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Daily bite-sized proptech and property news in partnership with Estate Agent Networking.
Craig Massey unveils Satoshi Block Dojo accelerator
For the first time since the onset of the pandemic, members of my teams at Proptech-PR and Proptech-X teams attended our first in-person meetup in London, with Financial Director Ann Fields, Co-founder and CMO Matt Hughes and myself enticed to Satoshi Block Dojo not just by the Japanese sake and sushi, but for the “pirate ship of mavericks”, as founder Craig Massey put it.
Massey, the ever-enigmatic powerhouse, along with Satoshi Block Dojo Co-founder Richard Boase, is kickstarting a twelve-week programme for entrepreneurs looking to solve problems and bring services to the market using the Bitcoin SV, a prominent breakaway cryptocurrency.
The bold plan is to get close to 250 startups through the programme in five years, with a little help from some seed capital. But, more importantly, the guidance and support from a globally recognised phalanx of experts, many of whom delivered talks at the event.
We heard from Robin Kohze, co-founder and CEO of Vaionex, plus thoughts and observations from Craig Wright, the founder of nChain, Patrick Prinz from the Bitcoin Association, and Michael Hudson, founder and CEO of Bitstocks.
Given that the inaugural event drew north of 200 guests, I think there is sufficient momentum already to say that this endeavour is definitely something to watch.
I have previously worked with Craig Massey during his time as co-founder of Yourkeys, which went on to exit to Zoopla in a multi-million-pound deal, so I’ve seen his journey over a number of years. What I admire about Massey is that he fully understands the startup ecosystem, but more importantly the ingredients required to scale up, gain finance at key stages, and allow the development team to build out their solution and exit.
Having met hundreds of proptech and fintech founders, I can think of no one better suited to imbue doe-eyed startup founders with some great strategic common sense at an early stage and propel them – if they are on the right track – forward at great velocity.
Satoshi Block Dojo’s mission is simple: “to educate, train and elevate start-up entrepreneurs to the highest standards, by providing best-in-class mentors, and teaching with the latest tech tools.”
To learn more about the Satoshi Block Dojo, visit https://blockdojo.io/
Right to rent checks kicked into the long grass again
At present, there is a legal requirement to check the legal status of tenants looking to take a tenancy in the UK, and for many months, due to the pandemic, the Home Office has waived the need to physically see tenants and their original documents.
This was supposed to be coming to an end now, as it becomes glaringly evident that the system is in dire need of a revamp. However, any changes will have to be put on hold again as the deadline for this has been pushed back to April 2022. This will be its fourth deadline date.
The official line from the Home Office is: “Deferring the end date of the adjusted checks to 5 April 2022 ensures the Right to Work Scheme continues to operate in a manner which supports employers, whilst we look to implement a long-term, post-pandemic solution.”
With my proptech analyst hat on, I think maybe the delay has more to do with the Digital Identity Trust Framework proposals that are going through their paces at the moment, which might actually provide a better way forward.
My view is further evidenced by the Home Office, who also said: “We initiated a review of the availability of specialist technology to support a system of digital right to work checks in the future. The intention is to introduce a new digital solution to include many who are unable to use the Home Office online checking service, including UK and Irish citizens. This will enable checks to continue to be conducted remotely but with enhanced security.”
Could it be that slowly, slowly, the analogue lettings industry is now starting to get itself put onto a digital framework that will allow huge efficiencies and safeguard the interests of all stakeholders? As a person who also deals with a number of companies touching upon this problematic area, I hope the answer is a resounding yes.
Agent and Homes to scale up with fresh recruits
Agent and Homes, an agency based in Notting Hill and co-founded by Rollo Miles, is looking to further expand by attracting the very best agents with at least five years of experience. They are looking to expand in the area they operate in currently, but they are also looking at other key geographic areas to dominate.
Miles explains: “We are a platform that allows really good agents to set up on their own, use their network to sell houses, and keep the vast majority of the fee for themselves. We then support these great agents by installing a back-office staff of dedicated people managers who will be given the very best in cutting edge technology to help and support their assigned agent.”
At the core of the Agent and Homes vision is freedom for agents to do what they do best. The operation is, as Miles puts it, a perfect environment where “the agent focuses purely on winning and selling, letting, or managing instructions, while those in the back office take care of everything else, such as using tech tools, licensing, legal processes, and everything else that a normal high street agent needs in order to operate with success.”
As an extremely experienced agent, Rollo Miles understands the mindset of great agents, saying he knows “how powerful it is to remove any worries about marketing, branding, portal costs, admin costs, and so on.”
With a management team entirely made up of agents, Miles has the requisite experience to know what success looks like. When asked if anyone could join the Agent and Homes brand, Miles said: ”We make it very clear that nothing is guaranteed, you have to work hard, be entrepreneurial and network well in order to succeed. It takes time to do good work and make good money. If you ask me, this is how it always should be. We are simply setting them up with the best support network possible to help them achieve their individual career goals.”
Andrew Stanton is the founder of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.