A new digital platform endeavours to streamline what its founders say is an inefficient housing development process through a new data-driven operating system, which, if successful, will allow developers to share and access information with ease, ultimately spurring faster development and putting more people into homes.
In a release announcing their mission, RIOS, a partnership between R-LABS and Teranet, states that the current affordability crisis and housing supply shortage cannot be solved by the government alone. The larger issues, RIOS says, are symptoms of hundreds of smaller problems created through an efficient development process. Joe Vaccaro, founder and president of RIOS, and former CEO of the Ontario Home Builders Association has experience on both sides of the government and business divide and recognizes the need for new solutions.
“I've come to the conclusion that the reality is some of these regulatory realities can only be improved through technology-driven, business-driven applications,” said Vaccaro. “So that's sort of where I'm coming from, having spent a lifetime on the advocacy side and recognizing that government regulation doesn't help streamline the process. This is the opportunity for the industry to find a way to streamline the process, to benefit everyone: consumers, business, and government. We have to solve some of these problems ourselves.”
Vaccaro explains the RIOS system as a highway. Currently, the development process is experiencing a traffic jam and it’s limiting how many homes can be constructed. RIOS hopes to develop an operating system to collect, study, and act on data on the thousands of decisions being made every day, allowing for everyone to reach their destination much faster.
“Whenever there is regulatory inefficiency, the consumer pays for that ultimately. Every hiccup along the way, every delay along the way is a cost to the consumer. So if we can smooth out those inefficiencies, whether they’re business-to-business inefficiencies, business-to-government efficiency, or business-to-consumer inefficiencies, smoothing those out will have a positive impact on the consumer. Because we know, right now, every one of those barriers adds to the cost of a new home. “
One of RIOS’s keys to success is in its founding partners. R-LABS is known for its work with institutional investors to create purpose-driven companies that solve major problems in real estate. Teranet owns and operates the Ontario Electronic Land Registration System and brings large amounts of data and industry expertise to the table. Vacarro and his co-founder Antoni Wisniowski, formerly with the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation , collectively bring decades of industry experience to this project. Another major key is the $4 million investment acquired to launch the company.
Vaccaro, speaking about his newly formed team said, “I think the two of us have formed a strong team that can not just identify the problems but can ultimately solve them with a technology-driven solution”