Hey, I’m Asaf, originally from Israel. Becoming an Architect was a dream of mine ever since I can remember myself. I studied in Los Angeles and Jerusalem and my dream came true 7 years ago. I got my first job as an architect in a big firm specializing in dense residential projects. It was very interesting, but I was feeling it was not exactly what I would like to do, and luckily I received an opportunity to join the public sector. I was in charge of addressing the need for public buildings – daycares, libraries, schools – in the context of urban renewal of the municipality of Bat Yam (southern Tel Aviv).
This job made me realize that although I enjoy designing buildings very much, what I am truly passionate about is making them happen: hiring qualified consultants, securing the funding, making sure we make the right buildings at the right places. I understood I needed some business fundamentals to support this transition, so I moved to France for an MBA at HEC Paris, and I specialized in digital innovation.
Outside of the office, I am passionate about hiking, though I don’t get to do it as often as I would like to. My last very long hike was in Japan and it was then that I decided to do my MBA. Going outdoors and taking a break from the routine is a very good way to think about what you want to do next!
In the city, I am determined to maintain a weekly early-morning workout routine that keeps me focused and improves my productivity. That would be my time to prepare for the day’s meetings, organize my thoughts, and prioritize my tasks.
Also, my partner and I really enjoy cooking at home and hosting great dinner parties. Being in France is a real treat for experimenting with local cuisine!
What I do at Buildrz
I arrived at Buildrz at a very strategic point, where the company was looking to grow and scale up. We were looking into new markets. I am responsible for exploring the US market, analyzing its needs and the ability of our products to fit its expectations, as well as forming new business models and partnerships.
Actually, I recently came back from a 2-week trip in the US, meeting stakeholders, potential users, getting insights into how the market works and how similar it is to what we do in France.
The context is very specific: first of all, the US market is divided into many local submarkets with very different characteristics and players. There is also a totally different mix in the property structure – renting is much more important for multifamily housing in the US – so we have to adjust to these economic models taking into account both condos and apartments.
The maturity of the market to using technology is another big difference: the Multifamily US market utilizes many apps and software to optimize decision making through collecting data, analyzing market needs, and optimizing asset management. But there is still a gap between the moment you get the land and the moment you hand the project over to the contractors. I think the US is more mature and willing to accelerate and optimize the development process, and knows about tech, though it has not faced any similar tool yet.
Still, I would say there are many similarities between what we do in the French market and what we would like to do in the US market. Though real estate is going really well up to this point, there is a real need to create more transparency regarding zoning codes, feasibility and optimizing the urban context we are building in.
The people I met – architects, developers, startup founders, investors – expressed a lot of enthusiasm regarding Buildrz, and a consensus about how groundbreaking the app is: instead of multiplying the iterations between architects, developers and municipalities, we offer them a fully transparent tech and data-based solution that gives them more time to think about quality rather than quantity. People were very impressed by the robustness of the algorithm we have been optimizing for 3 years, they could not believe that we could actually modelize a zoning code to such an accurate level.
Everyone is really looking forward to figure out how Buildrz can streamline workflows across the whole value-chain, working with other features like construction management apps or BIM to create a seamless experience over the whole process.
I think we could go even further by improving our understanding of how land sourcing really works beyond direct prospecting. Regarding cities to launch in, we are carefully examining specific cities where multifamily market is literally on the verge of exploding, based on Development and Transactions data, in addition to regional trend analyses.
The way I see Buildrz
For me Buildrz is a groundbreaking product. Working as an architect in a country where zoning codes are vague and ambiguous, I would see myself spending too much time thinking about how much I can build instead of how to build it well. All my architect friends in Israel want a tool like Buildrz to stop calculating floor area volumes!
When I saw Buildrz for the first time, I realized that it allows offsetting the discussion from quantity to quality. We create full transparency about what you can build so we can finally discuss how valuable your project is to the city and to its inhabitants.
It is a strong empowerment for all stakeholders using this platform to put forward how the cities, the place we live in, should look like. Everyone agrees that real estate development has not been disrupted for too long, and it is high time we should enjoy the benefits of technology.
What I like most at Buildrz
I really like the fact that the company has a genuine DNA. Everyone is really passionate about what they do, it is about disrupting and not trying to do what the others are doing. From our logo to meetings to decision making, everything is done in a very unique way, and it is one of the main strengths of the company.
A challenge I’m facing on a daily basis
Since I’ve been transitioning from private to public sector and then private again, it is a real challenge to settle all the insights I have on Buildrz given my previous experiences as an architect, a city official, and a business developer. There is always a balance between what you learn in business school, what you get from your past experience, and your current mission to help the company grow, gain market share and keep improving.
A project I would like to start
I would really like to start a community of architects and IT developers aside from our companies. Architects could enrich with their knowledge the potential of IT, improve parametric and generated design, and leverage on this tech. That could be a very beneficial way to create a synergy between those worlds, that are often too separated. Maybe we could start a coding school for architects, or a planning school for developers!