A year ago today, we launched sakneen.com - read ahead for a word from Co-Founder and CEO, Ramy Khorshed on our journey so far.
"The ﬁrst step on our journey towards building a product and business built from the ground up to bring data and liquidity to an opaque industry. We also announced our seed round marking a milestone for our team and a vote of conﬁdence that we would ﬁnd the support we would need to deliver on our mission.
Since then we've onboarded thousands of homes, dozens of customers, and generated millions of pounds in transactions all while capturing the data required to build the Sakneen Valuation. So in spite of a number of personal and professional challenges (more on that in the future), it's been a great year and it passed in the blink of an eye.
One thing we decided to do is to make a habit of is taking a moment to reﬂect regularly and publicly. Regularly, because writing serves as a forcing function to clarify messy thinking. Publicly, because being forthcoming and transparent about what we're trying to accomplish and how we plan on doing it has attracted some of the best people to join our cause as team members, customers, and investors who were already aligned on what we're trying to achieve.
When you come into any space as an outsider your fresh eyes are your competitive advantage allowing you to see missed opportunities. With a year since launch under our belts, and a touch of wisdom, here's where my beliefs stand today.
New PropTech is upon us, just not in the ways most people think
As of a year ago an opinion we heard a couple of times was that PropTech is consolidating. With large listings and classiﬁeds players converging largely undifferentiated offerings, this was a valid but limited view.
Today's consumers want integrated experiences and services that extend far beyond ﬁnding photos and prices online and remove friction in substantive ways. The need for not only new leaders but new categories is obvious.
Don't hate the players, hate the Game
Fully digitising real estate transactions and cutting out the middle man is such a common and popular example of a classically "bad idea" that it was singled out explicitly by Michael Seibel (MD @ YCombinator) a few days ago in a video titled "How to change the world?" as a particularly easy way to fail.
And for good reason! Why? Because as much as it seems like an obvious place to go for technology, it doesn't actually address an immediate problem in a speciﬁc way that realistically manages the incentives of the underlying stakeholders.
For example, in the Egyptian secondary housing market even the best brokers won't show you identifying photos of the house's exterior or provide you with a specific address because there is no MLS or legal enforcement to ensure that commissions are paid. So building the technology to show locations on a map was not the solution - you need to change the game being played and the actors will respond in a rational fashion.
Small Speciﬁc > Big Broad
Big problems will be solved by addressing the soluble edges. The only way to make progress is to recognize that big problems are soluble and composed of smaller problems which in turn are composed of even smaller bite-sized issues.
Especially in real estate an industry built around big-ticket, non-recurring purchases - the most valuable customers for innovation are the overlooked edge customers who would be willing to take a bet on a new offering to solve a particular pain point.
These principles will be setting the tone for us in the coming year and we can't wait to keep you in the loop as we continue to grow. We're proud of what we've been able to achieve, humbled by the support we've gotten along the way, and will have some announcements in the coming period so stay tuned."
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