Shojin is an FCA-regulated online property investment platform that aims to give individuals access to institutional real estate investment opportunities.
The London-based proptech firm in April raised £3m at a £49m valuation. The investment allowed the company to grow its operations team, hire across deal origination, marketing, technology and risk management.
Shojin is a UK company with global ambitions, in this Q&A, Shojin co-founder and CEO Jatin Ondhia explains how the firm came to be, what makes it unique, and what the future holds.
- Where did the idea for Shojin come from?
Investing in real estate has always been an effective way to achieve portfolio diversity and build wealth, but the truth is that too many barriers exist for many people hoping to invest in this asset.
Institutional-grade real estate opportunities have traditionally been limited to large financial institutions, professional investors or the ultra-wealthy. Shojin was born out of the desire to change this.
My co-founder Sandeep Puri and I founded the business because we wanted to make property investment more accessible and affordable.
- Who is Shojin for?
Shojin is aimed at global affluent working professionals looking to access institutional-grade real estate investment opportunities. Our platform empowers fractional investing in real estate developments, primarily focusing on residential, PRS (private rented sector), senior living, and student accommodation projects – offering super returns.
- What makes Shojin unique from its competitors?
Shojin has mastered the art of using technology to fractionalise investments and reach a global network of investors, while at the same time applying traditional asset management techniques to review new projects and carry out detailed due diligence.
We have also developed a unique co-investment model. To ensure a total alignment of interests with our investors, we co-invest in every project and oversee it from start to end. Rather than taking large upfront fees, we share profits upon completion. This has enabled us to build a profitable business with a global network of investors that spans more than 50 countries.
- What are the main business challenges you have had to overcome?
The biggest challenge has always been cashflow. Our model means that we make the bulk of our revenue at the end. Nevertheless, we’ve got to cover all our overheads on a monthly basis on what could be a two-year development project. This inevitably puts a strain on cashflow.
Another key challenge has been balancing the appetite from investors with the level of deal flow. This is where having an extensive and trusted network is vital. By collaborating with other high-quality platforms in the industry, we have access to a deeper liquidity pool and a broader range of projects to meet the requirements of investors and developers alike.
- What are your growth ambitions?
With a truly global and rapidly-growing investor base, we aim to continue to expand our networks in order to better serve the needs of investors.
Having initially focused exclusively on investment opportunities within the UK property market, we recently closed our first non-UK real estate investment in Malaysia. And with all the necessary resources in place, we are ready to continue with our bold expansion plans.
We have also launched a secondary market, which will help create liquidity and draw in new investors. Further, we have plans to expand project origination into high-growth markets such as East Africa and India. We have offices in London, Hong Kong, Africa, and joint venture partnerships with real estate investment platforms in the UAE, India, and Israel, and others launching this year.
- What is your funding strategy?
Following substantial growth over the past year, we’ve recently raised £3 million as the first tranche of a Series A funding round at a valuation of £49 million. This raise sits alongside a £5 million underwriting facility provided by a London-based family office with a provision to increase it to £10 million, which effectively guarantees funding for mid-market real estate investment opportunities before they go live to investors.
We have also launched the next tranche fundraising, seeking a further £2 million at a £55 million valuation – this will enable us to accelerate growth.
- Are you looking to hire in the near future?
As a business, we are at a very exciting inflection point. Our recent funding has enabled us to embark upon a new growth trajectory and we have made the decision to hire for growth. We are strengthening our operations with new hires in deal origination, finance, marketing, technology and risk management, and we have plans to continue growing the team as we ramp up our global expansion plans.