When investing, your capital is at risk.
Very low-interest rates are now a thing of the past, with average rates for two-year fixed mortgages already passing 6%, according to financial data provider Moneyfacts.
CrowdToLive® is an ethical-driven online platform connecting home buyers and investors to finance and invest in residential properties through shared ownership, forming an alternative to traditional financing for homeownership.
Industry expert Savills predicts that demand for Shared Ownership will rise by 150% in 2023, CrowdToLive® is committed to helping home buyers move into their dream homes debt-free by connecting them with their community of investors.
Here is our interview with co-founder, Anouar Adham on his journey building CrowdToLive®.
We’d love to know about your career before CrowdToLive® and where you first found that entrepreneurial spark.
Before CrowdToLive® I worked in the banking sector in France, Singapore, Qatar and then UK. I always wanted to create my own business and as I was part of the senior management at a young age I had the opportunity to be an intrapreuneur first. When I was doing my Executive MBA in entrepreneurship at Imperial College, I had the privilege to have Dr. Annabelle Gawer as one of my professors. She is one of the most respected researchers on platforms, I just got obsessed with how platforms such as Google, Uber, Facebook, Airbnb changed the lives of billions of people in a very short period of time. On top of my MBA I also took a specific class on platforms at MIT and then I decided to create my own.
What is CrowdToLive® and what problem are you solving?
I would like to answer this question on two levels:
Macroeconomy: as a founder, I believe that there is too much debt in the economy and that at least for the last three financial crises, we had a market meltdown because of an unsustainable level of debt in the economy.
Microeconomy: The house affordability crisis is a real problem for millions of people up and down the country. However, most products offered to them are debt based – if you can’t or don’t want to get a mortgage, your options are very limited.
Our aim is to lower the level of debt in the economy by helping people finance their biggest financial commitment, buying a home, debt free.
What can you tell us about the market and how CrowdToLive® is positioning itself for success?
As we have seen earlier this month, the mortgage market has reach its peak. With an interest rates rise still on the agenda, it will become more and more difficult for people to acquire their dream home. As for people that already own a home, we can expect the resetting of mortgage rates to be very painful. As our product is not based on interest rate levels, our homebuyers are relatively shielded from what the central bank will do over the next two years. Also, as the homebuyers are not leveraged, their equity is more protected against market turbulence that might affect property prices. With Crowdtolive, homebuyers equity will never be wiped out because of a property price decline, which might be the case with a mortgage.
One of our investors is calling us the next Zoom, as the application was not really known prior to COVID but became suddenly one of the most used apps worldwide.
What does your competitive landscape look like and how does CrowdToLive® differentiate itself?
In the market today we have a handful of equity finance providers, however none of them have a platform set up. We are the only equity finance marketplace in the market today.
Could you tell us about some of your biggest achievements to date?
Our business model was looked at by some of the brightest people in the industry. The fact that we have been accepted to most of the accelerators we applied to locally and internationally is a great rubber stamp on the company:
- Barclays Eagle Lab
- Natwest Accelerator
- London & Partners
- Virgin Startup Programme
- Microsoft Startup Programme
As a financial institution being directly licensed by the FCA is also a great achievement, as this business model is unique.
Finally the biggest achievement was creating a product that is used by families. Every time we finance a property it’s a victory towards a more sustainable financial market.
How do you plan to create a scalable and profitable business model?
Scalability is key for any business but more so for a platform. So far we have focused on a B2C business but we can see great potential to work with businesses involved in the property market such as estate agents, developers, REITS, asset managers…
What do you hope CrowdToLive® achieves in the next few years?
To be the go-to place for debt free financial products and expand our activity internationally.
What do you plan to do with the money you raise?
Now that we have demonstrated that the product is viable, the focus is on scalability and to continue to build a team and systems that will continuously improve customer experience.
What do you love to do in your free time?
What free time?!…
I am a family man and I try to spend as much time as I can with my family.
If you weren’t building CrowdToLive®, what do you think you’d be doing?
Helping other entrepreneurs make the world better.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far building CrowdToLive®?
People have been let down by so many financial institutions that the level of scepticism about the industry is quite high. We want to be a force for positive social impact but we have to carry the sins of the overall industry.
CrowdToLive® is committed to helping home buyers move into their dream homes debt-free by connecting them with their community of investors. Check out the campaign page here.