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HomeProfileHussain Al Hilli of Byoot Capital

Hussain Al Hilli of Byoot Capital

Byoot[2]

 

 

 

 

 

Today we are joined by Hussain Al Hilli from Byoot Capital.

We aim to democratize the property investment sector through the concept of Crowdfunding. Giving investors access globally to purchase individual shares in buy to let residential properties.

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Who are you and what’s your background?
My name is Hussain Al Hilli, and I am the Co-Founder at Byoot. I studied Chinese and Economics at The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS),

During my time at University, I ran a £3m property fund, trained with the British Military, and was the founder of a TEDx in London with a theme of Shifting Paradigms. I also had placements with Deutsche Bank & UBS, before leaving to set up our Fintech firm – Byoot.

Hussain Al Hilli of Byoot Capital
Hussain Al Hilli of Byoot Capital

I met my Co-Founder Marwan Field on an Institute of Leadership & Management course during my final year. Though it wasn’t love at first sight, we went out for our first dinner after the 4-month programme, and Byoot was born, a platform that allows investors to globally trade shares in individual buy to let properties.

Marwan Field who is now 32, is an Ex Investment Banker. He privately managed large multi million pound funds for extremely high net worth clients in the GCC region, and worked in 3 large Investment Banks across two continents. He is an Entrepreneur by design, owns over 6 businesses including a dental practise, and has been developing properties for over 13 years growing an extremely large family portfolio business with over £15m of assets under management; in his own words he ‘bleeds bricks & mortar’.

What is your job title and what are your general responsibilities?
My role is COO – in one line, I drive Byoot’s growth and focus on international expansion. My day to day consists of managing operations, hiring new talent, pitching for funding, and currently representing Byoot on UK Fintech Trade Missions around the world as a UKTI ‘Fintech Envoy’ to promote and grow the concept of Crowdfunding within the Fintech Sector following the PM David Cameron’s Fintech Trade Mission to SE Asia.

Can you give us an overview of your business?
At Byoot, our mission is to innovate and democratise the Finance & Property sectors. We aim to transform the way people invest, manage, buy and use services within these sectors by harnessing the power of technology to allow transactions at the click of a button.

With the concept of Crowdfunding we are giving investors access to globally trade shares in individual buy to let properties. Our minimum ticket size is £10, ensuring that barriers to entry to the Property Sector have officially been removed.

The market is still in its infancy, however with the amount of revenue being generated through portals such as our own and others in the same space, it looks to be one of the biggest in the Fintech Sector over the next 5 years.

The business model is robust, and the model is very scalable. Our Fintech Trade Missions with UKTI have been useful in establishing international partnerships domestically for our scaling model over the next 5 years for our company road map.

The Byoot Capital website
The Byoot Capital website

Tell us how you are funded.
In all honesty, when we first started out, our concept was so new to the market that investors were very conservative with regards to investing.

In order to survive over the last 3 years we created sister businesses that allowed us to generate cash flow – accidentally and with some good fortune we became a holding group with now 4 businesses across the Fintech sector. Our vision as a holding company is to become a vertical conglomerate in the Fintech Sector for Finance & Property.

We are currently conducting our Seed Round for Byoot Capital and hope to close over the next 2 months, we are already in talks with Investors, and currently working with Grant Thornton on their accelerator programme.

Why did you start the company? To solve what problems?
Marwan and I started the company Byoot in 2013, we are both from property and finance backgrounds and have always invested and managed property portfolios. However, a lot of our network that consists of many professionals were looking to buy property and were simply unable to.

With the financial crisis in 2008 leaving the world in Economic turmoil – the banks stopped lending, deposits became too high, incomes were too low, stocks were too volatile and being credit worthy became an issue. We wanted to open up access to a market that was flourishing, but inaccessible to everyone bar a very small group of investors.

Truth is property is a global language that everyone understands, and that is how our idea for trading shares in a global property exchange came about.

Who are your target customers? What’s your revenue model?
Our target customers are split into the following:

– Institutional Clients (£1m+)
– High Net Worth Individuals (£250k+)
– Sophisticated Investors (£50k+)
– Retail Clients (£10+)

We are lowering the barriers to entry for the Property sector, by allowing a minimum ticket size of £10. we are now able to give access to the market to absolutely anyone looking to make a return on the property market.

If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change in the banking and/or FinTech sector?
The Fintech sector is moving rapidly and the regulator is really struggling to keep up. Whilst the Innovation Lab and Sandbox are useful developments, there needs to be a dramatic shift in catering resources solely to case work and getting regulation going for Fintech start-ups who are unable to quickly get to market due to the regulatory hurdles.

In essence, I believe a magic wand is required to facilitate innovation through faster regulation, as it is in my humble opinion currently being hindered and held back by the regulator’s traditional approach.

What is your message for the larger players in the Finance industry?
Collaboration is key, in our Fintech trade missions around SE Asia I noticed how the mentality is spread across all large players in the Finance industry, not quite understanding how agile and lean these start-ups are and how they could benefit from collaboration.

We do not want it to be a head to head war, but at the moment it feels that way. As a result my advice is rather than set up accelerators to watch over the market, speak to the firms who are already existent in the market and collaborate. Perhaps Barclays have been a good example of working with start-ups, either through start up loans, their powerful Tech Stars Accelerator which is active in helping start ups scale, or indeed playing in the Fintech market with examples of their own production – ‘Ping It’.

What phone are you carrying and why?
iPhone 6 – it does the job.

Where do you get your industry news from?
I read my Twitter feed hourly, FT daily, and The Economist Weekly.

I am a member of the TLA Fintech & China working groups, so I often get the news of the sector directly from Jeff Tijssen & Russ Shaw. We are soon to attend a Fintech trade mission to China next week.

I work closely with Shaul David (UKTI Fintech Specialist). We are currently part of the delegation together on the UKTI Trade Mission to Vietnam.

Innovate Finance also whom Byoot are a member of, feed us all the up to date action of the sector.

Can you list 3 people you rate from the FinTech sector that we should be following on Twitter?
@cgledhill (Chris Gledhill of Secco Bank).

@RussShaw1 (Russ Shaw Tech London Advocates).

@ShaulDavidUK (Fintech Specialist at UKTI)

Can you suggest the name of an Angel Investor or VC that might be interested in being profiled?
Susanne Christie & Chris Wittlinger, they are a plain awesome team and head a syndicate of investors at Fintech Circle.

What’s the best FinTech product or service you’ve seen recently?
Not so recent but still the best is Hassle.com – I use them so regularly that I always sing the praises of Alexandra Depledge, it is unfortunate that she has now stepped down from her CEO role at the company.

Finally, let’s talk predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?
The obvious one is blockchain. It has indeed become the buzzword for 2016. However I do believe that there is a still a while to go in understanding how it can be used as a framework for many companies to help transact smarter, better and more transparently.

How the banks choose to now collaborate with the start-ups in the Fintech sector is what I believe will truly determine which way this sector will head.

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Thanks to Hussain for his answers today. You can find out ore about Byoot Capital on their website, twitter, facebook and LinkedIn.

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Ewan
Ewan
Ewan is Founder and Editor of FinTech Profile and Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of mobile and FinTech industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.
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