Jilliene Helman had a track record in real estate. She had underwritten more than $1 billion and was a vice president in wealth management at Union Bank. She knew what to invest in and what not to. A friend asked if he could invest alongside her when she made real estate investments. Then another friend asked, and another, and another. You get the picture.
The global real estate market is estimated at more than $5 trillion, according to IBISWorld. When the JOBS Act passed in April 2012, it gave Helman the ability to formalize the friend-to-friend process online and tap into this huge market. She started Realty Mogul in March 2013, but was only able to offer investment opportunities to people she knew or were referred to her who were accredited investors. Accredited investors have a net worth, excluding their homes, of at least $1 million or an annual salary of at least $200,000 if single and $300,000 if a couple.