Fayetteville brokerage AcreTrader, the online farmland investing platform, said Thursday (Feb. 4) that it quadrupled its investor pool in 2020.
In a news release outlining the company’s growth, founder and CEO Carter Malloy said investment growth on the company’s proprietary real estate investing platform grew 12 times last year, well into the tens of millions.
Founded in 2019, AcreTrader has accepted investors from 48 states, doubled its employee count to 25 and confirmed 500 investor distributions in December 2020 alone.
“2020 was tumultuous for our economy, and because of that, we’ve seen more investors seek out diverse investments beyond the traditional stock market,” Malloy said in a statement. “Farmland investing has historically seen low volatility in our evolving market, making it an attractive option for investors that are looking to diversify.
“We’ve built a qualified team of technologists and farm analysts that are constantly identifying opportunities in farmland, which keeps us deeply ingrained in the space alongside our customers and partners. We’re eager to continue bridging the gap between farmers and investors in the years to come.”
The company also completed a seed round of funding in 2020 with a total raise of over $5 million.
According to AcreTrader, farmland investments have generated over 11% average returns for the past 30 years with lower volatility than most other asset classes. While the global population and demand for food continue to increase, land supply decreases, with development removing roughly three acres per minute in the U.S. Malloy said those dynamics are driving consistent, long-term appreciation of the asset class.
“As a farmer, a challenge we face can be adding land to our growing operation,” said Jim Jackson, an apple grower working with AcreTrader. “What’s unique about AcreTrader is they’ve helped me secure new land in my area to expand the orchard, without the hassle and logistics that typically go into raising funds. Their team is filled with people who have real agricultural experience, making the communication that much more seamless.”
AcreTrader hired Cyril Jones, a product leader with more than 20 years of industry experience, as its new director of product development and grew its total employee count by over 100% in 2020, with strategic hires across the company’s farm sourcing and engineering teams.