Fundrise, a real estate investment platform that sells shares for as low as $10, announced this week it will spend $130 million to acquire properties for a national expansion of Saltbox, the co-warehousing startup.

Saltbox, which provides logistics space primarily to e-commerce entrepreneurs in small, flexible warehouse suites, grew from a single flagship operation in Atlanta to six US locations in 2021, including in Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas and Seattle.

With the investment from Fundrise, Saltbox is planning to add 1 million SF of co-warehousing space across 15 US locations, including a new facility under development in Alexandria, VA. The expansion will involve building new warehouses, as well as acquiring properties for conversions.

Some form of conversion usually is required to set up a Saltbox operation. The startup typically divides its warehouse space into flexible, scalable suites that range between 500 SF and 1,000 SF. The Saltbox operation in Denver, which opened in December, offers 125 flexible warehouse suites in a 102,000 SF facility.

Saltbox is offering fulfillment services to growing e-commerce startups and it invites them to specify “purpose-built” suites that permit “human-centric” logistics and encourages networking between entrepreneurs.

Last year, the startup launched a new service, Saltbox Fulfillment, to assist direct-to-consumer and e-commerce entrepreneurs address third-party logistics needs, including logistics management software.

The small-business-oriented co-warehousing startup was named this week to Fast Company’s annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2022. Saltbox debuted at no. 9 in Fast Company’s Logistics category.

Fundrise says it has raised more than $7 billion for deals as of January, earning net dividends of more than $160M for its 210,000 active investors, according to the platform’s website.

In a recent interview with TechCrunch, Fundrise COO Brandon Jenkins said the platform is focusing on last-mile logistics warehouses as the record demand for industrial warehouse space continues to realign supply chain priorities.

With its $10 minimum investment, Fundrise aims at young investors creating their first “starter portfolio.” The platform welcomes investors who are not accredited.

Other crowdfunding real estate investment platforms with low buy-in minimums include Groundfloor, which has a $10 minimum and focuses on short-term real estate debt investments, and Arrived, which has a $100 minimum and offers rental property shares.

On-demand, last-mile warehousing and flexible co-warehousing space are expected to grow as logistics networks adjust to the record demand for industrial space.

According to CBRE, the US will require an additional 330 million SF of warehouse and distribution space by 2025, much of it to meet burgeoning e-commerce demand.


Source:  GlobeSt.