Assetto is an investment platform in real estate properties. It uses blockchain technology to tokenize real estate assets. Until now it was difficult to share the ownership of a building among 10.000 people, but with the help of blockchain this is now possible and safe. In addition, Assetto has gathered a team of experts in the field and uses Switzerland's digital asset legislation to provide users with a safe investment framework.
Assetto allows first time access for retail investors to institutional grade commercial real estate assets, in an easy, secure and frictionless way. In addition, the retail investors are taking part in the decision making in terms of maintenance, additional investments or selling decisions. It's the first of its kind and differentiates from their global incumbents in a material way.
Assetto is co-founded by Bogdan Almași and Andra Costin, which previously were involved in the Ronin project. They also convinced two of the most influential people in the field to join their Board of Directors - Hans Kuhn and Guido Buehler. Hans is one of the best lawyers in the blockchain area and Guido is the founder of Seba Bank, the first digital bank in the world that combines ordinary assets with crypto ones.
Assetto attracted a pre-seed investment of 500,000 EUR from an angel investor in London and is preparing to launch a seed round of 5 million EUR in the first part of next year, immediately after the launch of their app.
We talked to them to find out how you can become an investor in real estate, even with small amounts like 100 euros.
How does Assetto work?
Massive real estate investments were reserved for those with a lot of money. If you just have some savings, you cannot dream of a good return, nor do you have access to such investments.
Assetto wants to transform these areas by opening a real estate investment platform that allows everyone to invest starting with 100 EUR. Practically, an example would be a commercial complex that needs investment for expansion or a land where wind turbines are placed. Such a property can be listed on Assetto and with the help of blockchain technology you can invest from 100 EUR upwards. You can own 0.1% of a high value property that generates monthly income. Blockchain opens this market.
With the help of Assetto real estate developers can raise capital more easily and with more flexibility and can reduce the lack of liquidity in the market. In addition, investors can benefit from the value appreciation of the property in which they have invested, as well as the yield generated periodically, they can sell their digital assets and they also have the right to vote over management decisions.
Properties will be listed on Assetto after a due diligence process. Users will be able to buy at least one token, but no more than 10% of the total number of tokens put up for sale, precisely to democratize decision-making.
How do you make money? Well, every real estate investment has a return. You can earn maybe in the short term by selling your digital assets to other users. Also, if we are talking about an investment project (such as the development of a wind farm or photovoltaic farm), it will increase in value because it will have been capitalized. Another option is to invest in real estate that is sold later, similar to the exit of a startup.
How did Assetto start?
Andra Costin, co-founder of Assetto, mentions that they have often thought about the applicability of blockchain technology beyond the classical financial area. They wanted to address an industry that could benefit from the advantages created by blockchain in order to solve real problems in the market.
“Well, the real estate market is known to be the largest asset class in the world and extremely notorious for its lack of liquidity. How do we solve this?
Naturally, we open real estate to the masses and make it accessible to basically everyone. This way, we unlock the market by increasing liquidity and, in addition, we build something that really serves the majority of people and has a real impact on their financial well-being, giving them the opportunity to build wealth in time", she says.
Bogdan Almași mentions that everyone knew about tokenization as early as 2018. "The big problem everyone had was that there was no clear legal framework to regulate this new industry" says Almași.
Fortunately for Assetto, in 2021 Switzerland adopted laws that regulate the area of DLT - Digital Ledger Technologies - so that from February 1, 2021 in Switzerland companies can use blockchain technology and digital assets in a very clear framework.
“In the summer of 2021, we had several meetings in Zurich with lawyers specializing in technology and digital assets. We wanted to define a concept together with the most suitable partner for Assetto in the area of legal consultancy. That's how we started the partnership with Hans Kuhn, one of the most experienced lawyers in the Swiss blockchain world. The Assetto project is much broader, but it started with real estate because, from my point of view, there is no economic activity generating added value that can function without having as a support a building, a commercial space or even a plot of land", explains Bogdan Almași.
The antiquated regulatory framework left behind by technological advancement made it impossible for a blockchain project to provide users with all the benefits of distributed applications: accessibility, security, transparency, democratization, and immutability. You were thus losing the essence of a blockchain product.
This discovery trip to Switzerland made Bogdan and Andra meet first Hans Kuhn and then Guido Buehler, people who are passionate about blockchain and who can see the opportunity in its development.
Guido is the founder of Seba Bank, the world's first fully regulated digital bank.
"When Bogdan and Andra contacted me, the proposal sounded good, as their approach to Real Estate tokenization was hitting all the correct marks. Having had many conversations with Bogdan, he convinced me to support Assetto in executing their vision", says Guido.
He mentions that it is important for any project in the web3 area to ensure data security, to have a solid business model and solve real world problems.
Thus, Assetto today has a strong team of founders, but also the experience of Guido Buehler, who already works in the web3 field and also has experience in the traditional financial area.
"Assetto has two core competencies; blockchain technology and insight into the real estate market in Romania. The challenge is to source the best commercial real estate at a fair price and provide the investment opportunity in an intuitive and clear way to retail clients. This will be the key to scale to the client base of Assetto. First, Assetto wants to list properties here in Romania, followed by Europe and Switzerland.", believes Guido.
Property owners will want to be on Assetto
“When you provide more liquidity, sellers are happy. For us, the main users will be investors. And we're looking at the so-called retail investor. According to a market study carried out by Assetto this year, 75% of the respondents use a mobile application for investments or financial services and over 45% want to make at least one investment in real estate", explains Bogdan Almași.
Thus, he believes that the market is there, it can be reached. Assetto has to bring together this existing market and the properties listed on the platform.
Registering the company in Switzerland and operating within its strict but clear regulatory framework provides investors with security and trust. “It is a digital asset 100% backed by a real asset. It's not just any token. You're buying a fraction of a property," says Guido Buehler.
From his point of view it is essential that Assetto operates in a regulated framework from the beginning, as he has seen numerous players in the blockchain market who have had difficulty getting regulated later on.