AZIT Interviewed Dabang CEO Han
AZIT is a blockchain-based, point integration platform for real estate and residential services. AZIT provides a service that allows users to conveniently use points as they see fit for residential services related to real estate or community facilities by integrating points that can be used anywhere.
Welcome to AZIT!
People’s Tech CEO Nam Ha-Ram and Dabang CEO Han Yoo-Soon conducted a joint interview about the plan to reduce the burden of skyrocketing housing costs. We will share all this with you!
There are many things in life that you will get tired of. One big one is real estate transactions. It can be hard to find out whether a house is for sale or rent or worth tens of thousands of won or hundreds of millions of won. These kinds of big transactions make people cautious. If you can manage to agree on a price, you will be faced with other troubles, from registration to tax issues. By then, you’re only halfway done. You still need to find a moving company, call an interior design company, and find out about when you can move in. You will be sick of it.
There are startups that have come forward to solve all kinds of problems related to real estate transactions. Among them, Dabang is helping people easily find out the average monthly rent in their area through their mobile app. There is also People’s Tech, which is making AZIT, a residential point integration service. The rapidly soaring real estate market is a hot topic everywhere, but I was curious about the methodology of these two companies. They both said they wanted to ease the burden on real estate consumers a little bit. I met the representatives of the two companies via video call in September.
Q1. Dabang is well known as a monthly rent search platform. However, People’s Tech is a bit unfamiliar. What kind of company is People’s Tech, and what kind of partnership did the two companies form?
A. People’s Tech CEO Nam Ha-Ram (hereafter Nam): People’s Tech is building an app that allows users to integrate and manage points provided by companies that provide residential services like Dabang. It is expected to be released in the fourth quarter (October to December) of this year. Residential service-related companies are often concerned about issuing loyalty points to provide benefits to their customers.
However, it is not easy to use these points. This is because, due to the nature of the real estate business, the contract cycle is long, ranging from 6 months to 1 or 2 years. If you approach it as an individual housing service, the usability decreases. However, what if we bundled together the points of residential services such as for rent, moving, and interior design? You would be able to use it right away without having to wait. It’s not a lot of money, but it can reduce the burden of real estate costs from the user’s point of view. We want to solve this problem by using blockchain as the underlying technology.
B. Yoo-Soon Han, CEO of Station 3 (hereafter Han): We are preparing DabangSign, a blockchain-based electronic contract service. We plan to release the beta version in October, and we want to activate the related system while providing points to users. As CEO Nam said, even if we give out points, users have to hold onto them for at least 6 months, but there is a limited time in which to use the points. In such a situation, we decided to work with People’s Tech because it meets our needs and, furthermore, helps us reach our goals. In the future, we expect that we will be able to work with People’s Tech for many development projects that are only ideas and have not yet been started.
Q2. The point business is something that individual business owners do a lot. Isn’t it something that Dabang can solve by working alone?
A. Han: In fact, we have also promoted partnerships in various ways in order to activate our monthly rental app service. From moving companies to cleaning companies, shopping malls, and early morning deliveries, I thought that providing multiple services in one app would make it more convenient for users to use. However, what we are good at is real estate services based on monthly rent, not moving. We found that working with other companies is quicker and easier. The same is true for activating the point system. We believe that a partnership would be more advantageous than working alone.
Q3. The purpose is good, but it is a little worrisome if you just put up points. This is because of the recent Merge Point incident. Of course, the essence of the service will be different, but it is true that a negative view of points themselves has been formed from the consumers’ point of view. It seems that social issues like this will come as a burden to a new company, so how do you plan to overcome them?
A. Nam: It may be misunderstood that they are similar because of the word point, but fundamentally what we are aiming for is different from merging points. It is not a form of purchasing items from affiliates after paying for points at a low price in advance. Within the blockchain-based platform called AZIT, affiliates such as Dabang issue points based on their sales and provide them to customers. I think that users will naturally feel the difference in structure when using the service.
Q4. The two founders have a lot in common. Both of them are from gaming companies, have experience as marketers, and are now starting a real estate business. How did your career in the gaming industry affect your real estate business? You can also tell us if your experience as a marketer has been helpful for you when starting your business.
A. Han: I decided to jump into the gaming business because I thought it would be fun to work for a gaming company. Later, I found out I was wrong. However, there were a lot of young people in the gaming company, and it became routine to conquer difficult or challenging tasks. There were people who actually started their own business. That experience motivated me to start my own. Most of all, getting to know a lot of good developers and designers helped me a lot in starting my own business.
A. Nam: In my case, I got a lot of inspiration from my business while working in marketing. A specific gaming service at my previous job used mileage very well. For example, when users pay in-game, mileage is added. Putting mileage into a package that can be purchased in-game was effective. As a fandom formed, the number of people who wanted to buy the package increased. In the end, the phenomenon of customer transfer, in which users bought mileage, occurred, and the sales of the game increased significantly. This experience naturally sparked my interest in points and became an opportunity to start my own business.
Q5. I wonder how PropTech (technology-based real estate services) view the current real estate market.
A. Han: Everyone seems to agree that house prices have risen a lot in recent years. This is especially true of the yearly and monthly rental markets we are looking at. Yearly rentals are also starting to use a reverse tax in which you have to pay monthly rent. As a result, buying or renting real estate has become a huge burden. We believe that what we can do in this era of burdensome housing prices is provide users with more skills and information related to real estate. Whether it is buying or selling, yearly or monthly rent, the technology we provide allows you to make more well-informed decisions.
B. Nam: We see our main customer base as single-person households and those in their 20s to 40s with economic power. This customer base is growing every year, so we see it as a good opportunity for business.
We plan to convert points issued by partners such as Dabang into cryptocurrency-based tokens and exchange these tokens on cryptocurrency exchanges so that they can ultimately be converted into cash. It may not be a lot of money in this respect, but we expect it to provide economic benefits to users.
Q6. Companies such as Naver and Coupang are also using the point system well. If these companies form an alliance so that they can use their own points in real estate-related services, it would be a big threat to the business that AZIT and People’s Tech are planning. How can you overcome this competitive situation?
A. Nam: Even if the large companies you mentioned join the market with their large capital and infrastructure, I think we can still beat them. First of all, we have the advantage of time, having started working on this project much earlier than them. We can also be faster in terms of momentum since this is not our main business. We expect to be able to provide value to our users by building the real estate business point ecosystem faster.
Q7. One has been in business for 8 years, and the other has just started a business. Each of them may have lost their passion for starting a business. I think it’s really easy to lose your passion for starting your own business. What advice have you given each other to keep your passion?
A. Han: Looking back, there are two reasons why startups fail. Either you run out of money or your team splits up. I feel like the latter is more common. A founder cannot do anything alone. Planners can’t develop and developers can’t plan. Start-ups are cooperative after all. I’d like to say, “If you hold on to your cooperation, everything will work out well in the end.”
A. Nam: I tend to get a lot of advice, so I don’t think I’m in a position to give advice. I think the Dabang team motivates themselves by working with their partners, including People’s Tech. I think Dabang can continue to expand the ideas it has had so far. In that respect, I think we can be of some help.