The platform is called AcrePro and will be administered through a software offering that aims to simplify transaction management and provide access to a collection of proprietary farmland market data and analysis.
Plans call for AcrePro to begin with a focus on Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Missouri, Illinois, North Dakota and Minnesota.
The unit is led by former Re/MAX president Geoff Lewis, who joined the firm in September. Lewis told Agri Investor that whereas AcreTrader is focused on providing individual investors opportunities to own a portion of a farmland property, AcrePro will focus on brokering transactions for entire parcels.
He explained that individual investors and existing farmers are likely to be the most active investor types for deals that are expected to remain above a minimum threshold of about $1 million.
AcrePro has hired a team of roughly 15 employees and Lewis said it has started with a focus on markets where AcreTrader is already most active. The unit is expected to be operating nationwide with a team of up to 50 employees within 12 to 24 months, he added.
“There are only a couple of firms that have a somewhat national scope,” Lewis said. “We intend to be a national company and bring a national scope to the business and bring in many of the advanced marketing and technology tools that have been used in other areas of real estate. The land industry has largely not kept up.”
Denver, Colorado-based Lewis plans to commute to AcrePro’s Fayetteville, Arkansas headquarters. According to his LinkedIn profile, he spent more than 12 years in Denver-based positions at Re/MAX, a global real estate franchisor, that culminated in nearly three years as president ending in early 2018. The profile shows Lewis previously served as vice-president and general counsel at healthcare REIT American Health Properties and the Hyster-Yale Group, a New York Stock Exchange-listed producer of forklift trucks.
Fayetteville, Arkansas-headquartered AcreTrader was founded in 2018 and raised $12 million in a March Series A led by Chicago-headquartered Jump Capital. The round also included Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Fund and RZC Investments, a unit of Bentonville, Arkansas-headquartered Runway Group, which was founded by Walmart heirs.