This inspiring story is of a real estate rising startup called RealVantage, started by Keith Ong & Mao Ching Foo, based out of Singapore. At RealVantage (RV), their mission is to provide individual investors with better access to global real estate opportunities and greater risk diversification in an asset class that is traditionally very capital intensive.
Individuals investing in cross-border real estate opportunities face many pain points, such as identifying the right assets, lack of market knowledge, asset management, and regulatory issues. RealVantage looks to solve these issues by providing carefully-vetted real estate opportunities, taking on the assets’ management and eventual divestment. Here is the story of RealVantage in Keith and Mao’s own words.
Introduce us to the idea of RealVantage
RealVantage sources, vets, and sieves out for excellent real estate opportunities. RealVantage will assess the property, conduct market analysis, and run the financial projections for every deal. Each deal clears through an investment committee. After the investment has been made, RV will actively manage the asset throughout the investment period, and investors will be kept abreast through regular management reports.
The entire investment journey for our investors is done online, from investor onboarding, making their investment, receiving distributions, getting asset management updates, all the way to monitoring their global Real Estate portfolio.
Each investor has access to a dedicated asset management dashboard that actively tracks the performance of their investments. Knowing that the deals have been carefully vetted, investors can shift gears towards thinking about the types of investments that should compose their ideal real estate portfolio and where (sectors/geographies/strategies) they should get exposure to.
RealVantage originated from the belief that there is a smarter and more systematic approach to real estate investing for individuals instead of relying on a “gut-feel” approach. RV’s real estate team has had successful careers in the institutional real estate investment industry, and the approach to investing is honed from institutional best practices, actual transaction experience, and deep market knowledge.
RealVantage has filled a gap in the market and created an avenue for Individual Investors through the following ways:
- Gain access to real estate deals that are not typically available to individual investors;.
- Diversify their real estate investment portfolio across;
a. Geographies (USA, UK, AU)
b. Strategies (through Core, ValueAdd, and Opportunistic deals) and
c. Sectors (Residential, Commercial, Industrial)
- Have Real Estate professionals hunt for good deals and manage the investment across the investment life cycle;
- Pick and choose the different opportunities that they wish to partake in.
- Enjoy a hassle-free experience in real estate co-investing.
What’s your strategy story? What led you to start RealVantage?
RealVantage was created from our belief that a revolution in real estate investment is long due. After building successful careers in the institutional real estate investment industry and technology firms, our vision is to bring together our collective skill-sets, experience, and knowledge to unlock a world of institutional real estate investing for everyone.
As the co-founders, we found that the typical accredited investors do not have the same level of access and expertise in exploring commercial real estate opportunities compared to the institutional investor. We came up with RealVantage to pave the way in institutional-grade real estate investing, creating better opportunities for individual investors.
We saw that investing in cross-border real estate opportunities can present areas of inconvenience. Thus, we took it upon ourselves to solve these struggles and invest in real estate accessible and affordable for our investors.
Often, individual investors acquire apartments or houses when they invest in cross-border properties. We became aware that many were not conscious of the tax/regulatory implications and market conditions. We garner that information for our investors and offer better access to investment opportunities that traverse various sectors and countries, taking care of all the hassle of management to ensure they get the best possible outcomes.
In delivering full visibility over all opportunities, offering support with asset management, and catering to this gap in the market is why we genuinely believe that RealVantage is a smarter and better way of real estate investing.
What marketing, operation strategies are you adopting at RealVantage?
Marketing: We are consistently active on our social media and ensure we are engaging with our followers. RealVantage also participates in many events where we can connect with and educate prospective investors. We also hold regular webinars for our members. The team’s senior members and advisors keep our investors up-to-date with relevant market and business news while addressing their queries.
Operational: RealVantage covers many markets, and we are a small team. To be efficient, we have built an in-house Artificial Intelligence system to assist our investment managers in doing their jobs adequately. The AI dashboard provides the most recent real estate data and alerts in the following aspects:
- Macro analytics;
- Movements in Real estate indicators;
- Due diligence
- Risk analytics
Essentially, the AI system’s purpose is to help us keep a pulse with the markets we are in, identify the risk involved, evaluate better, and fundamentally provide solid real estate deals for our investors.
What is your competitive advantage at RealVantage?
RealVantage provides a smarter way to invest in Real Estate through:
- Greater Access – (Access to good assets.)
- Better Diversification – (Brings diversification for investors – across geographies, sectors, asset types, strategies)
- At Flexible Investment Quantums
- No Landlord Hassles – Platform handles asset management on behalf of users
- Transparent Ownership – Clear legal structure on asset ownership
- Alignment of interest – RealVantage Managing partners invest in each and every deal that comes up on the platform! This ensures alignment of interest between investors and the platform.
Share a story when you have been customer-obsessed
Typically, before each deal is put up on the RealVantage platform, substantial time and effort were put into analyzing, modeling, and going through the investment committee approval process of the deal.
In one of the deals in 2H 2020, there was a UK deal that was put up on the RealVantage platform for investor interest. The deal was fully raised by RealVantage in quick time.
However, subsequently, there were new potentially adverse findings that were uncovered in the due diligence process. The issue that cropped up meant that RealVantage did not have full control over the exit strategy and may not be able to adhere to the project’s timeline conveyed to our investors. In the best interest of the deal’s investors, we decided not to proceed with the transaction.
Although the risk of losing investors’ capital is low and the forgone fee for RealVantage was quite substantial, we felt that the inability to deliver on the promised exit timeline would erode investors’ trust and confidence in us. Hence the team at RealVantage decided not to proceed with it.
Any strategy mistakes you have made and what did you learn?
Like most startups, we were impatient in scaling up. Therefore, being overzealous, we spent a substantial amount of time and money on marketing and awareness, although at that point, it was not the right time to push for such incentives to such an extent.
Finally what advice do you have for your fellow entrepreneur readers?
Every business – whether it’s a startup or a flourished company – it’s all about the team, it’s never just one person. So take the effort to appreciate the work that your teammates have done and celebrate success together. Should the business come across difficult times, don’t place blame, figure out a better solution, and try again together.
Disclaimer: The information in the above story is provided by the startup and The Strategy Story takes no responsibility for the authenticity of the product and services offered by the startup. Reader’s discretion is advised.
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