Below is our recent interview with Andrea Petersen, Co-Founder & CEO at School of Whales:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to your company?
A: School of Whales is a Miami born and female-founded real estate crowdfunding platform that allows anyone with as little as $500 to invest in commercial real estate developments. But don’t let the low barrier of entry mislead you. School of Whales allows all their investors to have access to their properties with the same level of transparency that any traditional, large investor would have—We even offer hard hat tours of the projects, led by our COO.
Our investment properties are designed to leave a lasting and positive impact on their communities—from preserving and honoring historic buildings to fostering investment in underserved neighborhoods and expanding residential options for locals. Additionally, our goal is to be able to provide funding for mid-sized or boutique real estate developers with innovative projects that have a harder time accessing traditional sources of funding, despite proving very lucrative in the long run (usually because they are not cookie cutter and harder to underwrite). We are proving that you can put your money to work while creating opportunities for others.
Beyond the investment platform’s mission to expand financial opportunity to everyone, we also aim to expand financial education to everyone—providing resources and actionable tips through our website blog, newsletter, social media, and community events, so that our whales can achieve financial wellness.
Q: Any highlights on your recent announcement?
A: Our latest identified investment property—100 NE 1st Ave—The Historic Post Office building in Downtown Miami is as mindful of preserving history as it is promoting innovation. The stunning 36,500 square foot 1912 Neo-classical building is currently being transformed into a 4-level gastronomic hub. The tenant roster includes a timeless bar and lounge, a craft beer bar by Biscayne Brewery, the first US concept by a Mexican chef featured in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, a casual take on an elevated Asian cuisine staple, a Japanese izakaya and sake bar curated by a world-renowned restauranteur, a traditional Mexican café and bakery and a Mezcal bar—all under one roof.
School of Whales investors are also proud owners of Julia & Henry’s, the historic Walgreens building, that is now an eatery, entertainment and creativity destination soon to open just one block south. These transformative restoration projects perfectly embody the funds’ mission: to create positive change, while facilitating investment opportunities for everyone.
Q: Can you give us more insights into your offering?
A: We are an SEC approved and regulated investment platform, offering class A interests to our diversified commercial real estate portfolio. When the properties start generating profits, our investors will be paid each quarter until they receive an annualized 8% preferred return. The remaining 92% of the profits are divided between our investors and School of Whales. Our investors get 80% of that slice of the profits, while School of Whales gets 20% as a Performance Fee.
Q: What can we expect from your company in next 6 months? What are your plans?
A: Julia & Henry’s (our first identified investment property) is nearing completion, making it a tangible return opportunity for investors at an attractive valuation. Moreover, our whales will have exclusive access to the property’s highly anticipated grand opening events!
What else? More investment properties are in the underwriting pipeline and continual improvements to our online platform will meet key investor needs to make it effortless for our investors to build long-term wealth.
Q: What is the best thing about your company that people might not know about?
A: Education and financial mindfulness are fundamental pillars of the brand, as we believe everyone should have access to investment opportunities and financial education. We even offer a recurring investment feature that allows investors to automatically add as little as $10 a month to their initial investment, so to learn by doing and establish healthy financial habits that maximize returns without compromising their lifestyles!
Fun fact: If you look at our logo it can either be seen as a whale tail or an open book!