In addition to being a renowned tourist destination, Santa Barbara has now become an epicenter for new and developing businesses, said Kenny Slaught. Lots of promising, new companies have been shaped in recent years, and many, counting AppScale, LastLine, TrackR, and Salty Girl Seafood, have come straight out of the University of California Santa Barbara. With over $200 million raised for area startups from private investors in the earlier year, the Central Coast boasts nearly twice the investment per capita in development than the greater Los Angeles area, a much larger market. While some may feel the fascination of Silicon Valley or Hollywood, domestic businesspersons recognize the impact of building a business in an environment that stimulates growth. So, the region is one of the best places in the country to launch and develop startups, generating outstanding biotech, medical, technology, and scientific businesses like Inogen, Raytheon, Sonos, and BioIQ.
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After just a few years in the market, crowdfunding boosted over 150 startups nationwide, largely specializing in real estate. Today, nearly 7% of the U.S population is an accredited investor, and in a dense setting like Southern California, this number is 20%. Software platforms, such as CrowdEngine, RealtyShares, CrowdForce, and more, make it possible to legally raise money from the general public, with some going as far as attracting 90% of equity requirement through direct community contributions. Data analytics applications like Rentlytics, on the other hand, give owners greater transparency into the performance and management of their portfolios. With a robust background in developing state-of-the-art properties for the past 35 years, Kenny Slaught believes that, in real estate tech, California is among the most active states in the market right now. Using cutting-edge innovation tools to pool capital, borrowers and sponsors have raised more than $53 million through 90 residential, multifamily, and commercial properties in Sacramento, San Francisco, and beyond.
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Modern intuitive software and mobile applications, notes Kenny Slaught, give investors and builders a greater selection of lending and borrowing opportunities across a variety of real estate asset classes and geographies. The state’s crowdfunding or peer-to-peer lending services emerged after the adoption of the Jumpstart Our Business Startup (JOBS) Act in 2012, which significantly expanded the ways in which sponsors raise capital for real estate acquisitions and development. The new regulation legalized the previously banned practice of advertising or openly soliciting private funding from accredited individuals and companies. Those with a net worth of $1,000,000, excluding their personal residences, or with an annual income of $200,000 per individual or $300,000 per household, if filed jointly with a spouse, can become an accredited investor. Kenny Slaught discusses how the amendments gave the green light to individual borrowers and lenders to take part in debt and equity financing, where loans generate income in the form of interest, without a bank involved as an intermediary. The online marketplace has created a new pathway for property owners and funders to browse current investment offerings, perform due diligence, and maintain dashboards to track how assets and financial products are performing.
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Some of the most appreciated Santa Barbara architecture are the centuries-old Hotel Virginia, El Pueblo Viejo district in historic downtown, as well as the two pink towers of the Old Mission, which hosts retreats and festivals. Kenny Slaught notes that the brightly colored tiles of the County Courthouse houses brilliant murals and other striking attributes, and nearby the clock tower and observation deck provide a panoramic view of the entire city. The Lobero theatre not only houses the region’s most renowned performing arts events but also stretches back to 1873 and was rebuilt in the 1920’s by George Washington Smith. These are a few examples of the celebrated past of Santa Barbara, where, because of the region’s advanced planning, many antique, architecturally stunning buildings line the streets of the central city.
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