A future where neighbors own
the neighborhood


Hello Neighbor



As the wealth inequality gap continues to rise, housing and gentrification are topics of concern for many Americans. Real estate companies are symbols of rising rents that displace locals, the removal of social fabrics that make neighborhoods thrive, and decision making processes that ignore the needs and wants of communities.

Many people don’t have the opportunity to earn wealth created within their own neighborhood. In 2019, only 20% of Echo Park residents owned local property.

Nico (Neighborhood investment company) came to enso wanting to disrupt this exclusionary real estate approach and create a better model that serves neighborhood locals.

Shared Mission

Kicking off with an intensive 2-day collaborative sprint, enso then worked with the Nico co-founders and team to establish their brand positioning, narrative and shared mission to help people build a long-term financial stake in their communities by investing in local real estate.

To amplify the mission, we positioned Nico as an accessible financial product by developing a community-centered brand and launch approach that focused on Nico engaging with key stakeholders and Echo Park locals.

To bring our strategy to life, throughout the creative process we leveraged insights from community members and partnered with local artists to capture what makes Echo Park special to Angelenos.

Positive Impact

At launch, Nico offered shares in its real estate portfolio starting at $100, radically lowering the threshold to real estate investing.

To ensure they are reaching their social impact goals, Nico created an Impact Assessment Framework and has been hosting listening sessions with Echo Park locals.

Through these sessions, Nico moved quickly to support residents and commercial renters experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Nico committed $375,000 in available support by releasing all security deposits, establishing a $150,000 rent assistance program, and setting aside $100,00 in wealth grants to support residents with a long term investment in Echo Park.


You can now buy a piece of Echo Park for $100

At a brick bakery on Sunset Boulevard, Stephen McCarty sells technicolor rainbow cakes dyed with dragonfruit, blueberries, and turmeric. McCarty, who relocated from New York City in 2007, has developed a following for his vegan cakes.

'Neighborhood investment company' helps Los Angeles residents buy back the block

ImpactAlpha, Dec. 4, 2019 - Real estate shapes our cities and neighborhoods. And capital shapes real estate. A new model that enables local residents to buy into hyperlocal property portfolios could start to reshape real estate capital, and thus the drivers of community wealth.

New Real Estate Company Encourages Locals to Invest

ECHO PARK -A newly launched real estate company, called the Neighborhood Investment Company (NICO), allows those priced out of the scorching real estate market to become investors for less than some spend on coffee in a month. "Traditional homeownership is exclusive and way out of reach in Los Angeles," said NICO co-founder Max Levine.

Now renters can also make money in the real estate market as their neighborhoods gentrify

When neighborhoods rapidly gentrify and housing values soar, renters are left out of the financial windfall (and in the worst cases, are forced out of their apartments because they can no longer afford the area). A new startup called Nico-the name stands for "neighborhood investment company"-is designed to help many long-term residents earn a financial stake for the first time.

Echo Park Real Estate Investment Company Offers Rent Assistance to Coronavirus Impacted Tenants

1412-16 Echo Park Ave. is one of three buildings owned by NICO in Echo Park. The Neighborhood Investment Company (Nico), a real estate investment firm that owns three Echo Park apartment complexes, totaling 80 rental units, announced a rent assistance program for its tenants impacted by the coro ...

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