5 Questions with Saeed Hassan of Crowdbaron

CSW Saeed

Crowdfunding may not be as popular in Asia as it is in other parts of the world, but that hasn’t stopped Saeed Hassan, founder and CEO of Crowdbaron from pursuing his goals.

Getting more people (besides the rich and well-connected) involved in buying real estate without the stress that accompanies owning property is the aim of Hassan’s startup. With 15 years of marketing, business and organization development experience as well as a firm belief in the power of crowds, Hassan explains his reasons to disrupt the traditional methods of investing in real estate.

We connect with Saeed and ask him more about his startup.

What is your startup?

We launched Asia’s first real-estate focused crowdfunding platform earlier this year. Our goal is to lower entry barriers and simplify the administration, allowing more people to benefit from being international landlords. Briefly, we allow our members to purchase from 1% of a project anywhere in the world. This gives them ownership and a share in all profits the property generates. It’s more real than buying units in an investment fund. We allow the members to sell and transfer their shares, allowing for a more liquid investment than traditional real estate purchases.

 How did you come up with this idea?

While working in Indonesia and again in Hong Kong, I saw how the property market was giving financial freedom and wealth to many. However, this was only accessible to a relatively small section of the population—those with access to capital and those with knowledge of real estate markets. Others, including myself, were left dreaming and frustrated. Real estate ownership does in fact create an emotional bond and desire among many people, all around the world.

 discover a project

Another insight we built upon is that more people today are looking outside their home markets to invest in real estate.  This is driven by two trends. Firstly, a growing fear of price bubbles and additional government taxes aimed at slowing down prices. This has the effect of pushing people beyond their home borders in search of opportunities. And secondly, not all real estate markets around the world grow at the same time. It’s important to find markets which are on the growth curve and limit exposure to those with a risk of declining, such as Hong Kong.

With this in mind, we began developing a model based on crowdfunding which allows more people to benefit through collaboration and sharing. We also looked at how we could allow more people to benefit in overseas properties where potential gains are more likely than in home markets.

Honestly, who doesn’t want to earn a passive income and capital appreciation?

 

Who are you targeting and how big is the market in HK/Asia?

We are targeting professionals who aspire to become landlords, without the hassles that come with ownership. Though we are based in Hong Kong, we are already expanding our footprint in Asia. We have a team in Jakarta and are looking to have a representative in Dubai this year.  We believe the market potential is very large and have had some early successes.

1 Benefit and 1 Challenge in the HK startup scene?

 The startup environment in Hong Kong is young, but developing year by year. I believe it could become a regional hub for entrepreneurs and a viable alternative to setting up in the US. A challenge we face is the slow acceptance to consider innovation from some professions when it comes to startups. For example, legal advisors willing to invest in innovative ideas with experience dealing with new business models would be a great help.

 howitworks

Any news stories about Crowdbaron?

 

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