Startup founded by former Red Ventures exec exits stealth mode, eyes expansion in new markets

A local startup that uses a technology platform to allow prospective real estate investors to start small with its portfolio of rentals is now eyeing growth opportunities.

Charlotte-based Mansion Group was founded in 2019 but remained in stealth mode until September of this year. That’s when the company’s online platform, Mansion Invest, officially became available for investors to book a single-family property and earn passive income.

“We’re building the platform for people to access rental real estate investing,” said John Sutton, Mansion Group founder and CEO. “It just felt like an asset class that a lot of people are interested in, like owning their own Airbnb, but it’s out of reach for many people.”

Sutton is a former president and chief digital officer for Red Ventures.

Mansion Group was born as a real estate investment company, allowing customers to book single-family, short-term rental space through its Mansion Life app. It now uses artificial intelligence to identify investment homes, and it owns and manages properties across the Charlotte region.

Sutton said with the company slipping out of stealth mode, it is now able to raise capital from a traditional investor and receive investments from potential renter customers.

He aims to make single-family real estate investing accessible to more than just affluent shareholders.

“We want to have more mansions that people can stay in and more mansions that people can own,” he said. “And the way we think we can do that is by, instead of having high-net-worth people that are backing us and helping us buy the properties, we can have our own general population audience be those that are investing and backing properties.”

A $600,000 home would typically require a roughly 20% to 25% down payment, Sutton said. Through Mansion, local residents and guests can own a stake in Charlotte-area rental homes for as low as $9 per share. The minimum investment is roughly $99.

Mansion’s shareholders have the opportunity to earn dividend-yielding, passive income with 4% to 8% targeted annual dividends for most offerings, the company says. Investors can also earn a share of any home appreciation in the event of a sale.

The startup fully owns 15 properties locally. One of those homes, which sits in Pineville, is available for customers to apply for investment opportunities. The company has two more homes coming available soon in Charlotte and Deerfield Beach, Florida, according to its website.

Sutton said Mansion plans to primarily manage investment properties across the Carolinas and Charlotte, but it’s also looking to grow in other markets with a balance of high appreciation and rental yield.

Earlier this year, Mansion raised $2.5 million in funding through bootstrapping to help develop the business and democratize real estate investing through its platform. Sutton said that, for the first time, the company plans to soon raise a round of capital from strategic investors.

Mansion hopes to raise more awareness of the investment opportunities the company has to offer.

“The harder work begins of getting people aware of the fact that they can even do this,” he said. “I think most people don’t know that it’s a thing. And so anytime you’re trying to define and build a new category, I think you’ve got a long road to run. So that’s where our focus is now.”


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