Most of us understand the value of shopping local or eating local. Supporting our communities is something we can all agree on. But what about investing local?
CSTMR client, Vicinity, is making local real estate investments accessible to everyone by harnessing the power of Title III of the JOBS Act—the provision that covers Regulation Crowdfunding (Reg CF).
Prior to the enactment of this law, only accredited investors (historically under 10% of the American population) could participate in private investment opportunities. Today, investing is now democratized, and Vicinity is leading the way as it focuses on connecting businesses with investors and doing so in a way that helps local economies thrive.
In today’s article, we’re going to take a detailed look at how Vicinity is rewriting the playbook on local investing.
Local Investing for Every Community
Since around the 1930s, private companies could only raise funds from accredited investors (i.e., those with an annual income of more than $200k or net assets of $1M+). In 2012, Congress changed the law to allow businesses to open their capital raises to non-accredited investors. This legislation was then adopted by the SEC in 2015.
Vicinity is helping these non-accredited investors access investment opportunities in their local community through their SEC-registered platform.
Vicinity understands that people care about where they live, and they want to support their local communities. Within North and South Carolina, it’s now possible, through Vicinity, to invest in grassroots projects that have a tangible impact at the local level.
“The more we pour into our community, the better it becomes, the more we understand it, and the more we grow to love it. Because the reality behind any ‘business’ or ‘market’ is that, at their root, they’re all simply people serving other people.” — John Crawford, Vicinity Co-Founder
As a place-based investment option, Vicinity allows businesses to utilize their networks and cultivate relational investment decisions. The key is an asset class made for the local investor, one characterized by less competition, a first-mover advantage, and more unique opportunities overall—mid-market real estate.
Meet Vicinity’s Co-Founders: John Crawford and Josh Rollins
John Crawford and Josh Rollins started Vicinity with a simple question… Why is it so hard to invest locally?
The question permeated every conversation they had: why are people only investing through dehumanized, robotic transactions thousands of miles away? We’re emotionally invested in our communities, yet we’re financially invested in Wall Street. So why not bring investing closer to home?
This question led them to develop the platform that has become Vicinity.
John is the trailblazing entrepreneur of the company. He has started a number of ventures across different industries, making him well-acquainted with the funding needs of business owners. His background in sales, marketing, and executive leadership put him in a perfect position to communicate the mission of Vicinity.
Josh is future-minded, always looking forward to what is possible. He brings valuable experience in technology and finance to the table, covering several different areas, including debt and equity capital raises, investment due diligence, web development strategy, and business intelligence.
How CSTMR Helped Vicinity Build Brand Awareness
In 2022, Vicinity enlisted the help of CSTMR to raise its profile in the world of “crowdinvesting.”
The goal was to boost the visibility of the Vicinity brand and educate its various audience segments on the benefits of investing in alternative asset classes through Reg CF (you can read Vicinity’s comprehensive guide here). Although our partnership is still young, our holistic approach to content marketing has seen some impressive results, including a 225% increase in total website traffic, and a 135% increase in organic search traffic.
Since our engagement began, Vicinity has successfully funded a number of projects to the tune of millions of dollars raised. Notable projects include:
The Pool at Hollingsworth Park
This private pool and swim club is located within Verdae, a 1,100-acre residential, commercial, and recreational development just minutes from downtown Greenville, South Carolina. It is now under construction after raising $1,500,000 on the Vicinity platform.
The Franklin, built in 1917, is a full historic rehabilitation office project. Sitting atop Greenville’s growing downtown area, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Scheduled to undergo a full-scale restoration, renovation, and addition per the National Park Service’s standards, the project successfully raised $950,000 on the Vicinity platform.
Grain Dealers successfully raised over $200,000 on the Vicinity platform for a new brewery and restaurant initiative. They will be the only brewery and restaurant within 20 miles, bringing life back into a historic building in the city of Dunn, North Carolina.
Calling All Fintechs… CSTMR Would Love to Connect
At CSTMR, we love working with fintechs—like Vicinity—that are making a difference in the world.
Through our efforts as a digital marketing agency in the financial services industry, we hope and strive to have a far-reaching impact on businesses and people. We value inclusivity, education, and empowerment in the realm of financial services. If you work in fintech and your mission aligns with ours, we would love to connect!
Schedule a call with the CSTMR team today.