Fred Bristol talks about the investment platform helping people get on the property ladder.

Fred Bristol founded Brickowner, a property investment platform that allows people to invest as little as £100 into property investment opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have access too. The platform allows investors to diversify over multiple properties and offers people a route to get onto the property ladder. Brickowner is currently seeking investment on Seedrs.

Prior to Brickowner, Fred has invested in and managed property for the last fourteen years both in the UK and abroad. After university he moved to Eastern Europe and managed a property fund, and for the last six years has been investing in and managing property in the UK. Fred says, ‘We will shortly open up a secondary trading market so that investors can sell their investments before the end of the investment term which is generally 2-5 years depending on the opportunity.’ Fred tells us more.

I came up with the idea when… in early 2015 I was looking at buying a number of residential properties in Lincolnshire. I had thought how great if would be to also give other people access to property investment opportunities in a flexible and transparent way that would let them drip feed money into different investments over time, with the ability to trade out early if they wished.

The biggest challenge is… investing through platforms is still a relatively new concept, so one of the main challenges platforms like ours face is that of trust and security. This is gradually changing though.

The average day is spent… With a startup there are rarely average days. Things evolve and change quickly, which means constantly re-assessing and prioritising the most important things. I start each morning writing a ‘to do’ list of the main priorities that I need to achieve that particular day. This links into the different larger milestones I need to achieve to push the business and growth forward.

The team consists of... myself, my co-founder Toby Stone, the COO, and our CTO and the tech team. We also have a useful group of advisors who act as constant sounding boards.

My favourite quote is… Keep Buggering On, or KBO for short. It’s a Churchill quote. I think most things are possible with perseverance.

I am where I am today because of… being fluid and intuitive. I never set out to create a new business, it just happened from spotting the need for the product and the opportunity.

I am who I am because of... my attitude. It’s possible to learn and take something out of most experiences in life, both good and bad.

The best advice I've been given... is that it’s always possible to find an excuse and reason not to do something, but at some point you need to jump and take a leap of faith.

In five years I’d like to be… making a real difference to the way people invest and access property investments.

The thing no one ever tells you about running your own business online... is that the pace of change in an online business is just so much faster than an offline one. Everything happens quicker, and needs a quicker response from the management, than an offline business. I probably was told this but it’s hard to actually understand until you are involved with an online business.

The websites I most frequently use are.. Property Week, The Times and BBC News.

Our biggest mistake and what it taught us… was overly relying on a particular supplier. Our biggest hurdle so far was being let down by a supplier without a plan B in place. We now make sure we always know who we would go to as a supplier if something happens to our primary supplier.

The app I use to be more productive is…Slack - It’s become an important part of the way the team communicates and a lot easier than having hundreds of emails flying around.

The most rewarding experience we’ve had to date was… funding our first property, and seeing the investor demand for it and our platform.

April 2017