In the penultimate episode of season 9 of the Propcast, Louisa is joined by Nobu Iguchi, Managing Partner at Agya Ventures, and Fatima Dicko,Founder & CEO at Sugar.
In this episode, they discuss their journeys into the real estate innovation space and how, over the years, they’ve come to realise how important the concept of “community” has become.
We hear from Fatima about the mission, product and value of Sugar in the real estate industry, while Nobu explains how Agya Ventures helps businesses expand into Japan. The key takeaway from this episode is that innovation happens as a result of people taking risks.
Key Insights From This Episode:
About Our Guests:
Nobu Iguchi, Managing Partners at Agya Ventures
Nobu Iguchi is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Agya Ventures. Before Agya Ventures, Nobu worked at Bridgewater Associates, as a senior investment professional on the micro equities team. Nobu started his career at McKinsey & Company, where he was based out of the Tokyo office, and worked on projects across the United States, Thailand and Germany. Nobu holds a BS in Chemistry from Yale College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Agya Ventures is a technology-focused real estate fund investing in exceptional entrepreneurs and early-stage companies.
Fatima Dicko, Founder & CEO at Sugar
Fatima Dicko is the Founder & CEO of Sugar, a resident experience platform that helps property managers build stronger communities. Before Sugar, Fatima spent 5 years at P&G as a senior engineer on a product innovation team. While at P&G, she received several patents and was 1 of 127 nominated technologists awarded the annual ‘Most Transformative Product Innovation’ award.
Fatima came to the U.S. from Mali at a young age and grew up in New York City, receiving her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University and MBA from Stanford Business School. She was named as ’18 Inspiring Women to Watch’ by Inc Magazine, listed on the 2021 Forbes ‘Next 1000’ list and has been featured in major publications such as TechCrunch, Business Insider, Crunchbase, Black Enterprise and CNBC.
Sugar is a modern resident engagement platform that turns apartment buildings into vibrant communities. Sugar allows residents to pay rent, unlock doors and earn rewards for engaging with their community. By elevating the residential experience at their properties, Sugar helps managers attract new residents, increase lease renewal rates and introduce additional revenue streams. Sugar’s vision is to turn strangers into neighbours and neighbours into friends.
About Our Host
Louisa is the co-founder of LMRE, which has rapidly become the market-leading global PropTech recruitment platform and search consultancy with operations across North America, the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia-Pacific.
To promote the industry she is so passionate about, Louisa set up the Global podcast ‘The Propcast’where she hosts and invites guests from the built environment space to join her in conversation about innovation.
LMRE is globally recognised for leading the way in Real Estate Tech & Innovation talent management.
From the outset our vision was to become a global provider of the very best strategic talent to the most innovative organisations in PropTech, ConTech, Smart Buildings, ESG, Sustainability and Strategic Consulting.
At LMRE we are fully committed at all times to exceed the expectations of our candidates and clients by providing the very best advice and by unlocking exclusive opportunities across our global network in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.
[02:20] Fatima: Can you share your journey to this space?
[04:20] Nobu: Can you tell us about your journey to the VC space?
[05:40] Nobu: What do you call “early stage” and how much capital do you look to put in?
[07:40] Fatima: Can you talk a bit more about how you can strengthen community resident spaces and how did you go about your raise with Nobu?
[09:30] Fatima: Where is Sugar based?
[12:40] Nobu: What change have you seen pre and post-COVID? Have you been investing at the same rate? How many more investments are you looking to secure by the end of this year?
[16:20] Nobu: Do you think valuations will go slightly down or be more slightly realistic?
[16:50] Fatima: How have the last nine months been since securing your investor?
[19:15] Nobu: You help businesses expand out to Japan, how do you go about it?
[22:20]The ‘LMRE’ part, Louisa asks the guests to talk about;
L– Touch on the main lessons you have learnt throughout your career.
Nobu: There is a risk in not taking a risk.
M – Please give a mention to anyone / product / service.
Nobu: Kunal, Aaron, Elian, my wife, Megan and my daughter, Ruth.
R – What has been the most rewarding aspect of working in PropTech?
Fatima: It’s a very relationship-driven industry.
E – What are you excited about in the future of PropTech?
Fatima: There’s so much opportunity in this space.
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