Launchpool Labs Founder Spotlight

Interview with Bricktrade Founder & CEO, Guv Kang

Welcome to the Founder Spotlight series, where we interview Founders from the projects we incubate at Launchpool Labs. What to expect: fun stories, founder journey, the team, vision, mission, goals, and what’s in the works. None of the information shared is financial advice, and should not be treated as such.

BrickTrade is a global marketplace connecting property developers to investors to streamline property investment through a modern and efficient platform. Their goal is to make trading property investments simpler while reducing the cost of investing. These deals are unique to Bricktrade and cannot be found elsewhere, therefore Bricktrade users can access exclusive deals in their local communities via their native platform.

As the 2nd incubee in Launchpool Labs’ inaugural incubator class of five startups to go live and take part in the 3-month program — and we announced them just recently (18th of August 2021). Currently, Bricktrade is raising pre-seed ($100k), available exclusively to investors part of the Launchpool Labs Bronze Club. Enjoy this interview with Guv Kang, Founder and CEO, Bricktrade.

Roxana: Hi, Guv. We are very excited to have you and your team at Bricktrade be our 2nd incubator star. Please tell us a little about yourself, how you met your team, and how Bricktrade came to be.

Guv: Thanks for having us! We are very excited to be working with Launchpool Labs! My career has primarily been in the UK property sector and I have known that the system is broken for a while. Bricktrade’s journey began in 2017, the situation hasn’t changed much — it is a fact for most of the world — the average person cannot afford to buy the average house. There is a shortage of housing and it is too expensive. Simultaneously, since 2008 banks have made it much harder for property developers to borrow money, this ensures that house prices remain high due to the cost of capital/building being so high. At the same time savers with money in the Bank are earning 0.01% in interest — this is wrong, so we created Bricktrade to provide high returns for savers and to provide much needed liquidity to property developers — this allows us to bring high yield/asset backed investments to both traditional and crypto investors.

Roxana: What makes you really proud about your team? Can you share some funny habits / stories / hobbies that your team members have?

Guv: Our team is a mixture of construction professionals and tech professionals — both are very different worlds. For most of the construction professionals it was very difficult for them to think in terms of technology and blockchain as they were new concepts to them, simultaneously our tech team didn’t have a thorough understanding of property construction. Watching these two worlds collide and to create a product from that has been a huge source of pride for the whole team. A lot of team members have been very successful in their respective fields — e.g. Antony who has valued a lot of the major developments in Dubai (over $10bn) or Jasbir who was the senior quantity surveyor for the UK Crossrail (over $18bn managed) project so there was a lot of comparison on who had worked on the biggest projects — which was funny to watch — but that has allowed us to gain valuable insights into major projects and we are grateful to have that experience on our team.

Roxana: Name 3 things you absolutely love about your industry, and 3 things you absolutely dislike (I assume this is what made you launch Bricktrade).

Guv:

Likes:

  • Personally I love the blockchain/crypto side of our business, it is the area that gives me most hope for the future as I see the global benefits of blockchain and the benefits it gives to the average person by giving access to financial tools to improve their life.
  • Historically it was only banks or major financial institutions that could participate in these deals — with Bricktrade we are not creating products for the just financial elite (the “1%”) but are able to create a product that anyone with £500.00 can use — this lowers the barriers to entry and provides the opportunity of gains to more people.
  • The future of Proptech is also very exciting. When we started, Proptech did not really exist, but since 2017 we have noticed a boom and are excited to see the increase in demand for smart homes and sustainable energy solutions, since Bricktrade works with property developers on day one we can support their use of proptech when building new structures.

Dislikes

  • Banks have a monopoly on borrowing and lending — they take savers deposits and lend out their money for 15–20% per annum, but only give the savers 0.01% in interest — this is wrong and outrageous!
  • Transaction times — we live in 2021 and yet the process for property transactions is still stuck in the 20th century! It takes far too long under the current process.
  • Fear from the industry — blockchain based tech is still very new to a lot of the industry and we have to spend a lot of time working with traditional businesses to help their understanding of the technology.

Roxana: What has been done so far? I know it’s early on to mention partnerships, so please focus on the product journey so far. Lessons learned, exciting things that happened, which are worth mentioning.

Guv: We conceived the idea in 2017 but it took us a while to figure out how we could make this work. In 2019 we incorporated Bricktrade Capital Ltd once we understood how we could bring the benefits we designed to the market. Since then we have built our team and our MVP with Android app which allows users to interact with our system to provide feedback, we have developed partnerships with legal and financial service providers and have worked alongside our network of property developers to source £80m worth of high yield/low risk construction projects and these will be listed when we go live. We have spent the last few months designing our legal and contractual frameworks to ensure that we can offer a legally compliant method to tokenising and issuing digital securities.

Roxana: What protocols are you most excited about, and why? Will Bricktrade be native to just one protocol, or are you planning on having a bridge?

Guv: Our early designs were based on Stellar and Hyperledger, however we have since pivoted to Ethereum. We cannot ignore the great work being done within the Ethereum ecosystem and the growth of defi, we want our users to benefit from this, therefore we are currently only working with Eth’. However, we are monitoring the work being done on Polkadot, Corda etc to see if there may be a benefit of switching in the future.

Roxana: Where do you need most help from our Launchpool & Labs community? Don’t be shy about sharing.

Guv: We need your assistance to grow our network and community. We would also love to explore how we could integrate more Defi based solutions into Bricktrade to offer more to our users. We also value the feedback of your users — we need this to ensure our product is among the best.

Roxana: Are you planning to launch any [giveaway] prior to going live with your platform? If yes, tell us more about it, and how the community can get involved.

Guv: Yes — we do have giveaways planned post launch! Bricktrade works with property developers from day one — this allows Bricktrade to get an allocation on property development and we plan to run raffles where raffle winners could win a house or flat in our next development! We are very excited to bring this to our users — they could win their next house or apartment mortgage free with Bricktrade!

Roxana: Let’s talk about funding. What happens once the pre-seed and seed raises are complete? What is next in the books for Bricktrade: private raise, pre-IDO etc? Walk us through how the funds will be used, and how the company was funded prior to joining Launchpool Labs.

Guv: I believe in ‘putting your money where your mouth is’. I am personally fully invested into the growth of this business and to date I have used my own funds for R&D, team building, product design and product development. With the funds raised we plan on:

  • Finishing off the MVP and launch iOS App
  • Legals and compliance — we are in the process of registering with the FCA in the UK for our crowdfunding and crypto assets licenses.
  • Building a community of early adopters whom we can work with and reward as we grow
  • Marketing and brand building — we would like the wider audience to learn about Bricktrade and the benefits of investing instead of trusting your Bank to do the right thing

Roxana: What made you want to work with us? We believe that startups choose their incubation partners just as much as incubators choose their cohort stars.

Guv: The London Crypto space is very small and we have been following the work of your team members for a long time. Launchpool has been a great supporter of the industry as a whole and we wanted to work alongside one of the few genuine crypto firms to bring this to market.

Roxana: Where from here? Tell us a bit about your future product roadmap, highlights, if there is anything available at this point.

Guv: Upcoming highlights are primarily based around legals and compliance. We have overcome many of the legal hurdles for tokenising property in the UK and we hope to share this with your community in the coming months.

We are also bringing more rewards to our community of early adopters with our raffles and discounts. Finally we hope to become a household name and will immediately begin our growth hacking campaign.

Roxana: Where can we find you, on the web? Please also share any bragging rights.

Guv: We are at: www.bricktade.co.uk; LinkedIn, and Facebook, for now.

Roxana: Thank you for your time, Guv, looking forward to working with you and the Launchpool Labs community for the next 3 months.

Guv: Thanks Roxana, it’s been a pleasure and we look forward to working with you and the rest of the team in the coming months!

About Bricktrade

Bricktrade is a global marketplace that connects property developers to investors. Bricktrade will harness an FCA crowdfunding licence to pool investors’ money into property developments. Ultimately these investments will be tokenized and tradeable as asset backed securities, making it easier to trade property investments whilst reducing the cost of investing. Bricktrade has lowered the barriers to entry for property investors — allowing users to invest with as little as £500, which can provide bank-beating returns of upto 10% per annum.

Bricktrade’s deals are unique to Bricktrade and cannot be found elsewhere, therefore Bricktrade users can access exclusive deals in their local communities via the Bricktrade platform.

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