Arextech's business idea came after a long process of purification and design thinking. The founders met while working at Goldman Sachs in London. Both founders had a very practical approach to distributed ledger technology and how it could be applied to the real estate industry.
At first, they started discussing the possibility of issuing shares of individual real estate assets that would be managed by smart contracts. This idea won first place in CBRE's Proptech Challenge. They used the prize money funds to set up a company and start research. They soon came to realise that much work still had to be done before tokenisation could be practical and beneficial to society. They continued their research and came to the conclusion that the real estate transaction (broadly speaking) was flawed and that a little improvement could go a long way to improve market liquidity and information standards.
As with most successful endeavours, it has been an iterative process where Arextech has learned something every step of the way. Following their award (when the team was only made up of the founders), they started engaging people interested in collaborating with the project out of pure passion and a shared vision of potential.
A defining moment was when the idea got selected two times as top 50 proptech startups in Europe, the first one by Proptech Lab and the European Commission, in Brussels, and the second one by the Real Estate Innovation Network, in London. After this, Arextech started gaining momentum and Techstars invited the founders to join their proptech accelerator program with Colliers International alongside other 9 top proptech companies in the world. At the time, Arextech was the only Spanish startup and among the only 2 European. With their investment and support the company was established and set up in Canada where it now remains.
Arextech is a B2B software company that simplifies, automates and scales complex real estate transaction and management processes. Arextech is based in Toronto, Canada and it currently operates in North America and Europe.
Arextech aims to transform real estate into a liquid, transparent and efficient asset class where, no matter how big or small the investor is, everyone will have the opportunity to participate.
Arextech wants to set a standard for carrying out real estate transactions no matter how big or small.
This achievement would be the first domino in a long chain reaction that would first cheapen, speed up and secure real estate transactions. The immediate effect is that real estate will be more accessible and fairer to the general public.
If Arextech goes even further, this unlocks further benefits. These include better quality information of real estate markets, better pricing, lower barriers to entry for international investment and; cast your eye even further; it will unlock other types of transactions such as partial/shared ownership.
Arextech team members are a diverse cross-disciplinary team with experience in entrepreneurship and demanding, standard-setting organisations. Much has been achieved in a short period thanks to a fortunate blend of experience, creativity and drive. Arextech's team combines a design mindset with engineering and financial rigour. Pragmatism permeates every activity. Arextech offers an outsider’s perspective to real estate while partnering with industry leaders to address the fundamental problems their clients face rather than just the symptoms.
The team’s most significant credential in Arextech's history is their clients' satisfaction and validation obtained from their clients in this and previous ventures.
Education backgrounds: Software Engineering, Design, Business Administration (MBA), Finance, Law, Digital Marketing, Industrial Engineering (M.Eng.), Brand Strategy, Advertising.
Prior experience: Goldman Sachs, Monitor Deloitte, Zurich, MSCI, CEMEX, Santander, Telefónica, M&C Saatchi as well as multiple entrepreneurial ventures. Arextech have also successfully completed Techstars’ Proptech Accelerator in 2019.
The Problem Statement
Not having the right tools to carry out real estate transactions forces consumers to rely on trusted third parties that charge expensive fees. This raises the cost of real estate to consumers or pushes them to cut corners and run unnecessary risks.
Consumers acquiring or investing in real estate today must do so through manual, error-prone, paper-based steps. Offline.
Online marketplaces and real estate listing sites are limited to advertising and providing contact details.
The transition of traditional businesses to digital solutions has been cumbersome. Unnecessary layers have been added to legacy systems and procedures, and work has been duplicated rather than simplified. Irregularities arise from the added complication, which has led to partial adoption and usage.
From an upside potential, having inadequate, disconnected tools (if any) limits the ability to make informed decisions and eventually execute them safely.
The cost of acquiring real estate in the way it’s done today goes beyond mere monetary cost. Professionals work for the process when the process in place should work for them.
Arextech has 3 integrated solutions:
- Sympl.deals - collaborative real estate transaction platform, for brokers and investment teams.
- Sympl.properties - portfolio appraisal and information exchange facilitating tool, for advisory and valuations teams.
- Sympl.trade - coming soon.
A real estate transaction execution platform that incorporates the requirements of performing an acquisition digitally and leverages blockchain technology.
The main technological advantage is enabling end-to-end digital real estate transactions.
This is achieved by integrating the transaction execution tools so that the actions required to carry out the transaction occur online. In turn, this removes the cost of getting information on-chain, which ensures the quality of the information that is input into the distributed ledger and unlocks potential for automation and verification.
Blockchain allows, for the first time, for transactions to be carried out digitally and safely. Arextech's thesis is that, because of real estate’s particular nature, such benefits can be enjoyed much quicker because digitising the abstract processes that govern them is enough.
The reason to start with a Decentralised app is that Arextech is dealing with mostly offline & paper-based procedures. Otherwise, Arextech could just interface existing digital processes. Moreover, the D app layer allows us to leverage existing tools which Arextech is connecting, and in some cases, repurposing to host otherwise analogue processes.
Note that Arextech makes a distinction between tools and processes. Tools need not be real estate specific, whereas processes are inherently so. This layer allows Arextech to connect both effectively to foster scale and automation.
Arextech is strategically enabling their platform to leverage blockchain technology because it allows Arextech to solve trust issues which are so inherent to real estate transactions that one has grown accustomed to them.
Blockchain allows for the safe storage of transaction and ownership data. This stems from the fact that records are immutable and that there is no single point of failure that can jeopardise the integrity of the system, unlike traditional databases.
As mentioned above, there is no need to do anything to the actual asset. In a framework where these processes are digitally native, there is no duplication needed, and the cost of verification tends to zero. Verification constitutes one of the major costs in transacting (i.e. all costs associated with due diligence). If you combine this major reduction in cost (that trust is no longer required) with the fact that this technology can also enable the safe creation of automatically enforcing contracts, the impact to transaction dynamics is exponential.
Professional real estate services are in dire need of industry-specific and user-centric tools. As of today, most real estate professionals rely exclusively on email, spreadsheets and sometimes data rooms.
The North American market has taken the first steps in proptech, however, the solutions available are only partial. This is normal in the nascent stages of innovation. Arextech's value proposition is designed to support any real estate process designed by the user. This differs from existing solutions that force the user to use different tools for different processes.
There are two types of competitors:
- Status quo competitors (AKA things that have been used in the past): these are the traditional tools that have been used in real estate for the past 20-30 years, that is generic, non-sector specific solutions such as e-mail and office software. In this respect, Arextech does not replace these tools but empowers them. The traditional solution which Arextech does replace is data rooms (i.e. Intralinks, Drooms, DirectX etc.).
- Partial competitors (AKA newer solutions that cover part of Arextech's value proposition): this category refers to newer solutions that either cover a specific type of transaction or are designed for a specific region or user. Examples include Dealpath, Juniper Square, Firmex.