1. What’s the story behind RealBlocks? Why and how did you begin?
PQ: I came up with the idea for RealBlocks while during a research project in grad school at MIT. Previously, I had worked on M&A transactions of REITs at Barclays and had a first hand experience of challenges within this industry. With blockchain I saw a potential use case in solving for liquidity and access in the alternative investment space. Ultimately, RealBlocks is working to solve challenges that exist right now for organizations in the space, and this is one of the instances where blockchain can be effective immediately when implemented. We went through Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars in NYC and have since been building the team, infrastructure, and creating partnerships.
2. Please describe your use case and how RealBlocks uses blockchain:
PQ: RealBlocks’ use case is an end-to-end alternative investment solution encompassing subscription, fund management, and secondary trading. RealBlocks uses blockchain to allow for global access, enforcement of regulatory compliance and trading restrictions, and secondary trading.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
PQ: Individuals and smaller institutions with limited liquidity can get into alternative investments through our feeder fund structure, invest at lower dollar amounts and trade their interest earlier than would be permitted than going directly through a sponsor. In the current ecosystem, smaller institutions have not been able to access particular alternative investments due to the high dollar amount requirements.
4. What other blockchain use cases in real estate are you excited about?
PQ: Land registry and Title transfer in developing economies will offer great value but scaling such businesses in the US will be tough due to its fragmentation.
5. Where will RealBlocks be in five years?
PQ: Assets are moving towards being represented digitally, and it’s our goal to be at the forefront of that movement. We will have built out an ecosystem that allows for real-time liquidity options for investors across a multitude of partner platforms. RealBlocks will have expanded to include different types of alternative investments, in addition to real estate.
Alternatives are growing in popularity and we want to facilitate investment in alternatives while allowing secondary trading. Ultimately, we see RealBlocks as becoming a global platform that is broadly adopted by Wirehouses, RIAs and IBDs for accessing and trading alternative investments.
US and International investors will be able to access institutional quality real estate funds with an added benefit of liquidity at lower costs. Additionally, our subscription model is designed to enable a hyper-efficient process to the offerings on the platform. Currently the process is time-consuming and inefficient in nature, which has been a huge pain-point for investors and institutions alike.