RealtyShares Names Industry Vet to BOD

Edward Forst brings a wealth of experience to the online crowdfunding operation, having worked with Cushman & Wakefield and Goldman Sachs.

Edward Forst, the former president & CEO of Cushman & Wakefield, has become the newest member of RealtyShares’ board of directors.

Edward Forst
Edward Forst

With Cushman & Wakefield, Forst oversaw 16,000 real estate professionals in 60 countries.

“People didn’t think technology could make an impact in real estate, but more and more it is finding its way into key markets,” Forst told Commercial Property Executive. “It is still an industry heavily dependent on human interaction, but that is changing. There is no doubt in my mind that the market RealtyShares is taking on is ripe to have more price discovery, info sharing and transaction execution excellence, powered by our technology platform.”

RealtyShares is led by CEO Nav Athwal and Arash Sotoodehnia, chief credit officer and former head of risk at Citi Mortgage. Other leaders include Bryan Schultz and Shelton Getter, former BlackRock directors, and Bill Lanting, former Partners Capital and Thorofare vet, heading the commercial debt product team.

The real estate crowdfunding online marketplace has looked to expand its presence of late and has made several moves as part of this strategy. In December, the company hired Bill Lanting as vice president of commercial debt originations, and last fall, it announced it had exceeded the $200 million mark in capital raising.

“Capital markets have been at the core of my career and what small and medium-sized institutional investors have lacked is a trusted, highly-selective sourcing and execution engine for real estate,” Forst said. “It has been very cumbersome to identify two or three primary originators and toggle a spotlight onto the best opportunities for you. That is one of the powerful aspects of RealtyShares. We are about helping you target and efficiently mine the right real estate opportunities pre-screened with a high caliber underwriting process.”

Forst brings a wealth of experience to the company. Before his position as Cushman & Wakefield’s leader, he served as a co-head of investment management and co-CEO at Goldman Sachs Asset Management International Ltd., as well as managing director and co-head of investment management of the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. In all, he spent 16 years with the company.

He also spent a dozen years at Bankers Trust Co. and was a senior advisor at Fenway Partners LLC. He is a treasurer and trustee of Carnegie Hall, a member of the advisory board of the Harvard Stem Cell Science Initiative, a member of the board of advisors of the Yale University School of Management, and is a trustee of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. 

“Ed has a perfect mix of operating experience, as CEO at Cushman & Wakefield, and tremendous connections in the capital markets world owing to his time at Goldman Sachs,” Athwal said. “Not to mention he is a great mentor and strong believer of what we’re doing here at RealtyShares. Our company sits at the intersection of technology, real estate and capital markets, so Ed is going to be a pivotal board member and can help strengthen the legitimacy of our business model with lenders, institutions and other high-powered real estate incumbents.”