Craig Cecilio is the CEO & Co-Founder of DiversyFund, an online alternative investment platform that is disrupting traditional wealth-building methods through the power of technology. A capital syndication expert and entrepreneur, Cecilio has over twenty years of industry experience as a lender or sponsor financing nearly $500 million of real estate assets. With DiversyFund, Craig has broken down the barriers to real estate investing by leveraging technology giving all investors the chance to participate in the highest quality alternative investments.
Tell us about yourself?
I’ve been living in San Diego since 1997, but I was born and raised in Fairfield, CT. I have spent the better part of my life in California. I’m married to my best friend and am the proud father of 2 lovely daughters, Scarlett and Brooklyn.
Before founding DiversyFund in 2016, I worked for nearly 20 years in real estate as a joint venture equity partner, lender and sponsor. All these deals made me realize that the traditional ways of raising money for real estate projects were archaic and excluded the retail investor. I’m a very driven, competitive guy and I’m really passionate about making the same wealth-building opportunities of the 1% available to the 99%
What makes you different than other professionals in your field?
Because of my experience as a syndicator and sponsor, I saw how the industry needed to be disrupted. I didn’t understand why wealth building opportunities were exclusive to the already wealthy. I am different in my mission to democratize the industry and open up these deals to the average American.
How much potential market share can you achieve in the next 3 years?
What we’re trying to do at DiversyFund is something new. Our goal is to be able to spread the opportunity to the Average American. Our goal today is to get in front of as many people as we can and be the market leader. I do hope that there will be more players in the space to push this industry forward and offer investors more avenues to build wealth.
What was the most important part of your professional journey?
DiversyFund was qualified by the SEC end of 2018 to open up out Growth REIT to non-accredited investor. This was a huge step in our mission to open up once exclusive investments to average Americans.
What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
I spend as much time with my girls, we get ice cream or some other treat, or do something fun. I would say the best money I spend is on activities with my family. The worst thing I would say is on recruiter fees. As a growing company, it’s so important to have the right culture fit aside from the right skillset. And that’s something that someone from outside your company cannot determine.
What takes up too much of your time?
A lot of people think that a CEO should be highly involved in the day to day work. And that’s what I’m trying to get off my plate so I can focus on needle moving actions. I believe that you can’t scale if the leaders do everything. To be successful, you have to be a master of delegation.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students/new startup business owners who want to become entrepreneurs?
● Stay hungry and don’t lose sight of why you’re doing what you’re doing. It won’t be easy but it’s up to you to persevere.
● Practice, practice, practice. This is the road to getting as close to perfect as you can.
● You can’t be a successful entrepreneur if you don’t fail. Fail fast and learn from your challenges.
Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
My Mom. Retirement hasn’t slowed her down. In fact, she opened a new chapter in her life creating amazing artwork. I think I get my drive from her.
What drives you to keep going when it’s really tough?
It’s so important to have a strong support system, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be blessed with three amazing women in my life–my wife and two daughters. My family has always supported me through the ups and the downs. I also have to say that I am driven by people who doubted my vision. They drove me to push the boundaries, be even more successful and never stop looking to the future.
How people should connect with you?