8 minute read
October 19, 2020
Connecting Real Estate's Information Silos with Pablo Garnica of Arextech
This article originally appeared on www.buildingproptech.com, a retired blog where I interviewed proptech founders on how they were building and growing their businesses.
Hey Pablo! How did you end up working in PropTech?
I studied a double bachelor in law and business administration in university. During this time (and afterwards), I was mainly focused on finance and strategy consulting. Before this venture, I spent close to five years at Goldman Sachs in London, in a hybrid advisory and execution role within investment management.
My path to proptech was more through the tech than the prop. The reason why I landed on the proptech space was that I'd seen the exponential evolution of the financial sector from within and after some research and personal experience saw that a similar change was overdue in real estate. Specifically, when I met my co-founder Miguel, we had a lot of ideas around the application of blockchain in the space.
We entered won first prize at a Proptech competition and went from there.
What problem are you working to solve with Arextech?
At a very high level, we are looking to fill the gap between where real estate is currently and a point where the latest technological innovations may be applied. It's our thesis that digitalization is what brings real estate into the realm of possibility. We address information silos and disconnected processes associated with the real estate asset's lifecycle.
How is Arextech financed?
Raised USD 700,000 in convertible notes from angel investors and Techstars.
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What is Arextech's growth strategy?
We are pretty experimental about our growth strategy. To state the obvious, we look to maximise both network and viral effects to get a healthy inbound pipeline. We use smart AI tools to find and manage outbound leads. One of our latest growth strategies has been to leverage real estate's lifecycle to capture additional clients.
To be more specific, we've been targeting development and investment projects (i.e. early-stage processes), so we can prepare the asset in such a way that we incentivize the adoption of our platform by successive users in later stages of the lifecycle, managers, investors and tenants.
What tactics have you tested for growing your user base and revenue? What has been most effective?
As discussed in my previous point, designing a process that turns our clients into our most effective sales team has been a recent experiment.
One of the particularities of this approach is that the real estate asset lifecycle is or can be quite long; so it will take a while before we can ascertain the full potential of this approach.
In the period that we've been working on this strategy, we've already been successful in increasing our user base on the platform.
What has been the hardest part of building, growing or monetizing Arextech?
In our case, there have been many hard parts that we're still working hard at. One of the toughest parts has been simplifying our value proposition o our clients to a point where it's a clear "pain-killer" and not just a "vitamin".
That means effectively conveying that unless some real estate businesses prepare for the future that's coming, they will become obsolete very quickly. This has been hard because it has to be conveyed in our messaging as much as in our product and internal procedures.
It's a message many don't want to hear, and it's not always an easy conversation to have.
What insights about real estate and technology have you came to realize whilst building Arextech?
We found that there are two approaches to innovation in real estate (and in general).
The first approach is that of those who are looking to innovate to reproduce the legacy processes in place. In other words, change everything, so things remain the same. This may be interpreted as businesses addressing symptoms rather than the source of their pain.
The second approach is the one taken by true innovators, where they innovate to evolve and become better. They aren't afraid to change to achieve long term competitiveness.This is something that we've seen highlighted throughout the pandemic as companies are forced to make tough decisions for the future.
Where can we find out more about Arextech and connect with you?
Check out our website for more info.