As part of Business News Wales’ ongoing series of interviews with some of Wales’ leading figures in business we had the opportunity to interview David Rees, Co-founder of ShareProperty.
ShareProperty is Wales’ only property crowdfunding platform, a tech-based firm that allows customers to invest in property online. Offering fractional ownership on residential real estate ShareProperty work with a mission to ‘simplify property investment’, permitting their users to invest as little as £100 in exchange for equity in property. Receiving a monthly income from their investments the Cardiff-based firm position themselves as an alternative to traditional banks, flying the flag for peer-to-peer platforms in the UK.
Working with Welsh property agents, brokers, landlords and developers ShareProperty aims to streamline the process of investing in property and raising funds for property development, with David Rees eager to celebrate the efficiency technology can bring to the market.
1. Tell us about your business?
ShareProperty is Wales’ only property investment platform. Regulated by the FCA, the company has been established to bring crowdfunding to the real estate sector. From as little as £100, platform users can invest in a range of property investments. The platform manages the asset and the investment on behalf of the investor, providing asset backed returns all within the framework of a secure and interactive online platform.
2. What are your plans for the next five years, and where do you see your challenges and opportunities?
I hear a lot of noise about disruptive technology. Technology is about bringing efficiency. Real estate is one of the last sectors to embrace the positive benefits technology can bring and it requires buy in from multiple stakeholders. This is a perennial problem as resistance to change is brought about by the preservation of fiefdoms. We are not here to take away but rather enhance the whole industry. In the first instance we are an investment platform, but we are exploring far wider development opportunities in project management and smart contracts. Five years is a long time but suffice to say we would like to be part of the mainstream.
3. What do you wish you had known when you started out in business?
A lot more. As I sometimes say, there are gaps in my ignorance.
4. Looking back at your career, are there things you would have done differently?
Not really. My journey has taken me from being a trainee at Deloitte to heading up a global team at Deutsche Bank and now to Co-Founding a Start up. I don’t think I could have foreseen the path, and that leads me to suspect that the future will similarly be paved with surprise.
5. What do you think are the most important qualities for success in business?
Hard work, integrity and a sense of humour. People like people and despite all the noise around dehumanisation, AI and Robotics, that fact is unlikely to change.
6. What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting a business?
Things always take longer than you hope, don’t expect perfection and be willing to make mistakes.
7. What are your top three tips for success?
A good idea, hard work and perseverance.
8. What’s your thoughts on the recent EU referendum results?
Prefer not to comment
9. What do you think Wales’ strengths and weaknesses are as a place to do business?
Having spent over 2 decades in London, coming back to Wales has been a breath of fresh air. The quality of talent is high with such a high concentration of University Students, and for the “millennials” the all important quality of life means that better people are staying longer in Wales rather than trudging up with M4. Access to capital is however rather limited, meaning that scaling a technology business in Wales with Welsh Capital can be tough. That said, Finance Wales and Inspire Growth have made purposeful changes in this regard.
10. What can Wales do to attract more inward investment?
Its great that we have the likes of Admiral based here, but a major global technology company having a base here would be really great. Wales reputation as a creative digital economoy would be substantially enhanced through this, therefore whatever incentives are needed need to make it happen.