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Dubai-based firm Realiste eyes Saudi Arabia's growing market

May 15, 2023 00:00:00

CAIRO, May 14 (Arab News): Dubai-based firm Realiste, a personal artificial intelligence assistant for real estate investments has set ambitious growth objectives with Saudi Arabia as a key market.

Founded in December 2021, the company is a proptech startup that develops AI-powered products for real estate investing with market forecasts that extend up to three years.

The company aspires to be the first real estate exchange that can help to identify the most profitable options in the market, allow purchase online within seconds directly from developers, and manage all the purchased assets in one place.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Alex Galtsev, founder of Realiste, said the company aims to revolutionize the region's real estate market with a specific focus on Saudi Arabia.

As one of the fastest growing real estate markets in the world, the Kingdom stands as a key aspect for Galtsev's strategy, stating that "the target market for Realiste AI in Saudi Arabia includes both secondary and primary real estate markets worth more than $100 billion."

He went on: "We see more interest in the Saudi market from investors. We expect that whoever buys 10, 20 apartments in Saudi and leaves it for five years, will be able to come back and see them grow by 100, 200 percent over that period."

The company has already established one foot in the Kingdom's market after landing a $10 million partnership during the LEAP event last February.

"Realiste recently launched a joint venture in Saudi Arabia, valued at $10 million, with local partners, including Ahmed Alenazi, former CEO of stc Pay. The collaboration will involve local developers and banks in digitizing 13 cities by the end of 2023," Galtsev stated.

Realiste also raised $500,000 for business development at a valuation of $10 million in Saudi Arabia with local partners. The company aims to digitize both the supply and demand of the property market.

"Expansion (to the Kingdom) has brought us more visibility and allowed us to attract more investors. We will continue establishing ourselves and products on the market throughout the year," he added.

"Our projections for the Kingdom are around 300 clients by the end of this year," Galtsev said, adding a projection of 1,300 transactions on the platform in 2023, up from 110 last year. "We are making use of our already well-known AI-driven tools, Index and Portfolio in the Saudi real estate market to attract foreign investors, like in other markets, such as Dubai," he added.

Index is the end user's intelligent mobile app that helps to make informed investment decisions, while Portfolio is the management system that enables users to view and modify investment opportunities.

"The ease and convenience these innovative approaches bring to real estate investment is unparalleled, making it a game-changer in the industry," Galtsev said.

The AI provider currently operates on a positive cash flow with revenue reaching $1 million in Q4 2022 from the Dubai branch and aims to achieve a 30-time increase this year to hit $30 million in 2023.

These goals seem achievable thanks to the Kingdom's growing market and Realiste's promising metrics that include annual growth at 100 percent.

"Saudi Arabia is predicted to grow significantly over the next decade as investors are drawn in by the government's large-scale economic initiatives, such as NEOM. Residential property prices in Riyadh, the country's capital, have risen by up to 60 percent in the last six months, indicating that the market is already expanding," Galtsev stated.

He added that the volume of Saudi Arabia's off-plan transactions was $81 billion last year with less than 1 percent digitized.

"To digitize the market, Realiste has developed key products, including a portfolio of real estate value tracking, market analytics along with the ability to book apartments online, and instant property evaluation," he added.

"Vision 2030 combined with the increasing demand for housing, has spurred investments in several new futuristic cities," Galtsev explained, adding: "Allowing foreign investment in Saudi Arabia's real estate market has the potential to generate multiple positive economic impacts."

The value of Saudi Arabia's real estate sector is forecasted to reach $161.3 billion this year, according to data firm Statista.

The market currently generates around 9.4 percent of the Kingdom's non-oil gross domestic product.

The company operates on a commission-based business model from real estate developers and banks on each transaction.

Realiste managed to secure $5 million in funding from angel investors in its early launch phase, including Russian banks and real estate developers.

As part of its plans, the company aims to raise a $15 million series A funding round this summer.

Realiste has operations in New York, London, and Moscow, as well as Dubai, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, and Jakarta.

It has secured over 40 contracts with some of the world's largest banks and developers, and in 2022 was recognized as the leading AI company in the UAE by the Future Innovation Summit.

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