None of the great things in the Universe would exist if it wouldn’t be for the people behind them. Vartus, the first independent home appraiser in Latvia, also wouldn’t exist if there wouldn’t have been a wonderful opportunity for its founders, Raul and Oskars, to meet.
Raul comes from Southern Mexico. He has an undergraduate degree in the Industrial and Systems Engineering and Economics from Tec de Monterrey, in Mexico and a graduate degree in Economics from Harvard University, in the US. He has previously cofounded three successful companies and has been doing data analysis and consulting for over 13 years. Most of his experience is on housing policy, education and financial inclusion.
A few years ago, after he had lived in Latvia for a while, Raul realised how difficult it was to get information about the real value of real estate property. “I thought about a lot of questions and wondered whether any of them could be answered with data,” he explains. “At that time I was introduced to to the public registry (Zemesgramata), but I was told that it was very complicated to get the information from it and the quality of data might not be good.”
Despite that, one day, at the end of 2016, Raul rode his bike to the public registry office to decide for himself. He found that not only there were tons of data available, but was also in a great shape. In fact, Latvia is among just a few countries where the land registry is completely digitalised and updated daily. After finding out about all the data, he worked for a year on his own, until a home appraisal model was developed based on seven input’s we’ve already explained in the past articles. It was great, but Raul still needed a partner to scale this project through a web application and share with the public.
Oskars, grew up in Purvciems, in Riga. He started coding when he was 15. By 18, he was working as a software developer. He has an undergraduate and a graduate degree from Riga Technical University and over 10 years of experience working in Fintech companies, and a travel search engine.
In 2017, he began working on a personal project constructing a data hub for real estate: a search engine that gathered information from different sources, so users could find and compare all properties in one place.
Being a software and systems engineer, Oskars had the technical skills required for the project. But he still needed a partner to bring meaning to the data, and find a business model.
It was a lucky coincidence that the guys, who each come from a different side of the world, both attended the same TechHub meet-up and somehow started talking to each other.
When they came together, it quickly became clear that they both had been wanting to do the same thing - to create something valuable and useful for anyone who has ever researched for buying, selling or renting a property, or has just been looking around the market, - but had been lacking the skills the other had. It didn’t took too long before Raul and Oskars decided to join forces and Vartus was created. Raul is now the CEO and in charge of the data science at the company while Oskars is the technology backbone of the company, working to develop the tool and make it even more useful for you.
They’ve already put in a lot of work in the website and plan to do even more, eventually developing the services across all Baltic States. On the way to achieve that, this summer they participated in a competition together with 250 other applicants and were chosen among 11 new Latvian start-ups to participate in the Startup Wise Guys accelerator in Riga. “We are very happy to have this opportunity to work with great mentors and polish our skills to keep working to earn the confidence of Latvian homeowners, buyers and renters, and help them discover the true value of their property,” says Raul and Oskars, adding that the user feedback is a crucial part of Vartus’s further development and everyone is invited to try out the tool and share it with family and friends to help the company to find out the users’ needs and opinion in order to improve.