About us

What is Nico?

Nico is a neighborhood investment company that makes it possible for people who love their neighborhood to build a long-term financial stake in their community by investing in local real estate.

We started Nico because too many people are left out of earning wealth created within their own neighborhoods. Nico changes that by radically lowering the threshold for owning an interest in local real estate.

Our mission is to localize wealth creation and broaden access to neighborhood equity. Initially, we’ll do that with the launch of Nico Echo Park—the world’s first Neighborhood REIT. A real estate investment trust (REIT) is a type of company that owns a portfolio of income-producing properties that people can become shareholders in. A Neighborhood REIT means all properties owned are located in a specific neighborhood—in this case, in and around Echo Park, a vibrant and dynamic neighborhood near downtown Los Angeles.

What is a public benefit corporation?

Most companies operate within a corporate structure that legally requires them to maximize shareholder value. Public benefit corporations are different. By choosing to organize Nico Echo Park as a public benefit corporation, Nico is committed to pursuing positive social, and environmental outcomes as well as financial value for shareholders. Learn more about the Nico Impact Assessment Framework.

Nico team

Nico is headquartered in Echo Park and led by a team of professionals with diverse backgrounds, and a common belief that equitable neighborhoods are vital to healthy societies.

Chloe English

Chloe is the product manager at Nico where she collaborates with stakeholders to figure out what needs there are and what to build to satisfy them. Her background is in architectural theory and she’s worked on building things inside the art world, music industry, and beyond. Outside of work she can be found wandering the Bonaventure Hotel.

Frank Melli

Frank is the vice president of operations at Nico and handles anything that needs to get done. He began his career working on social benefit projects in Los Angeles, then practiced law in New York, and for the last five years has worked in a wide range of roles within real estate in LA. When not at work, Frank and his wife Marie spend time chasing their son Abel around Echo Park Lake.

John Chaffetz

John is co-founder and president of Nico. He has worked as an entrepreneur and investor in real estate markets across Seattle, Salt Lake City, and Los Angeles, with a focus on the urban environment. John is an avid cook with a special interest in BBQ and the grill. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Heather and daughter, Marina.

Justin Kazmark

Justin leads communications at Nico. Previously, he was vice president of communications at Kickstarter, where he worked for nine years generating stories in service of the company’s mission to bring creative projects to life. He once thru-hiked all 2,663 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail and now spends his time planning family camping trips across California.

Kaitlin Brennan

Kaitlin is the content and social lead at Nico. She has over seven years of experience working for startups doing marketing, content, and digital strategy. She loves building and creating things with passionate people. When she’s not working on startup projects, Kaitlin can be found performing improv, sketch comedy, or forcing close friends to listen to her standup routine.

Karina Seljak

Karina is the marketing manager at Nico. She holds a degree in both Advertising and Fine Arts Fashion and was previously working with Australian Ethical Investment. She's co-founder and creative director at Seljak Brand, which makes closed-loop merino blankets. Karina is most inspired when travelling and spending time in nature.

Leslie Hsu

Leslie is an operations associate at Nico and has a background in subscription and transportation operations. She has a passion for customer service and is highly focused on aligning execution with customer satisfaction. When not at the dog park with her pooch she can be found at a spin or barre studio constantly challenging herself.

Manny Rodriguez

Manny is Nico’s maintenance technician lead and handles all property updates. Previously, Manny worked as a project manager for large residential and multi-family ground-up projects where he managed the construction and the opening of several prominent properties in LA. When not at work, he is with his family and friends. His favorite hobbies are hiking, horseback riding, and fishing.

Max Levine

Max is co-founder and CEO of Nico. He's worked in real estate investment and the hospitality industry for 15 years, including as CFO of Storage Deluxe/Uovo Fine Art Storage and a principal of Mile End Deli in Brooklyn. Max enjoys exploring neighborhoods, watching ice hockey, and cooking. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Kari and son Oliver.

Say Park

Say is a consulting financial analyst at Nico. Previously Say was an analyst focused on financial planning and analysis, and investment functions at Storage Deluxe, and Uovo Fine Art Storage. Say enjoys discovering new restaurants.