Cogress is an investment platform that offers high net worth and sophisticated investors an entry into property development without having to get the trowel out.
''The only other real alternative is to find a developer yourself, carry out all the due diligence and then invest in a very large upfront payment,' says Rachel Stark, director of investor relations.
FCA-regulated, the minimum investment is £20,000 but for that you get access to property investment opportunities not available before, she told Proactive.
Cogress does extensive due diligence on any potential developments and underwrites 90% any project it decides to back with the developer putting up the rest.
That ensures the property will be completed and Cogress monitors progress very closely, though the risk when the time for a sale comes around remains with investors.
“We are very much involved in the project and the progress to exit,” said Stark, with a joint venture established with the developer to protect the interests of investors.
“Property development is a high-risk investment and things can go wrong, so we have clauses in a joint-venture agreement to mitigate some of those risks.”
Target returns are between 12-20% depending on the type of investment instrument involved, which can be private equity, mezzanine finance and in future a senior debt option.
Cogress focuses on residential/ mixed-used developments and has raised amounts up to and above £5mln.
Around 45 projects are on the books currently with the portfolio worth more than £900mln on a gross development value basis.
Seven exits have been agreed so far by the UK operation with the time from start to end of a project typically between 18-36 months.
The UK business was launched in 2014 by property veteran and chief executive Tal Orly, who launched a sister company in Israel in 2009.
Originally centred on London, the reach has expanded into the south east of England but Cogress is now looking further afield.
Stark said the model works for both halves of the property development equation.
“On the property development side we provide liquidity to the market, while for investors we provide choice.”