I caught up with Nick Katz, CEO and co-founder of Acasa, a household management platform.
Katz spoke about how technology is disrupting the traditional property market and the challenges that come with running a PropTech business.
1. Tell me about your background. What were you doing before Acasa?
I worked in the US and the UK for nearly a decade in just about every segment of the real estate industry possible.
I’ve bought and sold commercial buildings, improved the energy efficiency of hotels, and deployed software to large property portfolios.
In 2013 I joined VC-backed Honest Buildings as head of Europe before launching Acasa. I love the idea of leveraging technology to help people live better at home.
I’m also an expert at dealing with housemate issues having rented and shared nine properties in London.
The Week in Tech: A new Mars rover, Facebook’s fine and more
2. Where did the idea for Acasa come from and why?
I used tons of software in my work in institutional real estate, and realised there is no effective software that offers utmost convenience to consumers for running their homes. I also fell out with one of my best friends in a home we rented because of the bills.
3. If you weren’t running your own business, what would you be doing and why?
I’d be investing in companies from an island where I’d be producing music and kite surfing on the side.
4. Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.
My middle name is Rapahel, which for some reason blows people’s minds.
5. It’s been a while since you won ‘Best in PropTech’ at our Elevator Pitch LIVE 2017. What have you been up to since then?
Starting to work with large landlords, co-living brands, and managing agents to help them run portfolios with tenants much more efficiently.
‘UK ranked top for VC funding in Europe’
6. How did winning the competition help your business?
It helped gain exposure for our company, particularly across the UK.
7. Who are your main competitors and how do you differ?
There are competitors like Glide who put all your utility bills in one place. All they focus on is these bundled utilities and they charge a significant premium for it. We also wrap all your bills into one place, but do not charge tenants additional fees, and we also have an app which allows you to track all your other expenses.
8. What are the main challenges for UK PropTech businesses?
Raising alpha levels of capital and navigating procurement processes with incumbents.
9. Where do you see the PropTech sector going in the UK over the next few years? What’s driving innovation?
PropTech has only just begun, it’s going to get much bigger than anyone predicts. What’s driving innovation is the new wave and refreshing obsession of the property industry to focus on end user, ie customer / resident / occupier experience. This is such a dramatic shift.
Leading owners and operators of property have finally realised that unless their resident or occupier is happier with them than anyone else, they don’t have a competitive advantage.