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Lev raises $170M, including Series B led by First American new VC brand

Lev, a digital commercial real estate (CRE) transaction platform, announced today securing $170 million in new funding, including a $70 million Series B led by Parker89 and Cross River Digital Ventures, according to a press release shared with FinLedger.

The funding also included $100 million in secured debt financing from Cross River’s Strategic Direct Lending Group, with additional Series B participation coming from big names including Citi Ventures, NFX, Animo Ventures, StepStone Group, Canaan Partners, JLL Spark and Capital One.

The company has now secured over $200 million in total funding to date, and says it plans to use the funding to enhance its product offerings, recruit top talent across all departments and to “double down on research and development for its marketplace and end-to-end lending experiences.”

Founded in 2019, Lev is attempting to update the CRE industry’s manual lending processes and transform the market towards digital experiences with its CRE lending marketplace and services.

The company says that its technology provides loan seekers with instant access to customized financing from leading financial institutions, and enables CRE loans to close three times faster than existing methods (with traditional standards taking months).

The financing comes in a rapid growth period for Lev, with the company closing almost $1 billion in CRE mortgages and growing tenfold year-over-year in 2021. The company says this growth was due to a reimagined approach to CRE financing, highlighted by the launch of its Lev Lending product, and noted that it is now among the top 100 CRE loan originators in its second year of existence.

Previous investors include Greenspring Associates, who led Lev’s Series A in June 2021, and Ludlow Ventures.

FinLedger recently spoke with Lev CEO Yaakov Zar, who talked about the launch of Lev Lending, the company’s journey and where he sees it heading forward.

Parker89 takes no time to splash cash

The Series B funding is especially notable, considering it was co-led by First American’s newly rebranded venture arm, now known as Parker 89.

First American operates as one of the leading title, settlement and risk solution providers in the real estate industry, and says that the new investment vehicle will focus on early stage companies and entrepreneurs focused on residential and commercial real estate ventures “such as tech-enabled brokerages and marketplaces, agent tools and mortgage tools,” according to The Real Deal.

“Having witnessed the increasing digitization of the residential mortgage process over the past few years, we believe that commercial lending will undergo a similar evolution,” stated Nate Levin, Managing Director at Parker89, in the release.

Named after First American founder C.E. Parker and the year of the company’s founding (1889), the venture fund is co-led by Levin and First American’s Chief Innovation Officer Paul Hurst.

Hurst recently spoke with HWMedia about the company’s new proptech investment goals, and highlighted some of his plans for the investment vehicle. You can find that interview here.

Even before the rebrand First American has been active and successful in its proptech venture activity, with more than $350 million invested since 2019. Portfolio companies include digital real estate marketplace Offerpad, tech brokerage Side and single-family investment marketplace Roofstock.

First American Mortgage Solutions, the mortgage solution division of First American, also announced yesterday a new integration with ICE Mortgage Technology’s Encompass platform.

In other recent proptech news, MAXEX extended its loan-trading reach with a new loan purchasing program, aimed at originators that want to meet mortgage demand from individual and small-business real estate investors.

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