CoVESTA creates accessible property opportunities for Australians with a unique co-investing platform for the local property market
Client | CoVESTA
|THE CHALLENGE||THE OUTCOME|
|Protecting CoVESTA’s intellectual property to facilitate future expansion||Successfully registering trade marks to protect the CoVESTA logo and name in Australia and internationally|
Daniel Noble, founder of CoVESTA, wanted to help his mother-in- law find a property to live in located in New South Wales, preferably somewhere close to the city. It proved a challenge finding a property for a reasonable price. Property is a growing market in Australia, and Daniel found that it outperformed the domestic and international stock markets. Although property is an attractive market, barriers to entry are high. He couldn’t find any easy entry point to start buying Australian property for investments.
Daniel decided to see if he could find a way to give more choice to the investor. CoVESTA was borne.
The CoVESTA Conception and Journey
The CoVESTA website shows the users available properties, and a user can start a syndicate with other investors. For example, a million dollar property can be broken up into shares held by different investors for five years. On the fifth anniversary of the purchase of that property, it is sold, unless 75% of investors choose to roll over for another five years.
Investors receive rental income according to their respective percentage of ownership. Investors share expenses as well, so the CoVESTA platform also reduces the costs of investing significantly.
By using a unique co-investing platform, users get to choose their risks, who they want to invest with, and how much they want to spend. Instead of using a $200,000 deposit for one property, a user can spread their deposit across multiple properties at once. It allows users to access other investors and gives them a higher yield than if they just leave their money in the bank.
However, being such an original platform, CoVESTA had to surmount two unique challenges.
Legal and Business Challenges
The first involved satisfying regulatory requirements. These requirements relate to the managed investment scheme that CoVESTA uses on its website. The investment process needed to be easy to understand. If the CoVESTA experience was misleading, this could lead to legal challenges if consumers felt confused or misled.
CoVESTA had to show that consumers could easily understand the technology and investment process. The technology needed to ensure the consumers could go through the process of purchasing the property and forming the syndicate easily on the website. The technology also had to ensure consumers could easily navigate around the website and understand how the platform works. So now the website includes an FAQ section that answers the questions about the purchasing process and the concept of fractional investment. It also clearly shows where to start the process and how the process works.
The second challenge was to educate people on fractional investment, which is when an investor owns a portion of the property. CoVESTA used social media and digital marketing to educate the market. The team found that speaking to the problems that people face has been very successful, like the common problem of becoming a first home buyer.
“Property is a big market. If you show success, larger players would be interested in throwing more money at the space. Future proofing was important for us.”
– Daniel Noble, Co-Founder.
It was also important to Daniel that CoVESTA secured its intellectual property. He wanted a way to protect the unique identifiers of the company — their name, logo and slogan.
This meant registering the word ‘COVESTA’, their slogan ‘the power of syndication’ and two logos, both in Australia and internationally. The LegalVision trade marks team completed the process domestically with IP Australia and for selected countries with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). The team used the trade marks process to protect CoVESTA against other trade marks in similar industries. They checked to see whether the word ‘CoVESTA’ was available. Then they lodged the applications online. For Australia, they used ‘TM Headstart’, which meant they could find out the likelihood of success before they paid for the full application. After examination and a waiting period, the trade marks were successfully registered.
Future for CoVESTA
With successful registration of its trade marks domestically, CoVESTA can publicise its brand and product freely. If another business in the same industry tries to copy the CoVESTA word, its slogan or logo, CoVESTA has legal rights against them. Furthermore, by proactively protecting its brand in other countries, CoVESTA now has the freedom to expand internationally if it does choose to take a global path in the future.
“You need a big vision. Break it down into milestones. Stay laser-focused on each milestone and on your horizons.”
Users are now building their watch list on the site. CoVESTA will activate the retail investing platform in early 2018. Getting retail investors using the platform to search for residential and commercial properties is CoVESTA’s focus for the near future.
Turning ideas into reality can be challenging. If you have any questions about licensing or creating bespoke agreements for your needs, or you need to know whether your website complies with regulations, call LegalVision’s business lawyers on 1300 544 755, or fill out the form on this page.
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