Dallas-based fintech startup Backflip is trying to solve America’s housing crisis by making it easier for real estate investors to sell older homes. The startup – which has developed an app that allows users to find and analyze a potential home in order to flip it, finance it and learn more about the whole process in the process – received an $8 million seed funding round and 27 Millions of US dollars in dedicated debt financing. Investors included: Vertical Venture Partners and LiveOak Venture Partners with participation from Revel Partners, Great Oaks VC and Greg Waldorf, former founding investor and board member at Trulia and Zillow.
Backflip launched its private beta in 2021. App users have already analyzed more than $2 billion in investment opportunities, and Backflip Capital, the app’s funding arm, has funded more than $100 million in loans for its users to buy houses and turn around.
D Managing Director spoke to Backflip Founder and CEO Josh Ernst to talk about the company, growth and more.
D Managing Director: What makes Backflip different from its competitors?
ERNST: “Real estate investors have a hard time. You must balance creativity and entrepreneurship with practicality and organization. To be repeatedly successful, they need to know several things including: local real estate markets, marketing and sales, project and people management, design and construction, financial and investment analysis, and capital raising and risk management.
“Most people just can’t be exceptional at all of these things. This is where backflip comes into play. We help entrepreneurs focus on what they inherently do best – their individual space – while providing tools for the mundane and data-driven tasks.
“Who says great tools have to come at a high price? We give our technology away for free because it helps our members make smarter investment decisions. Who says real estate investors have to wait 30 days or more just to find out a bank won’t lend them a loan? We guarantee our members, the assets and the markets in advance, which has enabled us to complete loans in just five days. Coin lenders typically charge 12 to 14 percent interest to close a loan that quickly – our interest rates average 7 to 10 percent.
What about rising mortgage rates and inflation? We haven’t increased our prices at all, on the contrary, we plan to lower them. We work hard to raise standards across the industry and provide access to affordable investment finance. Supporting local real estate entrepreneurs is the best way to modernize neighborhoods while maintaining their unique charm and authenticity.”
D Managing Director: How do you intend to use the funds raised?
ERNST: “There are four main pillars that we are focusing on in the short term, all of which serve our members with better products and higher quality service. We invest heavily in our engineering team to improve our technology products; scaling our lending business; Introducing innovative new capital products to support our members’ real estate investment ambitions; and make strategic branding and marketing investments that drive growth.”
D Managing Director: Why was Dallas the right place to start backflip?
ERNST: “Dallas has all the makings of a fantastic city to build a business – especially a real estate and fintech company. The talent pool is robust, there is a thriving tech startup ecosystem, and the reputation of Dallas’ real estate industry is legendary. Dallas has deep roots in finance, private equity and more recently in the burgeoning fintech sector. Several investors and team members are proud to call Dallas home, including myself. Putting up the backflip flag in Dallas was a breeze.”
The Realm at Castle Hills is adding 11 new retailers
Lewisville’s $1.5 billion, 800-acre, mixed-use development The Realm at Castle Hills will add 11 new retailers this spring and summer. Upon completion, Bright Realty’s development along SH 121 will consist of 5,000 multi-family units; 1.5 million square feet of retail, offices and restaurants; a boutique hotel; an extensive trail system; and an outdoor entertainment district.
“Denton County’s population is exploding, seeing a 53 percent increase between 2000 and 2010 and another 29 percent increase between 2010 and 2018,” said Chris Bright, CEO of Bright Realty. “People who are flocking to the area want the walkable places to live, work and play that they can find in urban developments. We’re giving them that with The Realm and offering unique retailers that you don’t often find elsewhere.”
In total, the 11 new units will occupy nearly 35,000 square feet. Coming soon:
- Saray Mediterranean Fusion Grill & Bar: Offers a fusion of Mediterranean cuisine including Turkish, Lebanese, Greek and Syrian cuisine
- Mochinut: a restaurant that combines the Japanese rice cake (mochi) and the American donut
- Salon Bellus: a salon specializing in color, cuts, blowouts, treatments and makeup
- Salubrious Juice & More: an organic juice and juice cleansing, acai bowl, smoothie, panini, and avocado toast restaurant
- Hotworx: an exercise program that combines heat and yoga, barre, pilates and cardio
- Luster Grill – Restaurant serving teriyaki-inspired dishes and sushi
- Bahama Bucks: shaved ice, smoothies and sodas
- Food Morning: serves sizzling breakfasts and creative brunches
- Cool Heads: a men’s salon with old-school barber chairs, Xbox video game stations, and free drinks
- Castle Hills Animal Hospital: a full service animal hospital
- Cachet Salons & Spa: offers luxury rental space for professional salons
Unleashed Brands acquires Youth Esports League
Dallas-based Unleashed Brands — a growing company that operates children’s development and entertainment franchises — has acquired the North Carolina-based XP League, a youth esports franchise. This is the company’s fifth acquisition in nine months.
“The addition of XP League to our family of brands is exciting for us as the global esports market is expected to reach $2 billion in value over the next year,” said Michael O. Browning Jr., Founder and CEO of Unleashed Brands. “There is so much room for growth and product innovation in the future.”
Unleashed Brands is also the parent company of Premier Martial Arts, Snapology, The Little Gym, Class 101 and Urban Air Adventure Park.
Grapevine Adds New Entertainment Concept Chicken N Pickle
North Texas is fast becoming a hub for new entertainment concepts, and Grapevine has just been a part of that.
With TopGolf, Drive Shack, Invited, Dave & Busters, Main Event and others all headquartered in North Texas, the region is well positioned to continue to attract new entertainment concepts. So far, the “Topgolf of Soccer” TOCA Social has brought a venue to Dallas; Virtual Reality Gaming Center Two Bit Circus Opens in North Texas; and Electric Shuffle — a tech-inspired shuffleboard bar and restaurant — is operational at Deep Ellum.
The newest is Chicken N Pickle, a restaurant and sports bar with pickle ball courts, shuffleboard and bocce ball courts, now open on the 8,000 square foot Delaney Vineyards.
“Grapevine has a well deserved reputation as a leisure and entertainment hub. Our diverse market includes DFW Airport, outstanding schools, award-winning festivals, numerous resorts and hotels, a beautiful 60-mile lake and an extensive network of hiking trails,” said Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate. “Chicken N Pickle will be an exciting, perfect addition to the City of Grapevine. Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America and we are so excited to have Chicken N Pickle in this very prominent and beautiful place. The pickleball courts, court games and locally sourced foods will create an environment where all ages create memories for years to come.”
Ben Swager is Associate Editor for D Managing Directorthe trade name for D magazine. Ben manages the Dallas 500…