnering with RealBlocks to bring their technology solution to our private equity business to optimize our global investor onboarding aligns with our digital transformation goals of continuing to improve our client experience and enhancing our operational efficiency.”
For RealBlocks, the transaction is by far its largest since the New York City-based firm started in 2017. RealBlocks CEO Perrin Quarshie discussed how his firm works.
“While alternatives have traditionally been limited by high barriers to entry such as geographic limitations, high minimums, and illiquidity, we set out to address these issues by building a better alternative for our clients,” he says. “We do that by providing the industry’s first white-label platform that allows for turnkey online global distribution and straight-through processing with all of the needed functionality for sales, feeder funds, and fund administration.”
Quarshie did not disclose how much revenue his firm generates. However, he said, “RealBlocks has helped LaSalle create new products for retail investors, the first of which has raised over nine figures in the last month for LaSalle.” He added RealBlocks receives an undisclosed “lifetime” asset under management fee from LaSalle tied to the deal.
So, how will the LaSalle deal help with RealBlock’s strategic growth?
Quarshie says the LaSalle partnership will bring Real Blocks fresh revenue, validate its technology solution for large asset managers, and set the firm up to expand among other large asset managers.
He claims RealBlocks is one of the pioneers in delivering blockchain solutions to modern financial institutions. “The momentum from the deal will enable further growth for the organization as we look to scale our business to more fund managers,” he says.
But the deal was no cinch. Quarshie says it was two years in the making. In the bidding process, he says, LaSalle became familiar with RealBlocks through connections from its advisory board. He says RealBlocks differed itself from rivals by offering technology that delivers clients cost efficiency and access to a broader audience.
Quarshie says RealBocks is a registered broker-dealer with the FINRA and a member of such trade groups as the Institute for Portfolio Alternatives (IPA) and the Defined Contribution Real Estate Council (DCREC).
A MIT Sloan School of Management graduate, Quarshie launched RealBlocks after beginning his career as a civil engineer at NAC International, where he focused on real estate development and the finance of energy infrastructure projects. He also worked at Barclays as an associate in real estate investment banking, where he did M&A transactions for various REIT and private equity sponsors.