In our latest real estate tech entrepreneur interview, we’re speaking with Nelson Lau from PropertyQuants.
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Nelson Lau, co-founder and CEO of PropertyQuants. I have a PhD in Decision Sciences and worked in quantitative hedge funds and high frequency trading firms. In quantitative trading, we used computer algorithms to analyze large amounts of data on a wide universe of potential investments to find the best opportunities globally. PropertyQuants is bringing quantitative investment strategies to real estate. We harness data at scale to find the best investments – globally.
What problem does your product/service solve?
It’s difficult to figure out the best real estate investments globally. Real estate practitioners only know the best investments within a limited local area and sector.
This is not because of a shortage of data. The issue is that the amount of data needed to find the best investments globally is beyond human capacity. Computerized statistical methods need to be applied to harness data at scale. But, most real estate companies lack the toolsets and expertise to do this.
This is where PropertyQuants comes in. We crunch large amounts of data to produce a granular understanding of property market performance. We produce location-based scores based on factors such as commute times, and relate these to prices and yield. We also use these to understand how changes – such as the opening of a new train line – can impact future investment returns. We predict investment returns years into the future.
All our products are customizable to match users’ investment mandates and objectives, as well as incorporating any proprietary data they have. We help buy side institutions identify the best locations to invest, know when to buy and sell, and justify their decisions based on hundreds of factors. Investors can rapidly screen and prioritize deals, responding faster to good opportunities and avoiding wasted effort on bad ones. Limited partners in real estate funds can understand fund managers’ market exposures versus manager skill, and determine the best portfolio of funds to invest in.
What are you most excited about right now?
PropertyQuants has just completed the Colliers Techstars Proptech accelerator program. We’ve struck data partnerships, and also developed business and mentorship relationships with hundreds of individuals. I’m excited about where these new connections will take us – already there is a long list of interesting opportunities that we are discussing and prioritizing within our busy work plan for the year ahead.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on scaling the company, by taking the following concrete actions. First, building our consortium of data partners, who may earn revenue as we use their inputs for our clients. Second, leveraging the company’s network of real estate contacts to connect with potential clients. Third, thought leadership efforts. PropertyQuants has been awarded a significant grant from a government agency in Singapore to develop our products – and will present these at conferences and seminars.
I’m most excited about the step after that. The company will use what we learn to build trading systems, supported by historical simulations, investing in publicly listed Real Estate Investment Trusts. This REIT-trading strategy will fill a market void – producing the world’s first quantitative real estate fund.
What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?
I’m passionate about people having the opportunities to move towards self-actualization. This doesn’t always have to be achieved by finding a job that matches your interests, or starting a company. In fact, many people are very serious hobbyists at one or more pursuits. I’m enthusiastic about seeing individuals have outlets to exercise these drives.
I’ve founded a group called LiquidSupperClub. It’s centered around drinking gatherings – which are a great way to make friends. But, we’ve also had home bartenders serve craft cocktails, home craft beer brewers test out their latest creations, aspiring sommeliers lecture and serve some really select wines, and much more. It’s always great fun, and for the host of the night – a really fulfilling experience.
We’re constantly looking for great real estate tech entrepreneurs to feature. If that’s you, please read this post — then drop me a line (drew @ geekestatelabs dot com).