INTRO’s solution for the real estate market looks like a sweet dream of a Silicon valley’s child. Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Property Market is an ultimate combo for a fundraising campaign in late 2010th. However, the project was born far away from LA and it followed real market demand.
Since 2010ish, the real estate bubble has been growing rapidly in the BRICS economic space.The first bubble burst in Russia in 2015, followed by a nearly 30% drop in property prices. While foreign investors were leaving the sinking ship of Muscovite properties, the INTRO team found its one-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Seed investment for a BI-system based on big data analysis was provided by the major Russian development Gosstroy in late 2016. A year later, a BI-system named “INTRO Analytica” was released to the market. Today, the system monitors all construction projects and property deals in 40 Russian cities, serving the interests of 30 top-tier developers.
INTRO’s path to its first success was thorny. The team struggled through unstructured public databases on construction, cadastre and property registration. The solution came with the government’s initiative to transfer the land registry into blockchain. The startup was quick to saddle the trend and introduced its own concept of a blockchain-based property register.
The ambitious activity gathered lots of attention, both in Russia and abroad. In late 2017, INTRO Analytica was selected for a business acceleration program in the IIDF, Europe’s largest venture fund and accelerator for IT projects. In February 2018, experts from EWDN and crunchbase included INTRO Analytica in the list of the top-5 most promising startups in Central and Eastern Europe.
Eventually, the team signed a partnership contract with the Russian Association of Property Developers and was invited to all of the biggest events of the industry. Not bad for one-year-old startup. But the INTRO team still dreams bigger.
Smart and Sexy Property Contacts
“We have always seen INTRO Analytica as an intelligent core for other services related to the real estate deals. Being able to access all property market data in two clicks, would you resist the temptation to trade properties and invest in construction?” said Denis Vechkanov, the CEO of INTRO Technology.
So the team went further and developed an online marketplace for property trade and investment named INTRO Sale. Its beta-version was already released – in February 2018 – for closed testing by some 200 professional property brokers.
INTRO Sale also provides smart contracts for property sales. The blockchain-based contract fixes the obligations of the parties and can charge penalties. Freezing a deposit for property booking, the smart contract protects a property seller from careless reservations. In turn, a buyer is protected from the sale of the booked property to any other party by binding fines.
The first smart contract in the system was signed on May 4th, between a real estate broker of the “Etagi” agency and the developer of the “White River” residential complex. The buyer’s payment was frozen by the terms of contract until the Russian regulatory authority confirmed the property rights registration. Then the amount was transferred to the developer’s account.
INTRO Blockchain presented this product to the BRICS business association during a trip to Shanghai and Beijing later, in May 2018. The trip was an attempt to touch the ground before international expansion. Chinese investors listened to INTRO’s pitch with enthusiasm, but remained cautious. INTRO is now in talks with the Chinese startup hub and venture fund ZGC Innotown. The serious intentions of the Chinese are proved by an acceptance to the acceleration program in a Sino-Russian IT-incubator in July-August 2018.
In the meantime, INTRO is expanding its business network across the global blockchain community. “We have received a positive feedback from many blockchain experts and entrepreneurs. The collaboration with them resulted in new concepts of smart contracts for property market. In particular, we are now working on contracts for co-investment in off-plan property, property purchase by installment payments and property timeshare contract,” said development team leader Dmitriy Pogorelov.
The timeshare contract has already found its first potential client. “We are now negotiating with the developers of a residential complex in the Dominican Republic. The company wants to integrate both smart contracts and their physical enforcement based on Slock.IT API,” explained Pogorelov. If the project is completed, the property owners will be able to access the apartment only in a time period designated by a smart contract. Hotels and private rentiers across the globe may also find it useful.
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