Humans find comfort in ruts. We get used to one way of doing things and begin to assume the way it always has been done is the way it should be done. That is until someone does something different.
Different can be good – very, very good. It can change the world.
In terms of real estate, most people are in a rut. You save for a big down payment, buy a home you live in, and leave the investing to the “big guys”. Others rent for their entire lives.
But the CEO and co-founder behind addy thinks differently. Micheal believes that investing in real estate should be available to everyone, and he and his co-founders Stephen Jagger and Adrienne Uy have built a technology platform to enable it.
Stephenson has a deep background in entrepreneurial endeavours, many related to improving how the real industry operates. From authoring software that helped sell more than $100 billion in real estate to developing an A.I. assistant for Realtors and a system to help real estate professionals manage their business, he has deep knowledge of the industry. And today, as CEO of addy he’s leveraging technology to break down the barriers to entry for real estate investing
How addy came to be
addy was born of a few occurrences. Stephenson was working on a software project in Southeast Asia, things were running smoothly and there weren’t any looming challenges.
“We had built a successful business for the Philippines and Singapore,” Stephenson says. He decided to return home to Canada where he bought a home. Through that process, he had some unpleasant experiences when he tried to sell it. It began to occur to him that maybe there was another way.
He worked out a real estate deal on his own for the sale of his home that included tacos for life from the buyer’s chain of taco restaurants – a worthwhile deal if ever there was one. Soon after he embarked on another investment opportunity – syndication – where he and some friends pooled their resources to purchase an investment property. As he put the deal together, word got around, and everyone from the lawyers on the deal wanted a piece of the action.
“All of these people were trying to get into a deal that was already full,” Stephenson says. “So I said, let me try and find something else.”
He did. Two properties in Quebec and one in Philadelphia. It was the seed of an idea. But the challenge was how to balance the acquisition of properties and administrative costs against the number of people interested in investing. Particularly if they didn’t meet the minimum $50,000 investment requirement (which was the case for one of his employees who wanted to invest $10,000).
Another problem was that investors weren’t in the cities where the properties were located. Who would do the maintenance? Who would find reputable lawyers? Who would do the never-ending work that ensured that the investment was a sound one?
All of these data points began to percolate in his head and he started to wonder how technology could help to solve these problems. This is how addy was born. His vision for addy is for everyone to have the opportunity to be a homeowner through access to real estate investing at any amount, regardless of income, age, or other conflicts.
“Real estate is a very lucrative asset class that very few people have access to, and that’s not fair,” Stephenson says. “addy is my way of expressing my fortune in real estate by trying to enable other people to invest in it.”
“We live in an amazing country and we’re going to have a reasonable retirement without doing anything, and we have a responsibility as citizens,” he says. “To generate wealth, you need a diverse portfolio, but not everyone can access real estate because the barrier to entry is so high.”
addy is going to change that.