Today we’re excited to announce our new mobile app, Stairs, now available as a limited beta for Apple and Android phones.
For over eight years, the private real estate investment opportunities available on Groundfloor's platform have provided everyday investors with the chance to diversify their portfolios into a lucrative alternative asset class with less volatility and more liquidity than traditional public market options. The response to our investment products has been overwhelmingly positive, especially during last year’s COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic uncertainty. Everyday investors jumped at the opportunity to earn more while taking less risk and preserving their liquidity in the short term. Despite the pandemic’s unprecedented challenges, we set new records for investor growth, ending the year with a 50% year-over-year increase in investor activity.
Last year’s market turbulence also fueled demand for other products that provided even more short-term liquidity and security as investors weathered the COVID-19 storm. We recognized an opportunity to provide a product that would offer investors the security and low volatility of certificates of deposit (CDs) or money market accounts, but with a much higher yield. In response, in March 2020, we announced the expansion of Groundfloor Notes.
Groundfloor Notes vs. LROs
Like CDs or bonds, Groundfloor Notes offer date-delimited repayment terms as short as 30 days. They are backed by tangible assets such as the first-lien real estate investment loans (LROs) we originate. Unlike LROs, the timing and amount of Note repayment is not dependent upon the repayment or sale of the underlying loans. The combination of a security interest in a pool of loans, shorter holding period, and fixed repayment date present a lower risk profile than our standard LRO offerings.
Groundfloor Notes thus provide an attractive option for investors seeking a stable, short-term investment product that provides a higher yield than a traditional bond or savings account. Depending on which Note investors select, returns typically range from 3% to 7% and minimum investment amounts are as low as $1,000. At the maturity of each Note, investors have the option to withdraw their earnings or roll them over into another investment available on our platform. Last week, we introduced monthly interest payments on our 12-month Note, giving investors the opportunity to add more regular and predictable cash flow to their portfolios.
Our Notes product has become a popular investment and diversification option with over $120 million invested. For regulatory reasons, Groundfloor Notes are currently only available to accredited investors, shareholders, and those who have been investing with us for a year or more. Those who do not fall into these categories or prefer to invest less than the minimum required for Notes are still able to take advantage of secured debt notes through a new smartphone app we’ve developed called Stairs.
Stairs: A New App from Groundfloor
Stairs is a set-it-and-forget-it investing app that, like Groundfloor Notes, is also backed by non-traded secured debt notes. The Stairs notes automatically repay and reinvest every 5 days and offer a range of 4-6% interest, based on market conditions and investor demand.
Since Groundfloor specializes in short-term securities supported by first liens on single family residential investment properties, Stairs is a natural evolution of Groundfloor's Notes product suite and a new and innovative way for investors to participate in the private capital markets we serve.
The best way to grow a portfolio is by regularly adding more to it. With a recurring investment feature and the ability to roll up your spare change, Stairs is an excellent way to save while earning up to 12 times the interest provided by traditional high yield savings accounts. There are no fees or minimum balances, and Stairs users can withdraw their funds anytime. With Stairs, it’s easier than ever to save without sacrificing returns.
A beta version of the Stairs app is currently available for Apple/iPhone and Android and can be downloaded by clicking the button corresponding to your device below.
You can use your existing Groundfloor credentials to sign into Stairs and link to your bank account from Groundfloor. However, please note that you cannot transfer funds between your Groundfloor and Stairs accounts with this current beta release version.
Notes and Stairs: What’s Next
We offer Notes on a regular funding schedule to allow you to ladder your investments in a way that meets your cash flow and liquidity needs. As we have periodically done in the past, we will occasionally release special Notes, including those with a higher minimum investment amount, that pay a premium above our standard Groundfloor Note rates as we adjust to market conditions. We hope you will take advantage of Stairs as well, and look forward to your feedback!
Since its inception in 2013, Groundfloor has stood for independence, freedom, and control over your finances. Our private real estate loans provide everyday investors with an opportunity to opt out of the traditional financial system, while earning exceptional risk-adjusted returns with low volatility -- without giving up control over where and how their capital is put to work. As we continue to evolve in sophistication and respond to the changing needs of our growing user base, we’re committed to developing products and services that facilitate this mission.
We designed Groundfloor Notes and the Stairs app to be yet another tool in your tool belt as you continue building wealth with us, and we’d love to hear what you think. Please feel free to leave a note in the comments, or reach out to us directly at email@example.com. Your feedback is important to us as we continue to improve our product offerings, and we always appreciate hearing from you.