FIRST STEP OF A DREAM: ESTABLISHING ROOTS
How did Kyle and Joe come up with the name for their company? “In traditional Chinese culture, purchasing a flat represents the first step for establishing your family, so we think it’s appropriate to choose “Roots” as our company name,” Joe explains. This being Hong Kong, purchasing any property is a massive financial undertaking, and this is why the pair of HKUST MBA graduates want to do their part to help Hong Kongers get on-board by matching users with the most suitable mortgages for them.
Roots works via analysing users’ personal profile, needs and affordability, together with its relationship with 18 mortgage providers and the power of big data, Roots matches potential homeowners with the right banks and other mortgage financers. Since its founding in 2018, Roots’ success rate in pairing clients with a suitable mortgage? An incredible 95 percent.
Joe and Kyle aren’t resting on their laurels however—they already have plans to expand the Roots platform by utilising robo-adivsory technology to suggest suitable properties for homeowners to target. Joe says, “We want Roots to be a one-stop-shop platform for potential users hoping to buy a flat in Hong Kong.” On multiple occasions, Kyle mentions Expedia, the travel booking website, as an analogy to what the pair are aiming for.
In Kyle and Joe’s estimation, the HKUST community made such a wide and immense contribution to their entrepreneurial success it is impossible to name more than just a few names. “The MBA Office and Entrepreneur Center were obviously indispensable for us,” Joe says. “Renee, Gary, Cyrus, and Loretta, a big thank you to them.” Kyle adds fellow MBA students and alumni were helpful as well, especially those who taught them the technical/coding knowledge the Roots’ founders needed. Even HKUST undergrads pitched in.
As for advice for future HKUST graduates who are planning to make it big as a start-up founder, Joe is quick to temper expectations for those who have ideas of being the next Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg; “Being a start-up founder is a lot of work, you have to get hands-on for every aspect of your business, the nitty-gritty stuff.” Both readily admit they spared no-one when it came to asking for advice and help with expanding their network. “Honestly, you’d think some people would be annoyed by our approach, but we’ve been grateful so many people have spent their time helping us over the past few years,” Kyle says.
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