Ourboro was created to help homebuyers break into the real estate market. By creating a model that connects investor capital with homebuyers, we’re helping close the down payment gap that acts as a barrier for many prospective homeowners.
I’ve always been interested in trying to solve societal problems or market failures by rethinking standard practices. Companies and investors should be a force for good in the world. I hope this has been manifested in creating Ourboro.
Growing up in Toronto I’ve always had a varied list of interests, dabbling in a bit of everything from sports to community service. Like many future entrepreneurs, I was never one of those people who had a clear vision of what I wanted for my future career, but I think I’ve gained a lot of value from taking a generalist approach.
At a young age, I had the opportunity to take part in a Habitat for Humanity trip to El Salvador. While I have more complicated feelings around these types of volunteer trips today, it did serve as an enlightening experience. Viewing the effects of housing insecurity and the corrosive nature of wealth polarity in person, it imprinted a desire to reverse similar outcomes back home.
I was very fortunate to start my career in financial services. These positions opened my eyes to the world of capital markets that most people don’t get to see. Financial markets really do make the world go round, and it reinforced that wealth can only be created if people participate in asset ownership.
Switching gears for a few years, I moved to London, UK to work for the non-profit arm of Thomson Reuters. I had the opportunity to research and publish reports on topics like environmental sustainability, and human rights.
Not long after and back in Toronto, I jumped into what would become my first entrepreneurial venture, a real estate business using flexible design to enable affordable homeownership, in a sustainable way, without government intervention, or support. This is where I first started working with Norm.
Norm and I met a few times at different events within the social impact finance community. We hit it off right away, and it was clear we worked well together.
I came across a company in the US that was buying equity in owner’s homes, giving the homeowner cash for any debts, renovations, or retirement. In a world already oversaturated with consumer debt, the idea of replacing it with an equity partner stood out to me. They were allowing people to access the equity in their homes without having to move, why not do the same to help would-be home owners?
We also noticed that more and more unrelated adults were pooling their savings, buying homes together, and splitting the space. Why not replace the second individual with a corporate entity, and allow homeowners to enjoy the entire home for themselves? A similar structure is used in financing real estate development projects, why not give homeowners access to an investment partner in a single-family home context? The current model of debt financing alone was clearly failing a large segment of the population that could otherwise participate in rising real estate values; we wanted to be part of the solution.
Like any new business, the idea is only the first 1%, the other 99% is execution. Over time, we got our first investors on-board, and started building out our team. It was no longer just me, Norm, and a pitch deck. We got our first office space, started building out our internal teams, and began working with our first co-buyers. Most recently, we formed our partnership and strategic investment with Peerage Realty Partners. The partnership has already enabled us to scale the reach of our product. We’re very happy to have partners that share our vision of democratizing home ownership. It’s an exciting inflection point for the business.
It’s no secret that purchasing a home in the GTA is becoming increasingly difficult for new buyers. Solutions like Ourboro will require a paradigm shift when it comes to how people view the real estate market, investing, and asset ownership.
Right now, it feels like we’re in a negative era when it comes to people’s perception of the market economy. The topic of income inequality is front & centre, and slowly the idea arises that those with wealth are inherently a negative force in society.
What Ourboro illustrates is that investor capital in the residential market doesn’t always have negative externalities. Instead, it can be a positive force in people’s lives. By investing with Ourboro, investors are enabling more home buyers to get on the housing ladder and start participating in the wealth created from rising home values. At the same time, they get a partner who is equally incentivized to have the property grow in value.
It’s my hope that Ourboro can be part of a change in people’s perspectives. The market economy is the best system for wealth creation if everyone can participate. As Ourboro continues to grow, I’m excited to provide real stability to potentially hundreds of thousands of people, including the potential for intergenerational wealth creation for our home buyers that will have ripple effects for years to come. It’s an exciting idea; be a part of changing not just our homeowners’ lives, but maybe even their grandchildren’s. Ourboro can help kickstart this process.
When Norm and I set out to create Ourboro, we did it with the belief that companies should strive to make the world a better place. We want to be a worthy partner and, ultimately, have our homebuyers think that working with us was one of the smartest decisions they’ve ever made.