June 4, 2020
Every small change is a step toward big change. Eve Picker, Small Change
That she is just one person is hard to accept. A native Sydneyian and longtime resident of Pittsburgh, Eve’s footprint on social media is large, her range of projects is large, and her enthusiasm for teaching and learning about real estate development is enormous. In this session Eve highlights her trajectory, shows some projects, and explains the concept of crowd source funding and its potential impact on real estate.
If you missed WDC’s program, worry not. Eve Picker has a robust podcast series (Impact Real Estate Investing), website (https://evepicker.com/) and an investment platform (smallchange.co) where she expands on all points covered during the one-hour conversation.
Eve believes that incremental steps are the path toward radical change, and her presentation started with a quick tour of her investment platform. In highlighting projects sponsored by community-focused developers, Eve introduced the Small Change Index, a score card for a potential project’s contributions to improved mobility, community, and economic vitality. The platform looks to support projects with a minimum score of 60%, and an expectation that new or rehabilitated real estate inspires walkability, affordability, and social engagement.
Beyond improving the physical community, Small Change seeks to lower barriers to real estate investment, such that almost anyone can participate in their neighborhood’s economic development. Eve introduced the concept of ‘fintech’, new to some of us as a way to advance financial inclusion. While we may be comfortable with Venmo and Paypal, we may not yet appreciate fintech tools as an alternative to bank loans. But crowdfunding is the business model of Small Change, matching investors with developers seeking to raise funds, sometimes as a collection of small amounts from regular people. Eve believes crowd source funding can only grow as the SEC recently amended crowdfunding rules, simplifying regulations and raising investment caps.
The second half of the conversation was focused on a project that Eve is co-developing with her sister in Melbourne. Design by Breathe Architecture in one of the hottest real estate markets in the world, this mixed-use project combines residences for each owner with small-footprint condo units that are simple, bright, and highly sustainable. Real estate is expensive in Melbourne, and lots are becoming increasingly hard to find. Jeremy McLeod and his colleagues have built a practice on the rigorous pursuit of sustainable design that is beautiful and environmentally positive. That Eve, a trained architect, would find kindred spirits in the architects at Breathe is no wonder. They share commitments to community building and recognition that the financial models of development deserve the same scrutiny as any other aspect of design. No doubt their collective passion will be the foundation for this successful project. We only ask that Eve comes back with an update soon.