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Tampa startup tackles the wealth gap

Margie Manning

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Candice Bradley, founder and CEO, weRise Investments

The median family wealth for white families in the United States is eight times higher than the median family wealth for Black families.

Candice Bradley, founder and CEO of weRise Investments, plans to close that gap through an innovative investment model that connects friend and family groups to a technology-enabled platform to pool funds and socially invest in diversified portfolios.

“Not only will the individual be able to build wealth for themselves and their families, but also be able to simultaneously impact the community in a positive way,” Bradley said at Tampa Bay Wave’s TechWomen Rising Pitch Night.

Bradley, a Harvard University MBA with 15 years’ experience in financial services and real estate transactions, said Black families have not had the same access as white families to financial products that allow them to build wealth. Less than 40 percent of Black families say they own wealth building products, she said.

Some investment products are restricted to “accredited investors” — generally people with earned income that exceeds $200,000 (or $300,000 together with a spouse) or with a net worth over $1 million.

“weRise’s solution to this issue is to allow non-accredited investors to pool funds together and invest those funds into high-quality portfolios. Those portfolios will in turn own single-family rentals,” Bradley said. “These are the perfect first investment products for under-represented individuals for a number of reasons. First they are more conservative in nature and they also allow for complete and full transparency into the portfolios that they are investing into.”

weRise will have low account fees and low account minimums. The company also would have a gain on the sale of assets and ongoing property management fees, and would be able to generate carried interest, or a type of performance fee, if it provides outsized returns.

Bradley is a veteran of Raymond James Bank in St. Petersburg. Steve Raney, president and CEO of the bank, is on the weRise advisory team. So is David Zanaty, a principal at Atlanta-based real estate development firm Zanaty Capital Partners.

The weRise website says the company is “launching soon.”

The TechWomen Rising accelerator is Tampa Bay Wave’s most recent cohort of startup companies and is supported by a two-year, $500,000 philanthropic commitment by JPMorgan Chase in a partnership between Tampa Bay Wave and Embarc Collective. There are a total of 13 companies founded and led by women in the cohort. They will present again at a Nov. 17 Demo Day, with pitches directed at the accredited investors who are part of Wave’s investor network. To learn more about that network, click here.

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