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If you think Ben Miller is just riding famous father Herb's coattails, think again. Fundrise, and the crowd-sourcing means of real estate funding his firm represents, is picking up serious steam across the nation. And that's why we're excited to have him as a speaker at our 5th Annual Washington Real Estate Summit May 7 at the Wardman Park.

Before co-founding Fundrise in 2010 with brother Dan, UPenn grad Ben helped acquire, develop, and finance more than $500M worth of deals at both WestMill Capital and Western Development. His latest venture allows the public to invest in both existing projects and ground-up development. Ben says his team is raising nearly a million dollars a week for its offerings, many of which are in hot markets like Brooklyn, Austin, and Philly. He tells us Fundrise just launched new offerings in Chapel Hill, NC (a net-leased CVS right near UNC) as well as in Michigan (a home builder lending program).

The District has taken notice, awarding development rights to its 965 Florida Ave project to a team comprised of MRP Realty, Ellis Development, and Fundrise. Ben and company have raised nearly $1M toward the project, a 370k SF mixed-use project, with apartments and ground-floor retail. Click here for more info on the May 7 event featuring Ben, mayoral candidate Muriel Bowser, Brookfield Office CEO Mitch Rudin, Black Entertainment Television founder and now major hotel magnate Bob Johnson, and many more top players. (We're crowd-sourcing our drink menu: do you want coffee, or coffee?)