I had the pleasure of interviewing Albert Marinas, an entrepreneur launching PadBlock, a blockchain-based platform to guide home buyers through the residential real estate process and connect them to vetted vendors such as mortgage brokers and closing companies along the way. An immigrant who made his way to New Jersey from Cuba via Miami, Albert comes to the real estate sector after more than a decade in the international logistics industry and a stint in the US Marines, where he served four years before his honorable discharge as E4/Corporal.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story of how you decided to pursue this career path? What lessons can others learn from your story?
A little more than two years ago, I bought a home and the experience was less than smooth. Many of the properties I found on popular apps had long since been sold, despite them being listed as “available.” The home-search process overall was surprisingly analog, actually — I printed, signed, and scanned countless documents — and I encountered many professionals who never replied to my calls, text, or e-mails.
Following the closing, much as any analyst would do after a project, I did a postmortem of the experience. Having spent the past 12 years in logistics, this was natural to me. I began my retracing the steps of my transaction, from the moment I began looking online, to the interactions with several professionals, all the surprises I received, and unexpected expenses. I ended up with a handful of yellow sticky notes. After jotting down the three top challenges, I set to draw it on a whiteboard. Next was looking for a solution to each by using technology. Visualizing the process drawn on the board, and placing myself both as a home buyer and a licensed professional lead to the breakthrough. Soon I came up with a basic structure to vertically integrate the home-buying process, vet professionals, and use up-to-date data. Then, I sought to add value at every stage, not only to the home buyer but also to the professionals engaged in the transaction. The result was PadBlock: a B2B and B2C digital ecosystem for real estate, where users can buy, sell, rent, and get connected with the right professionals along the way.