In April 2012, three professionals, including myself, who shared an ambition to revolutionize Japanese real estate investment, established Loadstar Capital K.K. Our first office was located in a small building in Ebisu, Tokyo. We started a real estate consulting business in a one-room, 12-tsubo (40 square meters) office and later expanded the business to include a brokerage business and a principal investment business.
The first turning point came in March 2014. With an injection of funds from the Renren Group, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, we made an attempt to unite real estate and IT—that is, to introduce real estate technology—to shake up the old world of real estate transactions. In the real estate industry up until then, there was an information gap between general consumers and real estate agents. Consumers could not easily access needed real estate information. We wanted to free up this situation and lower the barrier to real estate investment.
Our first initiative was to enter the crowdfunding (social lending) business in September 2014. Crowdfunding is a mechanism for raising capital from an unspecified large number of people via the Internet. We believe that this method of gathering relatively small amounts of funds from a wide base has a high degree of affinity with real estate investment. Also, through the exchange of information between investors and ourselves or among investors themselves, we can create a good-quality social networking service (SNS) space. Numerous individual investors have embraced this real estate investment crowdfunding system, which we named OwnersBook, as a new platform for asset management. Cumulative investment through OwnersBook had topped 32,000 million yen as of September 2022.
For a long time, investment and asset management in Japan have been viewed in a negative light. Real estate investment in particular requires large amounts of capital and has been limited in most cases to the wealthy. Our role is to create a new world of asset management by lowering such barriers to real estate investment. The effect of investment is maximized through long-term accumulation. We also hope to communicate through crowdfunding the appeal of real estate investment to the younger generation in their 20s and 30s and provide a forum for learning, so that people will accumulate knowledge and familiarity in investing by starting to manage assets early in their lives.
In the world of real estate, especially in areas for business use such as offices and commercial facilities, major real estate companies, developers, and others like them have, in most cases, monopolized information for a long time. Thus, the value of real estate has been determined by a few players, based on their experience of tenant quality, grade of buildings, level of rents, and other such factors. However, we believe it is possible to build a win-win market with high transparency by uniting the world of real estate, Tech, and big data. We will continue to make every effort to replace such past experience with quantifiable data.
We think that crowdfunding has limitless potential. While OwnersBook is a platform limited to real estate investment, we are certain that in Japan's not too distant future the day will come when even massive projects such as urban development will be undertaken through crowdfunding. At Loadstar Group, we hope to work with individual investors to create that kind of world of new asset management.