Bhaktraj Singh

CEO of Hazelton Group

Bhaktraj Singh is the chief executive officer of Hazelton Group, a company that manages the development of mid-rise residential condominium projects. In his position, Singh oversees all aspects of Hazelton Group’s projects, from selecting and acquiring land, to delivery and registration. He also handles much of the hiring, including the hiring of architects, engineers, planning consultants, construction management, and sales/marketing teams to execute each project.

Bhaktraj Singh has more than two decades of experience leading multiple businesses across several industries in Canada. He has a dedicated interest in the technology sector and is preparing to launch a Tokenized Asset Offering under Digital Block, a security token offering platform based on ERC 20 tokens.

Singh is also very passionate about assisting in the development of Alzheimer’s residences. With rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s on the rise, the issue needs to be addressed within communities. Singh’s company, Adora, has been able to capture the necessary key elements in their designs, and has plans to build an Alzheimer’s residence in Burlington, Ontario.

Bhaktraj Singh studied mergers and acquisitions through the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Fintech through the National University of Singapore. He earned a Bachelor of Science from York University, as well as a Master of Business Administration from Florida International University.

Where did the idea for Hazelton Group come from?

I was getting involved in a second real estate development in Mississauga and decided to have one brand for all the developments. Hazelton sounded like a great name because of the panache of Hazelton Lanes and the relentless determination and passion of the late, great mayor of Mississauga.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I am usually at my desk by 7 a.m. and try to shut down by 7 o.m., or dinner time. I generally schedule meetings between 10 a.m and 4 p.m. and most are done by Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams. The rest of the time I use it for quiet work. I do some work on Sunday afternoon but not more than a couple of hours.

How do you bring ideas to life?

It is an iterative process for me. I like to do my research, get as much detail as possible, then revisit and refine my idea. I drill down on the numbers in as much detail as possible to see if it makes sense. I will run it by a few key people to get their opinions. When I decide that it makes sense to take it to the next level, I put together a detailed business plan and I look for the best and smartest team to execute. A good team minimizes errors, and they can often recover from them quickly.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Technology is changing at a rapid rate and will continue to evolve by leaps and bounds. Digital transformation will continue to drive significant changes in how we work and how we live. You can see the effects of how technology changed the way we work during COVID-19 with the use of video conferencing and work collaboration from our homes. COVID-19 is now under control but the adoption of such tools like Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams continue to be deployed by those who prefer to work from home rather than commute to the office.

We also see that the advances in AI (Artificial Intelligence) will undoubtedly result in significant changes in the way people work. Take for instance the use of chatbots to replace customer service personnel, the use of AI to perform medical diagnosis of radiology images, dermatology diagnosis from images of skin conditions and can do so repeatedly with a higher degree of accuracy than medical doctors. This digital transformation will continue to have profound impacts on our lives in ways we never imagined.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Prioritizing tasks and staying with them until completed. During a typical day, I can receive dozens of requests and new tasks to review. It can be distracting if I don’t stay focused on completing what I set out to do.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Follow your passion, stay committed but don’t throw caution to the wind. Listen to others, but believe in yourself and make your own decisions.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

In the end, the nice guys (people) win!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Take time to reflect on the things that are important to you in your life. Remember to take time to pay attention to the people you care about and make them feel important and appreciated.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I focus on segments of the market where I can make the best use of my resources. For example, I like the long-term care market, it is a growing market because of the aging population demographics. However, the nursing home market is dominated by large players such as Extendicare, Revera, Del Manor, Chartwell, Sienna, and Sunrise. One of the underserved segments of this market is dementia care. There is a huge demand for dementia care beds in Canada with an approximate 600,000 bed shortage today and it’s expected to get worse unless this need is urgently addressed. This is a large, attractive addressable market.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I was involved in a business venture where I relied on business partners to competently and faithfully execute their duties. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned, and it later became apparent that they did not share the same values, business ethics and integrity on which I have built my career. Looking back, I realize that I made mistakes in my decision-making and failed to properly assess the risk involved, and the business partners that I chose. I take full responsibility for my part in the failure, and it has been a humbling experience.
However, I learned a great deal from this failure, particularly the importance of due diligence and carefully considering all aspects of a venture before deciding. I also learned the value of transparency and open communication.
Since this experience, I have applied these lessons in my future business dealings and have taken a more measured approach to risk. I have also worked hard to regain the trust of those affected by the failure and have taken steps to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.
Although the failure was a difficult experience, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow as a business professional. I believe that everyone makes mistakes and it’s how we handle them that defines us. I am confident that I have become a better business person because of this experience.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Small investors are locked out of lucrative real estate investment opportunities because they cannot afford to purchase an entire investment property on their own. There is no simple and efficient process in place for them to find co-investors. If small investors wish to find co-investors, they typically rely on friends and family. Small investors usually do not have the knowledge or resources to put together more sophisticated investment structures to raise equity financing for such investments.

If the real investor finds a few co-investors, there is no efficient process to provide liquidity to a member of the group should they have a need to liquidate their investment. Selling a piece of real estate to generate cash can be a lengthy process because real estate investments are relatively illiquid.

Tokenize the investment property into fractions that would represent a portion of the asset along with the contractual rights of ownership, title, and interest in the portion of the property. For example, if an investment condominium is selling for $1,000,000 then the condominium can be broken into 10 equal parts of $100,000 and each token can represent $100,000 or a 1/10 interest in the property. Tokenization and the blockchain offer numerous advantages over traditional methods of dealing in real estate. These include increased liquidity and transparency, enhanced security, and simplified management. The token should be freely tradeable and saleable.

A platform can be designed to attract investors globally to invest in the tokens for each investment property. The investment property can be located anywhere in the world, can be of any type such as a condominium, single family home or an office complex and be tokenized accordingly, subject to applicable real estate and securities laws.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I made a $100 donation to a cycling charity event for Sick Kids that a cousin was hosting. I was not much of a cyclist at that time, but he convinced me to participate. I did it, fell in love with cycling (road biking) and remained passionate. A $100 to find something you love, keeps you healthy and fit, and donate to a kid’s charity. It was a $100 well spent.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Video Conferencing software. I now run most of my meetings using zoom, google chat or Microsoft Teams. It cuts out a tremendous amount of unnecessary travel and I can hold more regular meetings with distant business colleagues, clients, friends, and family.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership When Algorithms Run the World, Marko Iansiti and Karim Lakhani.
AI is one of the major trends that will shape our future and transform our lives in profound ways, spanning the areas of robotics, financial services, health care and more than we can imagine. It is important for us to get a solid understanding of how AI will impact our lives. This book will give a very good introduction to the realm of possibilities.

What is your favorite quote?

Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts, Winston Churchill.