Toronto real estate tech startup R-LABSand Ontario-based Teranet partnered up to launch RIOS, a real estate innovation company, with a $4 million CAD investment. The individual investors that participated in this round were RIOS co-founders Joe Vaccaro and Antoni Wisniowski.
RIOS, which stands for “real estate industry operation system,” provides a platform that eliminates the delays around approvals and communication in the home-building industry—a problem that Vaccaro said he witnessed first-hand as former CEO of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA). Vaccaro said his experience at the OHBA “left [him] with a clear understanding of the limiting effect that inefficiency has on new housing supply.” Vaccaro will be leading RIOS as its president.
According to the startup, RIOS will bring greater efficiencies to stakeholders in the stream of new housing supply, beginning with a focus on solving the issues related to assignment fulfilment and new home warranties.
Wisniowski, former president and chief administrative officer of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), will be joining Vaccaro as CEO at RIOS, bringing decades of experience in tech-based product development, data management, and industry transformation with both MPAC and Teranet. Most recently, Wisniowski served as a principal consultant at Stockbridge Innovation.
Founded in 1991, Teranet is the exclusive provider of Ontario’s online property search and registration. The company developed, owns, and operates the Ontario Electronic Land Registration System, which Teranet claims is one of the most advanced and secure implementations in the world.
In May, Teranet announced its partnership with R-LABS to lead the launch of new startups and to further support the development of Canada “as a centre for innovative real estate technology companies and entrepreneurs.”
According to R-LABS CEO George Carras, who founded the company in 2017, there’s many existing problems in the new housing development process. “These include the siloed environment in which workflows occur and data resides, and the resulting inefficiencies, delays and costs this represents for stakeholders,” he said.
Vaccaro said the holdups are evident in assignment sales, the process where a pre-construction condo buyer resells that property, adding that it’s one area that would benefit from the RIOS technology. The transaction is largely paper driven, and Vaccaro said it could be hastened from taking up to a month to complete to just 10 days.
“The expectation is that building the data highway helps consumers when they get to the point of signing that purchase and sale agreement,” he said. “That the process in front of them is so efficient that they’re not going to have to worry about delays in paperwork, delays in regulation, delays in compliance.”