From the Jacksonville Business Journal

Jan 5, 2023, 3:04pm EST



When Ponte Vedra Beach resident Lee Kaplan started investing in real estate years ago, he wasn’t making the profit he expected — in part because of cost overruns.

Instead of brooding over the disappointment, he launched Snap Build — a company that ensures builders have accessible capital while also helping them manage the construction process.

The Ponte Vedra-based fintech has experienced tremendous growth since its inception, grossing close to $1.4 million in 2021 and ended 2022 just short of $3 million.

Kaplan’s initial foray into the industry began in 2014 as a traditional residential construction lender. In 2021,he retooled the company as a fintech platform that promotes three simple steps: fund, build, manage. As well as funding construction, the platform manages the project budget and directly pays subcontractors and suppliers.

“We had a builder out of Georgia who came to us building eight to 15 houses per year,” Kaplan said. “At the end of 2022, he will have built 250. What we did was make him accountable. We ran the back of his business and instructed him to go find lots and build houses. I’ll do everything else for you, and he bought into it.”

Snap Build focuses on residential construction, including single-family homes, duplexes and small multi-family projects.

“We lend money to builders to allow them to build quicker, more efficiently and with accountability,” Kaplan said. “Our software controls the builds. What happens is, we lend money, that builder submits everything through our system, andpay everything directly. So we’re never directly giving money to the builder, although the builders are accountable for it.”

The loans are paid for using what is known as “Dutch interest,” in which interest is charged on the entire loan, rather than interest accruing as the loan is accessed.

Snap Build employs a staff of nine in its Ponte Vedra office, and the company’s lending footprint is heavy in the Sunbelt from Charlotte down to South Florida.

Austin, Texas has emerged as a prime locale. Kaplan recently opened a second office there, employing a staff of two.

The company’s momentum in Jacksonville is largely on the Northside with new construction in the $225,000 to $325,000 range.

“If someone says, ‘I want to build one house,’ that’s generally not a good fit for us. We engage high velocity builders,” Kaplan said.

For 2023, Snap Build’s focus is on evolving its software. While the system it has now cuts check once a week, a version launching in Q1 is designed to pay subcontractors and vendors instantaneously.

“No one else does it like that, so there’s no more weekly or biweekly payment, and that is a massive change in the industry,” Kaplan said. “Inspections and waivers come with it, so ultimately it’s about efficiency, transparency and accountability.”

Penny Dickerson


Jacksonville Business Journal