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Starting Pegaxis: 3 years, Countless Rejections and a Singular Obsession With Solving One Big Problem

17 November 2016 — The Pegaxis team is excited to announce that we have raised our pre-series A funding from Savills a UK-listed real estate conglomerate with offices in 37 countries. We are thrilled by the vast opportunities that this deal and partnership will open for us. This strategic investment, along with the enthusiastic feedback from our users, is a major validation of the Pegaxis team and of the growing importance of automating this decades-old property maintenance industry.

But this win did not come easily, it was achieved after a lot of effort, anxiety and heartache. 1 year 8 months ago, we painfully decided to pivot from an online directory of service providers (sgFixIt.com) to Pegaxis— a B2B property management marketplace. We were just a couple of guys working out of home, excitedly chasing a dream without compensation, while being constantly haunted by the fear of running out of money. But we were determined. We wanted to help property managers hire service providers as easy as hailing an Uber — saving time and money in the process by doing away with inefficiencies in the current procurement workflow.

Pegaxis inception
Pegaxis inception  meeting — 10 hours non-stop on a Saturday

I was reading an article by Mark Suster, American entrepreneur and investor, and a couple of sentences got stuck in my head:

"Building any business is hard, all-consuming, frustrating and fraught with personal challenges. When a founder is 'mission driven' you get the sense that he or she will do whatever it takes to make an impact in the market they serve and will keep persevering whatever the startup trends of the month. I encourage entrepreneurs to try and tackle harder problems even if it makes fund raising more difficult and is less likely to succeed..."

I think most people will agree that property maintenance is not the sexiest industry and is commonly taken for granted. This is particularly so for the younger generation — i.e. millennials —— which I belong to. I was only exposed to the industry by virtue of my parents' business running a boutique property management company. Decades old practices made it evident that the industry had not embraced technology and there seemed to be no catalyst for innovation in sight. Watching the industry as a whole operate with dated practices when the world is racing ahead in terms of technology convinced me that the property management industry was in need of a major overhaul.

After we launched Pegaxis in February 2016, we were lucky enough to be accepted into the NUS School of Computing incubator (Furnace) and the DBS HotSpot Pre-accelerator  program which provided valuable guidance and lessons from Alpha Camp, as well as a warm startup community that fuelled our development. With this support, we experienced tremendous growth in both user base and gross merchandising value over the past 8 months.

Pegaxis team
Pegaxis founding team in the cosy offices of The Co (Duxton)

Pegaxis is at the start of a major growth phase. With the backing of Savills, we are confident that we will be able to scale the business up even faster. We will also be leveraging on Savills’ global presence and track record to expand overseas so that we can help even more property managers, property owners and service providers.

Our entrepreneural journey thus far has been full of ups and downs, and we are very lucky to have had a superb support base throughout. I personally am immensely grateful for everyone who has come across Pegaxis and gave us some of their time to listen to us, offering help and suggestions, even comfort when it was greatly needed. We would not have been able to come thus far without such support.

At this point, we are also very glad to announce that Mr Chiang Kwok Shong has accepted a position on the Pegaxis board as a non-executive director. Mr Chiang has been my mentor since sgFixIt days and has (very) patiently guided me through the startup jungle with his experience and know-how. I am grateful that he has agreed to continue to guide the Pegaxis team as we explore our full potential.

Cbd landscape
So many buildings, so much property maintenance services to procure for them!

With renewed energy, the Pegaxis team is in expansion mode to complete the mission we have set. What if every property manager could stop constantly hunting for service providers and manage their properties online? What if service providers could stop worrying about finding work? What if we could reduce costs for everyone by 30% by removing all the inefficiencies associated with the current manual practices? What if everyone had a shorter to-do list and could go home at 6 p.m. everyday to spend more time with their family and friends?

Those what-ifs are why we look forward to work every morning and that’s the future we’re excited to build.

The Author

Ted is CEO & Co-Founder of Pegaxis, a Singapore based property management platform which combines a B2B property services marketplace for property managers to source for quotations and procurement management tools.

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Pegaxis 2017