There is no need to make quick decisions — patience is crucial in this industry, and there is always another opportunity. If the real estate project does not meet your own criteria, there is no need to rush into any decision.
As a part of my series about the ‘Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Real Estate Industry,’ I had the pleasure of interviewing Jan Večerka.
Jan Večerka is the CEO and Founder of BrikkApp, a company that connects investors with property investment platforms from all across the world, helping them to make the right choice. He is an entrepreneur and expert in technology, financial and operational management, and commercial real estate. Before founding BrikkApp, Jan worked in commercial real estate and founded Data4You, dedicated to developing a digital society.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?
Since my childhood, I have been fascinated with anything connected to construction, housing, or planning. When I studied economics at the university, I realized that real estate asset management is very appealing. I started my professional career working in a bank, where I was responsible for real estate asset management and later became a real estate management department manager. Since the very beginning of my professional career, I have had the dream of becoming an entrepreneur. This brought me to found a technology company and connect both worlds — real estate investing and technology.
Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occured to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?
We have worked in the same team for several years, and thus we have enjoyed a lot of hilarious moments. But most surprising moments often come from interaction with people that you yet do not know well. During a job interview or a business meeting, I have seen the same people acting in entirely different ways. It’s always exciting to meet the same person after a year or two and see another layer of their personality. These are moments that I find both amusing and exciting because they provide you with an opportunity to self-reflect. And if there’s any lesson learned from this experience, it is that you should always approach everyone with an open mind, even when they have already made their first impression on you!
Do you have a favorite “life lesson quote”? Can you share a story or example of how that was relevant to you in your life?
That’s a tricky question 🙂 I enjoy reading and getting inspired by others. Thus picking one quote is not an easy task. However, one quote stuck in my mind relates to the importance of loving what you do, not necessarily in the sense of smiling all the time, but rather a long-term feeling of satisfaction that comes from recognizing the importance and impact of your work. The quote is from Albert Schweitzer, a German philosopher who encouraged others always to enjoy the process, not just the goal: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
At BrikkApp, we find it very important to bring more collaboration to the industry. With a group of real estate crowdfunding platforms, we are currently building an association to standardize the industry. We are working on structuring these investments through to their presentation in a consistent format that meets industry standards. This group offers an exciting future for the industry. While we can’t provide details just yet, be on the lookout for more updates in the future!
At BrikkApp, we are pleased to announce that our users will have the ability to invest directly into real estate projects within the month. We have worked very hard to get to this point and have already created a database of over 150 European crowdfunding platforms. Investors can browse, compare, and research all about the industry — in one easy place: BrikkApp! We are aiming to become the one-stop shop for real estate investments.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We simply love connecting real estate and technology with our goal of bringing benefits to our customers. Typically, the property investment world is a conservative environment, which shows great resistance to disruption. We see significant opportunities in the way property investments are traded online.
At BrikkApp, we want to change this. We bring a trustworthy overview of the market data that we aggregate. We build our blockchain solution as a tool for getting liquidity and cooperation in the fragmented online property investment world. Our users gain access to verified property data, investment opportunities, and investors all in one dashboard. The goal is to demystify real estate investing so that anyone interested knows where to look for information and opportunities and makes the best choice for them possible.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Sometimes I joke that I have met my co-founder in an incubator. The follow-up goes typically like this “oh, wow, that’s great, which one was it?!”. The thing is that my co-founder is my sister Jana; hence we have known each other for such a long time 🙂 The advantage is that we know exactly what the other person might think or feel and help each other when needed. We have run businesses together for many years and have supported and motivated each other throughout the entire time.
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry? If you can please share a story or example.
From my experience, the three most exciting things about the real estate industry are endless opportunities, huge space for creativity, and that real estate gives you incentives for working hard. Imagine you are assessing the acquisition of a real estate project. It is an older property in a good location that needs significant refurbishment. To maximize the property value, you need to correctly assess the property potential and all the risks related to the project. If you can work hard, define the property’s new function, and bring your idea to life, you can succeed in the industry.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest? Please share stories or examples if possible.
My top 3 concerns about the industry currently are trust, liquidity, and cooperation. In our vertical of real estate crowdfunding, several notable platforms have ended all activities while facing allegations and lawsuits of fraud. Higher standards and even regulation will be necessary to safeguard investors from bad actors if the industry progresses. Liquidity, because now investors are often stuck with their investment on one platform with no way of exiting the investment early. Cooperation, in the sense that many of these platforms prefer to “go their own way,” and causes a variety of headaches for investors. It is almost impossible to compare the property investment available on one platform to another on a different platform, on any sort of 1-to-1 basis. At BrikkApp, we are seeking to improve all 3 of these concerns for investors. We only work with accredited and established platforms. We are seeking to remedy liquidity problems through a marketplace where investments can be bought and sold amongst investors. And cooperation through our exciting work related to creating industry standards with some of the best operating platforms.
What advice would you give to other real estate leaders to help their teams to thrive and to create a really fantastic work culture?
Value your employees as the most valuable asset, and be careful with the kind of people you recruit.
Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 nonintuitive things one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?
- There is no need to make quick decisions — patience is crucial in this industry, and there is always another opportunity. If the real estate project does not meet your own criteria, there is no need to rush into any decision.
- Always do your due diligence — just as it is essential to evaluate a company before purchasing a stock, it is even more crucial to consider property as best as possible before investing in it. This is because real estate investing is less liquid and requires more time commitment than investing in equities.
- Regulation and taxes — don’t forget to check! If you are an international investor, it is imperative to review the taxes and regulations of the country you are investing in. Some countries have more stringent regulations, which can also create more confidence in the safety of your investment. Still, it can also lead to excessive fees or requirements that lower your potential returns.
- Diversification is still important. While having a mix of equities from various industries in your portfolio is sound investment advice, so is making sure that you diversify your property investments. For example, if you were an investor exclusively in office space during the recent COVID-19 restrictions, the losses felt were likely substantial as the world shifted to a work from home model. Offices are now less valuable, and any investments will reflect that.
- Location is king — for real estate investment, the property’s location plays a massive role in both its odds of success and the returns it can generate for investors. A prime flat in central London will likely be safer and create more cash flow than a flat in the countryside.
Because of your position, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most good to the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
It is bringing financial freedom and property investment to the retail investor. For too long real estate investments have been exclusively made by the wealthiest among us. With today’s technology and a rapidly evolving landscape, accessing wealth is possible like never before. Just as Robinhood made stock investing part of pop culture, I hope to bring about a similar surge in the popularity of property investment.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can check out the BrikkApp blog, where we post regular articles and updates about the industry. The idea behind our blog is to educate the general audience about our industry. You can also sign up for the BrikkApp newsletter, follow us on our social media.
Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights! We wish you continued success.