Blockchain firm Fundament has landed German real estate giant Bauwens as a strategic investor with $7.35 billion of projects to jumpstart its asset tokenization business.
Fundament CEO Thomas Ermel told CoinDesk that Bauwens acquired 15 percent stake of the firm in cash in September after beginning negotiations for a partnership in May.
Founded in 2017, the Berlin-based blockchain firm issues security tokens on ethereum blockchain to raise money for real estate development.
The company’s $280 million real estate bond token sale opens for both institutional and retail investors on Oct.8.
The token was initially to be backed by five separate construction projects, three in Hamburg, one in Frankfurt and one in the university town of Jena.
Ermel said the firm will also consider including some projects from Bauwens in its real estate portfolio for the token sale.
Bauwens is one of the top three project developers in volume in Germany, with investment in both residential and commercial real estate, including former Unilever headquarter Emporio Tower, one of the most iconic buildings in Hamburg, Germany.
While Bauwens’s massive pipeline will be available to tokenize, not every project from Bauwens fits Fundament’s investment criteria, Ermel said.
He said the strategy pursues a mid-to-long term investment approach for commercial real estate and other properties in seven major metropolitan regions in Germany.
“We will select the most suitable projects out of the pipeline for our portfolio.”
Fundament co-founder Robin Matzke, a policy advisor to the German government, said Bauwens provides access to a wide range of real estate projects, including the in-demand sub-sectors of hotels, daycare facilities to co-working spaces.
The current portfolio being tokenized includes residential, commercial and hotel properties, totaling more than 680,000 square feet upon completion. The company projects a return on the projects in the mid-to high single digits.
Ermel said that beside the diversity of Bauwens’ real estate projects, the construction giant has a name recognition that attracts major investors who might be reticent to back a blind capital pool for a tokenized property fund.
“The venture capital arm of Bauwens is already involved with 40 tech firms in the real estate space,” Ermel said. “That is one of the reasons why they were very interested in tokenized real estate bonds.”
Fundament became the first firm in July with the approval from Germany’s financial regulator BaFIN to issue regulated tokenized real estate-backed bonds.
In a statement, Alexander Jacobi, managing director of Bauwens digital GmbH, said:
“We are delighted to announce this partnership with Fundament Group which recently achieved a decisive breakthrough in Germany by securing the first regulated tokenized real estate bond.”