AlphaFlow announces $10M Series A funding round

Real estate debt investment manager AlphaFlow announced it has received a $10 million Series A funding round led by alternative lending market investor Saluda Grade Ventures.

Other notable investors in the round include Y Combinator, 10X Capital, Resolute Ventures, Upside Partnership, Better Mortgage CEO Vishal Garg, and Gokul Rajaram. Previous funding also included Social Capital, Clocktower Ventures, and Point72 Ventures.

Ryan Craft, founder and CEO of Saluda Grade led the investment, and will take a seat on the AlphaFlow board of directors, the company announced in a statement.

“The need for AlphaFlow today is clear,” said Craft. Meaning, local private real estate lenders need partners such as AlphaFlow to act as an investment manager that buys loans from lenders and provides professionally managed portfolios of residential real estate loans to institutional investors. 

“The capital markets are starving for yield, and the U.S. housing market is desperately in need of more inventory,” explained Craft. “AlphaFlow’s platform connects these industries and brings together two of the largest markets on the planet. Saluda Grade is excited to bring our capital markets expertise to help accelerate AlphaFlow’s growth.”

The Series A reportedly follows two years of continued growth in institutional investors’ engagement on the AlphaFlow platform, supported by a team of real estate and portfolio management veterans. Yet the key to its success lies in its technology platform, the company said.

“Lenders understand the need for innovation, but they can’t do it alone,” said co-founder and head of product development, Nathan Scharfe, AlphaFlow’s software is empowering lenders to give their borrowers a simple, fast, and reliable experience.”

Created to help digitize and innovate “the massive but fragmented local real estate lending market” by using technology to enables lenders to accelerate decision-making and to grow, according to the company website, AlphaFlow has been a pioneer in making the $75 billion fix-and-flip industry available to institutional investors, at scale.

“We believe local private lenders are the lifeblood of residential real estate investing,” said Ray Sturm, co-founder and CEO of AlphaFlow. “These lenders are where real estate developers go to fund their projects, and over the last decade, their role in the U.S. real estate industry has exploded.”

NewRez appoints first chief diversity officer

National mortgage lender and servicer NewRez LLC has appointed Lusharn Heastie, former human resources manager for the servicing division as the company’s first chief diversity officer, effective immediately.

“I am pleased to announce Lusharn Heastie as NewRez’s first Chief Diversity Officer. In this role, Lusharn will not only strengthen programs around diversity and inclusion but will oversee management trainings, inclusive hiring practices and workplace initiatives,” said Liz Monahan, chief human resources officer of NewRez.

NewRez is member of the New Residential Investment Corp. that includes NewRez Servicing, its special servicing division, Shellpoint Mortgage Servicing, and several other mortgage and real estate affiliates. Headquartered in Fort Washington, Pa., with offices across the United States, the company offers a wide range of mortgage products 

“As we continue to unify our family of companies into one firm with one vision, it is our mission to ensure NewRez promotes diversity and equality in everything we do. I am looking forward to Lusharn’s leadership as our Chief Diversity Officer,” said Baron Silverstein, president of NewRez. “I have no doubt that she will bring the same level of commitment and enthusiasm to her new role as she has throughout her entire career with us.”

In her new role, Heastie will lead company-wide efforts to create awareness for diversity and inclusion across all aspects of the organization. 

She also will be responsible for creating programs that promote inclusive hiring practices, executive visibility and mentorship, “aimed at strengthening and empowering employees who show an interest in growing their careers with NewRez,” the company said.

Heastie has been with NewRez’s servicing division since 2017. In just under four years, she swiftly advanced from HR generalist to manager and now chief diversity officer.

She led a number of different initiatives as the company rapidly expanded its employee base. In her previous role, Heastie was instrumental in strengthening employee relations’ activities, designed and executed the corporate safety council, and several business continuity strategies.

“I am excited to be the first Chief Diversity Officer at NewRez. Having spent my career in human resources, I have been fortunate to engage with and learn from our network of diverse employees,” said Heastie. “As we continue to move the needle forward, I look forward to creating and implementing more programs that will strengthen our workforce in diversity, equity and inclusion.” 

Mercantile Bank enters Cincinnati market 

Mercantile Bank of Michigan, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich., has opened a new mortgage lending center in Cincinnati, the bank’s first office location outside of Michigan.

The decision to expand its lending presence to the Cincinnati Tri-State Area “was driven by our confidence in the exceptional mortgage bankers joining the Mercantile team” at that location, coupled with a focus on a personal approach to the mortgage lending process, said Ray Reitsma, president of Mercantile Bank.

The team looks forward to joining the greater Cincinnati community, he said. “Our entire Mercantile family is excited to extend our team with the entrance into this market, as we continue to strategically grow our mortgage lending operation.”

The $4.4 billion asset, wholly owned subsidiary of Mercantile Bank Corporation now operates 39 banking offices across the state. Mercantile has been gradually expanding in Michigan through mergers with peer banks, the most recent in 2014, with Firstbank Corporation.

The new mortgage lending team in the Cincinnati office will offer customers a wide range of residential mortgage loan products from new purchases, to home refinancing and new construction loans.

“We are committed to providing innovative options and exceptional service,” said Scott Setlock, Mercantile Bank’s senior vice president of mortgage and consumer lending. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to expand our lending footprint” and become part of the Cincinnati Tri-State market.

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