How It All Started
Trained as a city planner and armed with a knowledge of geographic information system (GIS) applications, Raymond Chetti moved to Seoul from Long Island, New York to work for a company consulting on Seoul’s commercial developments.
Working as a GIS consultant for Thomas Consultants, Raymond advised Korean retail giants such as Shinsegae on their new shopping mall developments.
As a GIS consultant, Raymond created maps and analysed location based data.
Along the way, he gained the unofficial title of “real estate expert” among his network, and was often asked for help in selling and buying real estate in the city.
While trying to support these real estate transactions, he saw there was a problem with buyers and sellers acquiring accurate appraisals.
“Buyers and sellers had significantly different opinions about the price of real estate. And although appraisals were needed, nobody wanted to pay for them given their steep price tag.”
In November 2017, he decided to investigate the problem, and found a company in San Francisco that provided real estate appraisal solutions through big data and predictive analytics.
“I researched the South Korean proptech and real estate data analytics market, and then interviewed my real estate network here about adapting this kind of big data / AI based appraisal solution into the Korean market.”
The feedback pushed him to develop CRE Korea, a real estate appraisal company that sells appraisals powered by data analytics.
As the founder and first president of Seoul Rotary Club’s satellite club for young professionals, the Seoul Young Leaders Club (SYLC), Raymond was able to quickly form his team, and brought on Phillip Choi as a co-founder and programmer.
Together, they expanded their team and began to build the framework for CRE Korea.
As first-time founders and foreigners (though Phillip has Korean citizenship, he was born in New Orleans), communication with Korean VC’s and competing with local Korean companies was a challenge.
Raymond and Phillip expanded their team with Korean members to diversify their appeal to Korean companies.
Overcoming tradition was also a challenge. “Koreans seem to get emotionally attached to their perceived value of their property, more so than Americans who are all about the stats and numbers.”
CRE is working on establishing its credibility with additional sources of data (over 30 sources collected) to create an accurate measure of real estate value.
CRE plans to expand from commercial real estate and include residential appraisals, as well.
They have been creating use cases, and continue to add to their customer base, documenting feedback along the way.
Currently, they are integrating feedback from prospective customers, creating an API for their proprietary appraisal data, and making partnerships with those who are interested in real estate, the potential of proptech, and automated valuation models (AVMs).