Individuals are always looking for unique and stable investment platforms to ensure that they secure bigger gains in the long term. However, if you look into the most stable investment platform, it happens to be real estate. No matter which part of the world you might go to, real estate seems to be one stable platform for investments to get a broader return on the long term. However, to get started with it, you need a huge sum of investment to buy a piece of land and then sell it to make a profit. For those who want to start investing in real estate but with lesser capital, then FRXNL can help out.
FRXNL is a real estate investment company that helps individuals own a part of the desired land instead of owning the entire property. Its where several other investors pool in money into the property to own that particular piece of land rather than spend huge sums of the amount you might not have. The company helps find out the piece of land based on your investments, and you can hold it for the tenure as stated on the contract. Thus, it helps in making investments towards real estate an affordable and accessible venture for all. Speaking with Rahul Raj Gogna, co-founder of FRXNL, Bangalore Insider got to learn a lot about the company, and the entire interview that was conducted is provided below.
Give a brief info about your startup?
Frxnl is a technology-enabled investment platform offering fractional investment opportunities in pre-leased Commercial Real Estate and other strategic real estate assets. Frxnl provides access to high-value high-return opportunities by letting you invest small and yet own a part of prized real estate properties. It not only allows users to diversify their wealth portfolio but also grow it seamlessly without having to spend a lot of their time managing it. With 100% transparency and credibility, all cash inflows and outflows against the property are channelled through escrow accounts which are further monitored by institutional trustees. Frxnl offers clients investment opportunities starting as low as INR 10 Lakhs and potentially yielding returns of over 14%+, over a 5-year investment horizon.
It makes investing simple in institutional real estate opportunities like Grade ‘A’ pre-leased commercial real estate through fractionalised ownership. We are a state-of-art technology platform that offers users a completely hassle-free opportunity discovery, ownership and portfolio management experience.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
At nearly 80% of the average household’s wealth, Real Estate is the most favoured asset class in India by far. Within Real Estate itself there is a definitive pattern wherein UHNIs and institutions have been investing largely in income yielding commercial assets or other strategic real estate opportunities generating double digit returns through both, periodic yields and capital appreciation., The larger population however has been till now relegated to invest mostly in residential homes yielding low returns. Moreover, purchasing real estate properties directly takes a lot of personal bandwidth in terms of sourcing and management thereby physically limiting one’s portfolio growth.
We imagine a future where real estate ownership is truly democratic and hassle-free, and helps users realise their financial goals through an asset class they prefer.
Fundamentally, high quality commercial real estate like warehouses, office, etc offers an opportunity to earn a steady income stream, which is typically resilient to market volatility, along with an inherent capital appreciation. It generates an annualised return of 14%+ for the owners over say a 5-8 years’ time horizon. However, such opportunities are often inaccessible due to access, price, liquidity and management issues.
We are solving all these issues by blending fractional ownership of professionally managed properties with leading-edge technology, driven by deep industry expertise across the industry value chain. Frxnl is a completely digital platform and facilitates end-to-end hassle-free property ownership and income distribution experience, while letting owners manage and collectively control their investments and grow their portfolio seamlessly.
Having a combined institutional experience of more than three decades in this sector, I and my cofounder, Amit are leveraging our knowledge of adept analysis and assessment of these high-quality assets, which we offer them to the customers on our platform. Consumers today are digitally savvy and have made a paradigm shift to digital economy including executing financial transactions online which has led to massive growth of the fintech sector in India and has thus captured a lion’s share of their wallet. In the backdrop of this growth, our ‘Aha’ moment happened when our third co-founder Ankur, who is our CTO, joined ship and we came together to develop an online platform which provides an end-to-end investment and management solution. The platform not only facilitates an informed, hassle free and guided subscription to quality real estate assets but also a fully managed system which provides a transparent and real time interface to monitor and control their asset and portfolio performance, governed by sophisticated processes. We already knew of some of the good work happening in Fractional Ownership, but realised it still is in its nascent stages and has a lot of room for innovation and growth through the use of technology. That is when our dream of creating an industry-leading fractional ownership platform started to take shape.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
I come from a regular middle-class background, my father was a central government employee and my mother was a homemaker. My parents ensured the best education they could afford for me, both during my schooling and college. They have always taught me to give back to society to the best of one’s ability which they demonstrated throughout their lives, with my dad supporting the primary school in his village in Punjab to ensure talent growth in the village and my mother through her free yoga classes to anyone willing in the community. I have imbibed these qualities and always look for opportunities to contribute to society. One of my foremost goals has been to create jobs and this has always inspired me to become an entrepreneur.
Soon after my engineering I joined a manufacturing company where I had a chance to take the lead on setting up a soft drinks bottles manufacturing plant which gave me the opportunity learn quickly while executing and to take calculated risks under myriad uncertainties. This has helped me take on bigger roles, whether it was during my first job in the US soon after my Masters at Duke University, where I was a part of large-scale real estate transactions, or during successive tenures in real estate private equity and development firms in India. I reside in Bangalore and handle the south expansion of Frxnl besides the overall operations.
More on previous jobs
Having worked at well-known real estate private equity and development firms in the US and India, I have gained an in-depth global perspective across the real estate value chain. I am instilling innovative best practices at Frxnl by virtue of this experience.
Previously, I have held senior management positions at reputed multinational companies including Country Garden Group, Essel Finance (an Essel Group Enterprise), FIRE Capital Fund, Wangard Advisors and Steve and Barry’s University Sportswear.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
We are based out of Delhi-NCR and Bangalore. Both these locations are prominent hubs of real estate activity in North and South India. We are looking to expand pan India as our business grows and hence are based at both these hubs.
As a start-up founder, what are your paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
As a start-up founder and an entrepreneur, the biggest aspect that I am paranoid about and that also keeps me awake is about offering an A+ class customer journey and experience, together with a smooth integration between our platform and our service partners. No matter how much time is spent going over every node of the platform interface to make it more simple, adaptable and yet complete, there always is a thought to make it better all the time.
Who are your competitors and how are you better than them?
There are several players in the fractional ownership domain currently and new ones are emerging, which is good for the whole space as we could collectively build more consumer awareness and also come up with best industry practices.
At Frxnl, we are a technology-first company and aim to differentiate ourselves by developing solutions that allows smart money to invest smarter through continuous improvements in convenience and product choices.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
As a start-up founder, I try to avoid the trap of perfectionism in achieving an ideal work-life balance and instead try to achieve a realistic one. Work surely takes priority when building a company and having an understanding family helps immensely which I am incredibly grateful to have. However, I try to take out time regularly to spend time with family and exercise to ease up occasionally.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
We have raised capital from very relevant and experienced industry professionals and will be looking at strategic investors as per growing business needs.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
In so far in my interactions and relationships that I have formed over the years, people have been pretty accurate to know that I speak and act my mind, so never really had a feedback to the contrary.
What gets you excited about this company?
I am extremely excited to be a part of a team comprising of people that are smarter than me and that we are working to realize a common vision of creating a platform that will truly revolutionize the paradigm of investing by decentralizing it through fractional ownership and extensive use of technology. This decentralization will make available the opportunity to a much larger and wider population to invest in quality real estate in much simpler, easier, and affordable way.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
I begin my day with a quick run for about half an hour which helps me become agile and active. Thereafter I fire up my laptop and go through the To Do list made the night before and visualize and distribute these tasks through the day and finally set into motion the execution of these tasks. These tasks involve addressing and executing day to day company operations, answering emails, setting up and doing meetings, analysing new asset proposals, site visits and working on the ongoing proposals. Through the day we have one or two calls between the cofounders to deliberate on various facets, exchange ideas and discuss approach for certain key action items. Before the day ends, we have a round up call between the cofounders to take stock of the day’s activities, tasks accomplished and setting short and long-term milestones.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
I and Amit were colleagues at the same private equity firm, where I had joined after a stint at a real estate private equity and development firm in the US. We share our passion for entrepreneurship, real estate and need for innovation.
Amit knew Ankur for several years, both in personal and professional capacity as he advised on the tech architecture and product roadmap for a system Amit was working on.
All three co-founders bring complementary skill sets and yet have a shared vision of how we will build Frxnl. We collectively bring in depth experience in Real Estate investing and management, building world-class technology products, and distribution. We are being supported by a group of Advisors who also bring distinctive skill sets on the table, that will help shape up our growth story.
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