Starting a truly original tech company is tough in today’s market. With so many competing ideas and open sourcing, it seems like every idea has been done 100 times already.
But then you meet Fred Bristol and listen to him talk about his tech-property company Brickowner.
Brickowner allows you to invest in a part of a property, rather than making you buy the whole thing. This way, you don’t need to be the Candy brothers to play the property game — and this opens up property opportunity to the masses.
We wanted to find out more about the company, and what makes Bristol tick both in and outside the office.
What’s the most important thing to consider when deciding if a property is a good investment or not?
I often look at whether you can buy an asset for less than it would cost to replace it, in terms of cost of land and build cost. There are many ‘hidden gems’ across the UK, where you can buy a property with a lot of character and history at a fraction of a cost it would take to rebuild the property. For me, this is a great way of finding good investments.
What bad advice do you hear people spouting regularly about the property market?
Often people feel that the property market is different now, and that there is no longer a property cycle for a number of reasons. Most often in the UK this comment is related to London, because it is decoupling from the UK Economy. The reality is that the ‘property market’ encompasses multiple markets within multiple geographies in multiple sectors, each of which have their own cycle.
What bad advice plagues the startup world?
Many firms start with the intention to work out how they can make revenue later. I am a firm believer that you should understand how you can provide a service efficiently now at a cost that works for investors and enables the business to grow.
How do you know if a business idea is a good one or not? What key questions do you ask yourself?
I always take a step back and think to myself, is this something I understand? And does it have a clear revenue model?
What’s the one book you’d gift to any aspiring or fellow entrepreneur?
Whilst it is not a book (although they did create a book from it), I’d recommend the The Sam Altman lectures on how to start a startup. He established the famous Y-Combinator incubator in San Francisco.
What’s the best investment you’ve ever made?
I am a firm believer that time is the best investment in business. More specifically allowing myself the space to think, rather than being pushed into anything. This has allowed me to avoid making mistakes where I didn’t always have all the information to hand.
What’s your one tip for smarter business travel?
A wise man once told me never to drink alcohol on flights as it triples the jet-lag. It’s a motto to live by!
What do you always pack?
I’ll always carry a portable battery powered phone charger.
"I am a firm believer that time is the best investment in business..."
What’s the one mistake you’ve learnt most from? One that set you up for later success?
Don’t do things just because others want you to. Follow your instincts and gut, as often first impressions prove right.
Where do you go on holiday, especially to get off the grid?
I love the Greek Islands, ideally the ones with no direct flights. It is ironic, that I founded a prop-tech company, but I love to isolate myself from technology when on holiday (although I’ll take my portable phone charger… just in case.)
Finally, how would you hope someone would describe Brickowner when recommending it to a friend?
Brickowner is a quick and easy way for people to invest in property, making the best property investments accessible to everyone, curating the best investments and presenting them in an easy ’no-nonsense format’ for investors. The system also allows property managers to onboard their own investors.
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