Skip to Main Content
Scotiabank Digital Banking Lab


RealStarter logo
Crowdfunding | Quebec City, QC | Founded: 2016 | Employees: 1-10 |


Last updated December 29, 2018 | To download a PDF version, click here

Company Overview

RealStarter is a crowdfunding platform that allows you to invest up to $ 1500 in real estate projects led by experienced promoters with a return target of between 8% and 12%. RealStarter offers debt and equity investment vehicles tailored to each project. Investors must complete an investor profile and can access investment opportunities upon approval. Overall, they are democratizing access to real estate investment, but allowing for substantially smaller cheque sizes than traditional real estate investing.

Senior Management

Do Nguyen: President & co-founder (2016-present). Previously: Founder, Gesto (2013-present); Java Developer, SSQ Groupe Financier (2012-2013). Education: B.E, Information Technology (2002), Concordia University.

Jean-Sebastien Drolet: Secretary and co-founder (2016-present). Previously: Legal Advisor, Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (CDPQ) (2016-2018). Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Law (2015), Laval University; MD, Medicine (2023) Montreal University.


Francis Lavoie is the Co-founder with significant experience in the real estate market. In 2016, approval from the Autorite des marches financiers (AMF) allowed it possible for a real estate operator to raise funds from a large number of people to achieve capital for a specific project.  The license held by RealStarter, entitles each person to invest up to $1500 per project, and the promoter can claim up to $500,000 per year.  The Co-founders collectively discovered inefficiencies in the market for real estate investment, and the license granted by the AMF opened the door for them to take advantage of the inaccessibility of real estate investing to the average investor.  Real estate is not accessible to the average investor due to large down payments and time to find attractive investment opportunities.  Overall, RealStarter makes the market more accessible to the traditional investor. 


There is a lack of information available on the funding history of RealStarter. 

Key Corporate Developments

Nov 25, 2016: Real Estate Crowdfunder RealStarter offers big returns
Nov 21, 2017: Invest Through Sociofinancing
Feb 23, 2017: Jean-Sébastien Drolet, RealStarter on Making Real Estate Investments Accessible


Business Highlights


RealStarter’s strategy offers a unique business model for their customers:

  • Niche Business Model: In the real estate market, it is increasingly difficult for developers to finance themselves through a financial institution. As another alternative, there are private loans, but interest rates are often very high in the short term, from 15% to 25%. RealStarter is positioning themselves between the two, by facilitating the ease of financing for real estate developers at a cheaper alternative to private loans.[1]



  • Crowdfunding Platform: RealStarter earns money off their platform through a five to nine per cent commission on the fundraising campaigns. Each campaign lasts 90 days. If the target capital raise is not reached, the money will be returned to investors.[2] The investor will receive debt or equity instruments in return for their investment. They can own shares in the company through a loan that the developer takes from the individual investor.



Do Nguyen developed the platform for RealStarter. Using their network of investors and developers, RealStarter platform can source investments for real estate projects from prospective investors. Funds are held for 90 days or until the full raise.


The primary value proposition that RealStarter offers is its method of distribution of real estate investing. Through platform-enabled crowdfunding of real estate investments, the entire fundraising process is done digitally for any investor.


RealStarter does not have external marketing aside from posting on a blog on their website. The blog mainly consists of updates to the community, and articles written on the company.



There are many real estate crowdfunding sites out there, many of which located in the United States.  Here are some of RealStarter’s competitors:

  1. Fundrise – (United States) Fundrise is a real estate crowdfunding platform that offers multiple portfolios to attract investors to. The portfolios differ from size of investment, return/risk profile, and basic to advanced plans.
  2. Realty Shares – (San Francisco, USA) Realty Shares is a real estate crowdfunding platform that is one of the highest ranked platforms in North America. They have 50-100 employees.

Corporate Profile Created By: Jack West, Ivey HBA2
Jack West



Connect with Ivey Business School