#5: Solving the Housing Crisis With Daniel Dubois, the President & Co-Founder of Key

#5: Solving the Housing Crisis With Daniel Dubois, the President & Co-Founder of Key

“Ideas typically come from taking two seemingly unrelated objects and bringing them together to create something magical.” - Daniel Dubois Daniel Dubois is the Co-Founder and President of Key, a serial entrepreneur, and an adventure seeker overflowing with nuggets of wisdom. He’s a Vancouver native and he’s founded and sold two venture-backed companies. He worked at his dream company Airbnb for 2 years, where he strategized growth in top-tier markets. Then, In 2019, he came up with an idea he became obsessed with and took a leap of faith that propelled him into his current venture, Key. Key has created a new economic model for residential real estate that replaces a conventional mortgage in a Homeownership-as-a-Service (HaaS) model. With Key, you can buy a home with only $15K while maintaining the freedoms of renting. What is the PROBLEM that Key is solving? In Toronto, it takes an average of 21 years to save up for a down payment. Say “goodbye” to owning even an entry-level condo until your late 40s. Without having the ability to own a home, people have to spend an excessive amount of money on rent. At Airbnb, Daniel witnessed the crisis we have in homeownership. The thousand-year-old system is highly inefficient—it’s broken. How can you solve the housing crisis and make homeownership affordable? What is Key’s SOLUTION? Key’s solution is an innovative economic model that does not require a mortgage. Traditional homeownership is binary-- either you own a home or you don’t (and therefore have to pay rent). Key’s solution enables people to buy equity in a home with as little as $15K instead of having to buy the entire home. For example, this means that you can buy 12% of a home instead of having to buy the entire home (it’s non-binary). As a result, the amount of rent that you pay is proportional to the amount of equity you own in the home. So if you own 12% of a home, you would only pay 88% of the original price of rent. Therefore, instead of having to pay the full amount of rent for a countless number of years, you can buy your home slowly over time. But Key is more than just an innovative economic model. They also built technology that digitized the home buying process.

Key’s economic model has a ripple effect that enables them to have a greater impact. By purchasing entire buildings, they are functioning as an economic engine for developers to do more and they’re mobilizing passive investor capital like never before. Key’s mission is to “create a world where real estate is a source of freedom and prosperity for everyone.”

3 Value Bombs

Key’s innovative homeownership model is a key demonstration that your innovation does not have to be limited to the product or service you are offering. Sometimes it can be the economic or business model that creates the most value and sets you apart. But Key’s economic model is not the only thing that makes them valuable. They are pairing their economic model with technology that augments the quality of the experience. When you pair a unique economic/business model with an incredible user experience, you will make your solution both valuable and rare.

If your idea isn’t worth it, you’re prone to giving up prematurely. If you are not willing to dedicate 10+ years of your life to solving a problem, then don’t even try.

When you’re validating an idea, prototype. Clarify what you know, what you don’t know, and how you can validate these assumptions as fast and as cheaply as possible. You don’t need to code and you don’t need thousands of dollars to build a prototype.

Discussed in this episode…
[4:20] What got you interested in entrepreneurship and why did you then decide to become an entrepreneur?
[17:30] What does Key do and why?
[24:00] What is Key’s mission?
[28:41] How does real estate work in North America?
[33:38] How do you come up with an idea like Key’s innovative business model?
[40:58] How would you approach starting off as an entrepreneur?
[47:35] If you were to go back in time to when you first started your first company, what advice would you give your younger self?
[49:26] What has entrepreneurship, in both of its glorifying and agonizing moments, taught you about life?
People & Resources Mentioned
Canadian Entrepreneurship Initiative
“The case for collaborative consumption” TED Talk by Rachel Botsman
WE Day event
EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization): Largest founder network in the world with 14,000 global members all making a million dollars or more in revenue
Next Big Thing
Harvard Endowment Fund
Al Gore
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
National Association of Realtors
Ryan Holmes, Chairman and Founder of Hootsuite Founder
Design Thinking

Daniel Dubois’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/danielmdubois/
Daniel Dubois’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/danielmdubois
Key: https://lifeatkey.com/

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