Shaper: Daniel Gandesha

Show aired on 13th August 2016

Transcript

Elliot Moss
Sergio Mendes with Mas Que Nada. Good morning this is me, Elliot Moss here on Jazz FM with Jazz Shapers. It is the place, I know you know the drill but I am going to tell you anyway, the place where you can hear the very best of the people shaping the world of jazz, blues and soul and I put them right alongside in the face of their equivalents in the world of business, a Business Shaper. I am very pleased to say I have a very impressive young Business Shaper here today called Daniel Gandeshi. He is the CEO and founder of Property Partner. They are a crowd funding property investment business and a very natty one too. You will be hearing lots from Daniel very shortly. In addition to hearing from Daniel you will be hearing from our programme partners at Mishcon de Reya some words of advice for your business and as well as that of course we’ve got some brilliant music from the shapers of jazz, blues and soul including Madeleine Peyroux, Louis Prima, B B King and this from Richard Bona.

Richard Bona with Cubandeano, I hope I said that properly, a bit of a Latin theme this morning I am sure we will move across on to other forms and genres as well very shortly. Dan Gandeshi is my Business Shaper today here on Jazz Shapers; he is the CEO and founder of Property Partner, they describe themselves as a crowd funding platform for the world of property. Thank you very much for joining me. Is it Dan or Daniel, what would you prefer?

Dan Gandeshi
Dan’s great and thank you for having me.

Elliot Moss
Well it is a pleasure. Dan I am please we can do Dan, you can call me El if you want, I don’t mind. Tell me a little bit about the business. Let’s set the scene. What is it exactly that you do and how long have you been going for?

Dan Gandeshi
Sure so Property Partner is a property crowd funding platform and trading exchange which for most people will mean absolutely nothing so a way of describing it…

Elliot Moss
I am pleased you said that, you are absolutely right. Now you are going to tell me what all that stuff means?

Dan Gandeshi
Well I am sure we will get into it in a bit more detail but a good analogy to describe Property Partner is a stock exchange. We are essentially a stock exchange for residential property and I will come back and give you a little bit more detail but the company was founded in 2014. We had a long period of regulatory approval and technology build and we launched in January 2015 so just over a year and a half ago and since then over 8,000 people have invested through the platform and they have invested thirty four million between them funding the purchase of two hundred and thirty eight properties up and down the country so far.

Elliot Moss
No there is so many bits to unpack from this but as I mentioned earlier, you are pretty young, you are in your early thirties. You’ve just described a relatively complicated set of things, you’ve talked about buying property, you’ve talked about technology to support investments, you’ve talked about over eight thousand customers, I don’t know if you call them customers or clients or investors or whatever. This idea and we will get into the nuts and bolts of how you even start to unpack all those things and build them. This idea, where did it emanate from Dan, was it a personal experience of yours?

Dan Gandeshi
It was yeah. So it came off the back of my own frustration so I am a finance guy by background so I qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG many years ago and that was outside of London and I bought a house outside of London. I moved to the south west of London, Clapham and over the years I saw lots of areas that I wanted to invest in. Back then Balham was an up and coming area and I could see nice coffee shops popping up, more estate agents spreading down the road and I quite liked the idea of being able to invest there but I couldn’t, I didn’t have the time or the money. Over the years I accumulated you know, a little bit of money and now time was the blocker because you know, investing in property is more like starting a business than making a simple investment. So one day I was walking down Upper Richmond Road in Putney and there was a big house for sale and I imagined a stock ticker on the side of the house and I thought ‘why can’t it be that simple?’ You know if you think about it for a minute with the stock exchange if I want exposure to a specific company I don’t need to buy the whole thing, I can just buy a piece of it. During the period of my ownership I receive an income stream in the form of a dividend and when I want to sell I can simply sell on platform at a price that reflects the underlying value of the asset. So that is where the idea came from; my own frustration and a feeling that it could be as simple as the stock exchange and that was late 2013 and what was borne of the back of that was Property Partner.

Elliot Moss
Of course we all have those feelings as we walk past For Sale signs on a road near where we live I am sure – amazing that you can jump to something so simple off just a walk around a place. Interesting stuff. Lots more coming up from my Business Shaper, that’s Dan Gandeshi – he is the found and CEO of Property Partner. Time for some more music, this is B B King and it is appropriately called Paying The Cost To Be The Boss.

Paying The Cost To Be The Boss from B B King. Dan Gandeshi is my Business Shaper today. He is the CEO and founder of Property Partner and you very precisely described what it is that you do and where the idea came from. When you have that kind of idea that is what I call a big idea Dan. The first thing that happened after that was what? Did you start writing things down furiously? Did you talk to people? What do you do when you have a sort of break through idea like that?

Dan Gandeshi
Yeah it’s a good question. At the time I was in Berlin and I was there for a tech conference actually and the conference had finished and my wife and some friends were flying over for a few nights out and I had just come up with the idea, I told them about it and we’d go out during the day and then we would come back to the hotel, go to bed and I stayed up every night and just carried on developing the idea. I got into work on the Monday morning and resigned my job and…

Elliot Moss
Just like that?

Dan Gandeshi
Yeah just like that but it was a little bit more complicated because the person I resigned to was quite interested in my idea and asked me a little bit about it and said ‘well that sounds really interesting, tell me more. It sounds very complicated, you are going to need some regulatory approval’ and I said, ‘yeah absolutely’. He said, ‘do you even know this is legally possible?’ and I said, ‘no but look I am not going to find out if I carry on doing my job as I work very long hours and am very committed to it so I am just going to throw myself into it’ and he said, ‘look, you know, come back in a weeks’ time when you’ve had a chance to think about this’ and in that week I spent a lot of time with a lot of different law firms and realised and established that it was legally possible, very complicated but understood exactly how we would go about the legal process and then resigned again. Three months later when I finished that job I was working on Property Partner full-time and from then it was really about getting people around me that could help accelerate the process so we did a small funding round, bought some shareholders into the company. One of the notable first angel investors was a chap called Ed Wray who was co-founder of Betfair and took that from inception all the way to IPO for 1.4 billion in London so one of the early Fintech pioneers and we are quite often described as Fintech and Betfair was a market place as well. People on either side placing bets against one another and Property Partner we are a market place as well so we thought very carefully about you know, really getting people around us that could help accelerate that process. Started to build out the team and that was really the beginning stages of the journey.

Elliot Moss
Incredibly brave decision to make and make it twice by the sounds of it which is kind of funny. Did you think you had it in you? I mean had you thought about doing your own thing? Did that come from a family that had done that kind of thing or was it a bit of a surprise even to yourself?

Dan Gandeshi
Yeah I had thought many times about doing my own thing before and I was one of these kinds of people that would have an idea quite regularly and sort of develop it a little bit and get interested in it but nothing that was really quite as significant as Property Partner but also it coincided nicely with the right time in my life, you know, I felt that I had developed my career, it just felt like very good timing. I was going to be getting married down the line, having kids and I knew it would be much harder if I waited any longer so it was those things that aligned.

Elliot Moss
And a quick answer – was it a risk at that point for you? Yes or no? In your own head?

Dan Gandeshi
I didn’t think about it that way. Obviously objectively it was a risk because I was resigning a job, walking away from financial package and so on but you think about the counter-factual, you think about when I retire, will I regret, what would I regret more? Would it be not doing it or would it be the financial risk and at that point it was pretty clear what decision I needed to make. I just needed to go for it because otherwise I would always regret not doing so.

Elliot Moss
Find out what happened next when Dan Gandeshi went for it. Stay with me for much more on Jazz Shapers today. Latest travel in a couple of minutes and before that some words of wisdom for your business from our programme partners at Mishcon de Reya for your business.

You are listening to Jazz Shapers here on Jazz FM every Saturday morning I am very lucky
Because I have the privilege of talking to someone who has gone and done it, gone and taken the risk even though they haven’t seen it like that and have created their own business and if you have missed any of the many, many fantastic people I have interviewed in the past go into iTunes, put in the words ‘jazz’ and ‘shapers’ and you will find them all over there. My go and do it person today, Business Shaper today is Dan Gandeshi; he is the founder and CEO of Property Partner and they are a kind of a stock exchange if you like for investing in the bits of properties that you quite fancy versus buying the whole thing and that’s his description sort of earlier that Dan gave me. Dan you were talking about, and you said it in the way that people that have just gone and done do say it, you said ‘yeah then we went to, we got some investment, first round of investment, I went to this guy called Ed Wray and he had had quite a successful go’ – I mean that access and that ability to find the right people, to go and get the funds, to make the case, to get backed – how did that happen and how? You have raised a lot of money, I mean you raised in excess of ten million, easily north of probably towards fifteen. How have you done that? Why have they believed in you and how did you first… that very first raise – how did it happen?

Dan Gandeshi
Yeah so we’ve actually raised over twenty two million of venture finance now. We did another funding round in February of this year which was 15.9 but I think when it comes to raising money for a venture it is one of the smaller challenges you know, an entrepreneur’s job is to solve problems and chances are the business you are building is a much harder problem to solve than raising the capital and for me it was really engaging with people that could give me advice and along the way they decided that they wanted to invest and if they hadn’t decided that they wanted to invest then there would have been another way to go about it and it really was just focussing on the problem at hand which was how do we allow the world to invest in property in this totally new way and then along the way you then attract people that are passionate about your idea and excited about the way that you are thinking about it.

Elliot Moss
You very early on said ‘look we had this technology platform to build, we’ve got properties to invest in’ – how, help me understand this but the properties themselves who owns them? Have they been bought by a vehicle outright and then do you let people invest? How does it work?

Dan Gandeshi
Sure. So we typically buy an entire investment block so we will buy a block of flats, they might be several flats within a larger block or buy the whole block and that is presented on our platform with photos, floor plans, and chartered surveyor’s independent valuation. People can read all of that information on line on our website at Propertypartner.co.

Elliot Moss
Oh, oh there was a plug.

Dan Gandeshi
There we go.

Elliot Moss
It didn’t take long.

Dan Gandeshi
And then they simply fund their user account and click ‘invest’ and what is actually happening in the background is there is a UK limited company set up for every single investment and every property or every block is held by UK limited company and people becoming shareholders in that company. Every company is segregated from the assets and liabilities of the other investments and of our company Property Partner and then every month people receive their share of rental income and we re-value their shares regularly and they can trade on platform whenever they want to.

Elliot Moss
How do you know which, I mean this is a dumb question because I am a dumb person, how do you know you are buying a winner? You have obviously got property experts as part of this team or are they outsourced? Is that… how does that bit work?

Dan Gandeshi
Sure, yeah so our director of property who leads our property team was formerly global director of residential property at RBS. Before that at RBS he was overseeing twenty two thousand units, before that he ran a five hundred million pounds residential fund so one of the UK’s most experienced residential investment professionals. There is a team beneath him of professionals too. They source the assets, they negotiate price and they present them on a website but then it is down to the investor to take their view, now it might be that they particularly like London because the economic story of London but then the yields are lower so that will be a view that they are taking or they may like something that we are putting on in say Lincolnshire where the yield is a lot higher but it is a slightly different local GDP story. We present all of that investment case information on our website, we believe in every asset that we put on and then it is down to the investor to decide whether or not they want to take their view on that particular one.

Elliot Moss
Much more coming up from Dan, my Business Shaper today, Dan Gandeshi but time for some more music right now and again, it is appropriate I would say Dom’s having a stormer today, it’s called Don’t Wait Too Long and it’s from Madeleine Peyroux.

Madeleine Peyroux with Don’t Wait Too Long and you shouldn’t wait too long because if you really have a vision then you should go and get on and do it, that’s what my Business Shaper, Dan Gandeshi would say anyway. So you are only a couple of years in and obviously it seems like things are going the right way. These first few years, beyond that initial I’ve got this idea, I’ve got the shape of the things I’ve got to answer. What are the kinds of challenges that you are now facing? What’s phase two looking like or phase three or wherever you think you might be?

Dan Gandeshi
So there are always challenges to overcome and it always feels as though there is an endless list of them and what we are setting out to build is a global exchange where investors all over the world will be able to invest in property assets all over the developed world and when you put it into that context we are very much at the beginning, you know, we are UK only today, yes we’ve got 8,000 investors but we are looking to build a platform that allows millions of people to invest through it. So right now for example, our platform is in its early stages so for the mass market it is still complicated to decide which investment to make. We still need to iterate around our marketing messages, how we position ourselves, how we help the investor decide what their investment strategy will be so there is so many things that we are still very much at the beginning of and what we’ve now got though is 8,000 customers that we can learn from so what we do is we spend a lot of time engaging with those customers, working out which new features they need us to build, how they think about what they need next and that allows us to develop very closely around you know, what is actually demanded rather than what we think they will need.

Elliot Moss
It sounds very organised but I am guessing that behind the scenes you are like a swan underneath kicking like hell. Are you full on in the way that you were two years ago? Is it still an absolute passion that consumes you all day, all night and the weekends as well?

Dan Gandeshi
Yeah totally and I don’t see that ever changing. It is the first thing I think about in the morning, it’s the last thing I think about when I go to bed. I check our stats before I go to bed.

Elliot Moss
I won’t tell your wife.

Dan Gandeshi
She knows. And typically I wake up in the night with a few ideas that I jot down and you know, this is just life in a start-up, it’s your passion, it’s not a job and it’s 24/7 you know, I remember the day that my wife and I got married she was walking through reception, we were in Italy with flowers going to the venue and I was at the hotel desk signing investment documents. The day that she went into labour with our first child, I was walking around Putney Park to get the contractions to develop and I was on the phone closing our series A. You know none of these things wait, it’s really about I like to say you know, work life integration rather than balance but that’s okay you know, if you enjoy it then it’s not an issue.

Elliot Moss
Work life integration you heard it here first and you are probably right. Final chat coming up with Dan plus we will be playing a track from Louis Prima. That’s after the latest traffic and travel.

That was Louis Prima with a super duper upbeat number Jump, Jive An’ Wail. I hope you liked that, I did. Dan Gandeshi is with me just for a few more minutes and if you haven’t been listening he is the CEO and founder of Property Partner and we have had a really good explanation of what it is that you do and what you have created. I mean it is pretty extraordinary from a standing start that you have now, as you said, got twenty two million pounds of investment, you’ve got 8,000 investors that are happy buying you know, bits of property and as you said, you’ve kind of got a global ambition in there that’s going to come out. You don’t look stressed. Okay you talked about on your wedding day you were doing this and when you were going into labour, well not you but your wife was going into labour… that would be another… that would be a scoop here on Jazz FM. It wasn’t that but you know, you just seem… you look like a happy guy, you don’t have the stressful look but what does stress you Dan if you are honest? What are the bits when you go ‘actually that’s not very easy, that’s hard’?

Dan Gandeshi
I think the reality is that there are lots of stressful moments and I think one of the biggest things is trying to combine home life and work life so for example, when Joshua my son was born, the first six weeks were brutal. Trying to, you know, we launched the business publicly in January, he was born in March and that was the most stressful time of my life.

Elliot Moss
Exhaustion?

Dan Gandeshi
Yeah absolutely but just stress you know, he wasn’t feeding very well, he was losing weight and you know, you’ve got the launch of the business so those sorts of things can you know, they are really testing but you know, you’ve got to enjoy the journey of building a company because it continues for years and years and years. It is not a short-term thing so if you don’t enjoy it then it is really not a good choice really.

Elliot Moss
Do you find little islands of sanity and if so, in this speedy journey you are on, if so how and what do they look like?

Dan Gandeshi
I try and find a bit of time in the day to put my headphones on and that’s how I concentrate and get things done and that’s pretty helpful and I think that’s good and also I try and get home at least three nights a week in time to bath my son and that’s really nice so we can spend some time together and I get to put him to bed and even if I need to carry on working afterwards, after he has gone to sleep then that’s fine but it just gives me that time to make sure I have got a bit of balance in my life and you know, that sort of keeps me sane.

Elliot Moss
Listen it has been really good chatting to you. I am sure you are going to do fantastically well and no doubt in a few years we will have you back and your empire will be just that, it will cross continents I hope because it sounds like a fabulous idea and it sounds like you know what you are doing which a pretty good combination. Just before I let you go, what are we going to be playing next and why?

Dan Gandeshi
I have chosen Soul II Soul, Keep On Moving and I would be lying if I say I chose it myself, it’s actually one of my colleagues, Justin Hubble, our general counsel and he’s actually I think the only general counsel in the UK that used to run club nights. He is a mad music fan so this one is for Justin.

Elliot Moss
Fantastic how about that for team. Here it is, it’s Soul II Soul, one of my favourites too, with Keep On Moving.

That was Keep On Moving from Soul II Soul, the song choice of my Business Shaper via one of his team actually, Dan Gandeshi. What a brave guy, someone who knew he wanted to take the plunge and he did it. Someone who has exhibited a real ability for understanding what needs to be done and he has addressed all those points as he has built this relatively complex business into a really strong proposition. And someone who is day-by-day grappling with the notion of integrating his work life and his home life with young children, he is doing his very best to make it work. It is all really good stuff. Do join me again, same time, same place – that’s next Saturday for another edition of Jazz Shapers here on Jazz FM. But in the meantime stay with us because coming up next it’s Nigel Williams.

Daniel Gandesha
Founder and CEO of Property Partner, Daniel’s career has been dedicated to financial services and investment. He qualified as a chartered accountant while working at KPMG and is an FCA approved person. Prior to founding Property Partner, he served as Head of Commercial Development and Startup Investments at BSkyB, responsible for equity investments in, and commercial deals with, technology start-up companies.

Property Partner is a stock exchange for residential property, allowing anyone to invest in individual residential properties, with as much or as little as they like. Investors will own a share, receive rental income, and realise capital gains if property prices rise. They can also trade their holdings on a secondary exchange. The letting and management of the properties is carried out on behalf of investors.

Listen live at 9am Saturday.

Follow Daniel on Twitter @DanielGandesha.

“I stayed up every night and just carried on developing the idea. I got into work on the Monday and resigned my job…”

“…in that week I spent a lot of time with a lot of different law firms and realised that it was legally possible.”

“You think: when I retire, what would I regret more? Would it be not doing it, or would it be the financial risk? At that point it was pretty clear what decision I needed to make.”

“The reality is that there are lots of stressful moments and I think one of the biggest things is trying to combine home life and work life.”

“…an entrepreneur’s job is to solve problems and, chances are, the business you are building is a much harder problem to solve than raising the capital.”

“…it really was just focusing on the problem at hand which was ‘how do we allow the world to invest in property in this totally new way?'”

“Typically I wake up in the night with a few ideas that I jot down…this is just life in a start-up, it’s your passion, it’s not a job and it’s 24/7”

“You’ve got to enjoy the journey of building a company because it continues for years and years and years.”