Introducing OptioLend, an Automated Online Marketplace for Commercial Real Estate Financing
Platform streamlines cumbersome loan process; offers borrowers and brokers access to thousands of capital sources to secure better deal terms
COLUMBUS, Ohio–(BUSINESS WIRE)–OptioLend, an online commercial real estate (CRE) lending marketplace, launched today to dramatically improve the loan application and financing process for borrowers, brokers and lenders. The platform’s launch coincides with an increase in the volume of applications for CRE refinancings spurred by the market’s disruption, making access to capital and favorable deal terms even more critical for borrowers seeking to navigate the current volatility.
Founded by a group of seasoned entrepreneurs with ties to the fintech, real estate and mortgage brokerage industries, OptioLend uses an AI-powered algorithm to connect CRE borrowers and brokers with the best possible lenders for their deals. At the time of its launch, OptioLend raised seed funding of approximately $1 million led by the Schottenstein Family Office with participation of Loud Capital and MLG Ventures.
From filling out the initial application and updating deal terms, to comparing offers and closing the transaction, OptioLend automates every step of the loan process. The platform eliminates the need to develop unique loan applications for each lender; instead, borrowers and brokers submit a single loan application for their deal. Leveraging its proprietary algorithm and a database of thousands of capital sources, OptioLend identifies up to 20 lenders best suited for the loan application based on recent lending history and other criteria, and lets borrowers and brokers submit the application to those lenders with a single click. As loan offers funnel in from banks, credit unions and other sources — starting 24 to 48 hours after the initial application submission — borrowers and brokers can negotiate and close deals, all from within the OptioLend portal.
“Despite a double-digit increase in refinance applications, commercial real estate borrowers are struggling to find lenders that meet their deals’ unique requirements,” said OptioLend CEO Richard Geisenfeld. “While there is a relatively small pool of capital sources that focus on deals above $10 million, transactions in the middle market — $1 million to $10 million — have thousands of potential lenders, and OptioLend’s AI technology will help borrowers and brokers pinpoint the right capital providers to close these crucial refis.”
Added Geisenfeld: “With more than $500 billion of commercial real estate loans closed each year, the opportunity to dramatically improve the loan process is significant.”
In creating a marketplace that helps users access the entire landscape of potential CRE lenders through a single platform, OptioLend is following an existing model in its quest to become the “LendingTree for commercial real estate.” Since its founding in 1996, LendingTree has helped millions of people compare and close personal, home and student loans. OptioLend’s technology was developed in part by Joel Lowery, a former LendingTree executive who built the back end of the LendingTree platform and who has drawn on this experience to create an interface for OptioLend that effectively simplifies the process for borrowers and lenders alike.
While OptioLend is designed to largely automate the transaction process, the company is launching with a concierge service of experienced capital advisors to help guide users who need assistance throughout the loan procurement process.
“In today’s market, borrowers with limited access to capital sources sometimes sign onto loan terms with interest rates as much as 100 basis points higher than they have to,” said David Schottenstein, principal of Schottenstein Family Office. “OptioLend’s ability to get deals in front of multiple lenders quickly helps ensure that borrowers are getting the best terms possible, and we expect this breakthrough technology to be extremely alluring to borrowers and brokers across the country.”
Eric Cohen, co-founder and managing partner of the Calida Group added: “Building a real estate portfolio often requires working with a wide range of capital sources. Optiolend is an exciting addition to the market that will streamline the process and increase our access to lenders.”
In addition to serving borrowers, OptioLend will cater to mortgage brokers, enabling them to increase their capacity and throughput by utilizing the platform directly or referring property owners to it, earning up to 40% of typical origination fees in the process.
“OptioLend’s ability to streamline loan applications and generate multiple quotes with minimal hassle is a dream come true for licensed loan brokers such as myself,” said Mark Lojacono, CEO of Unlimited Business Loans. “As someone who works on CRE financing on a daily basis, OptioLend is an unprecedented time-savings tool that will allow me to focus most of my day’s energy on getting new deals instead of shopping around looking for the perfect lender.”
Beyond the technology’s value proposition for borrowers and brokers, OptioLend will also benefit the lending community by providing lenders with deal flow that is customized to their investment priorities and an online platform that streamlines the process of document review. Using the OptioLend portal also enables lenders to adjust deal terms and communicate with borrowers and brokers.
Founded in 2021 as a “LendingTree for commercial real estate,” OptioLend is a unique marketplace for commercial real estate loans. Leveraging artificial intelligence and a database of thousands of lenders, the platform enables borrowers and brokers to expand their reach and secure more favorable terms for their loans, while offering lenders an additional avenue to source deals. The company – which was founded by veteran entrepreneurs with ties to the real estate, fintech and mortgage brokerage spaces – is backed by the Schottenstein Family Office, Loud Capital and MLG Ventures.