Real estate crowd-funding is a relatively new phenomenon in the world. In Pakistan, it is an entirely new concept and naturally comes with numerous challenges including but not limited to lack of awareness, support and high regulatory costs from the government side. Fintech, on the other hand, is up and rising in the Pakistani market, bringing a huge potential to disrupt the real estate industry wits its far-reaching results.
Pakistan’s real estate assets are estimated to be over $700 billion and overseas Pakistanis alone invest more than $10 Billion in it each year. – Umair Sheikh
Arazi.pk is one Pakistani startup that is aiming to combine the two and address these challenges through its platform which is a tech-enabled brokerage for real estate (Disclaimer: I work at LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship and this startup was incubated there). The venture started out as a ‘list & search’ portal, quite similar to Zameen.com, and had a strong focus on property valuation. However, after a while, it realized the massive potential that real estate crowd-funding holds in the country, and decided to change its dynamics to establish itself as a platform which enables a system of less risk, smaller project investment amounts that investors really like, through its product named “NEST”.
NEST by Arazi is an upcoming real estate crowd-funding platform, the self-proclaimed first of its kind in Pakistan. The platform will allow users to buy a small stake in a property by investing as little as US$ 1000. NEST will offer a safe and easy way to invest in real estate, providing small investors the opportunity to reap the same benefits that are only available to investors with large amounts of cash. It will also allow users to diversify their portfolio by dividing their investments across a number of properties. Hopefully, such a fund-raising arrangement will also allow people outside of the traditional investor groups to join the circle and reap the same benefits as that of the traditional investment process.
Arazi.pk, as a startup, is an alumnus of LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship and is the brainchild of Umair Shiekh, an entrepreneur and a real-estate investor with 15 years of business experience. The platform is offering verified properties through its team of in-house real estate agents that ensure quality experience through entire process of buying and selling. The company was nominated for the Red Herring Asia Top 100 award and was also recognized as one of the top 100 tech companies in Asia.
Arazi.pk was also the only Pakistani startup to exhibit at the first RISE Conference in Hong Kong. The company is well-grounded with a board of directors including names such as Irfan Pardesi, a Pakistani businessman and founder of ACM Gold and Jeff Hoffman, a serial entrepreneur based out of Chicago. Hoffman has been associated with companies such as Priceline.com and ColorJar.
With Arazi.pk jumping the real estate crowd-funding bandwagon through NEST, there is a hope of an expanded pool of investors for real estate entrepreneurs and a new avenue for people to invest their money in a place offering good returns. All that is left now is to see whether the startup can put money where its mouth is!