About Us

How it started? When IT met Entrepreneurship & Real Estate

i-Open-House.com was founded by Jaywin Chia, back in 10th September 2001. i-Open-House stands for Internet Open House and it was a registered trademark in Singapore.

Jaywin got interested in using computers only at the age of 25, back in April 1994, which was considered as a late starter among his peers and from his background. He realised then that computers will be the "norm" in the future. He picked up the books on computers and on software applications. He bought computers and upgraded computers very often. Making use of software applications and digital gadgets for his daily life and work became apparent and sometime obsessive.

In April 1996, 10 years after staying in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Jaywin created his own opportunity to be an entrepreneur. He quit his distant study from the University of London (External Programme) and started his journey in the "University of Hardknocks" since then.  He wrote business plans and did business development. With only passion, without the experience and knowledge, he learned the hard way.

It was only in year 1999 that he bought his first compact digital camera, Olympus Camedia C-840L, for his real estate work. It has a 1.3M pixel resolution with optical lens (which was rare at that time) and used a 16MB Smartmedia card as the storage media. It cost him S$1,200 for that compact camera back then.

Jaywin became very interested with the Internet only in the year 2000. This time, he saw the future of the Internet and believed that it will change and dominate the world. He bought a web publishing software, Microsoft Frontpage. He learned about creating websites and panorama scenes.

Till then, almost everything about computers and Internet were self taught with trial and error. Jaywin created his first own personal website, www.jaywin.per.sg, for his real estate work, back in 27th March 2001.

Jaywin was a practicing real estate agent back then from 1997 - 2001. He went into the Real Estate Agent industry in 1997 to learn more about the real estate trade. He fell in love with real estate after that. He stayed on in the industry until 2002 as a practicing real estate agent for hands-on and to make a living.

During the 5 years experience, he found that the way property agents market properties were very inefficient and ineffective. Viewing and showing of properties were like blind dates. All parties, including buyers, sellers and agents, were not being productive in that process. Certainly not in the Internet era, he thought.

In year 1999 -2000, there were already some solutions in the market to show houses through the Internet. However, after having done the market research and experiencing some of them, Jaywin decided to dig deeper into it.

In year 2001, alone in his own room in a HDB 3-room flat at Tanjong Pagar, Jaywin created the concept i-Open-House. He wanted to change the world, starting from Singapore.

i-Open-House.com domain name was registered on 29th August 2001. i-Open-House.com was registered as a business operating in Singapore on 10th September 2001.

He quit the real estate profession in 2002 to avoid any conflict of interest with his clients who were property agents.

On 10th November 2002, i-Open-House.com website and services were launched. He rented a small office at 35 Kelantan Lane at the fringe of the Central Business District (CBD), which he was nearly "thrown out" by the landlord.

How it went? No regrets for doing it. Regret if had not done it.

Most events and creations of i-Open-House.com and the business were recorded in this website. To learn how to navigate this site, click here.

The ideal

We started with a big dream of changing how properties are shown and viewed. Then we wanted to put the real world into the Internet, and to create many jobs. Well, it did not turn out that way yet.

The calling

The industry we served was the Real Estate Agent industry in Singapore. Being a service provider to that industry is never an easy one. We have seen IT service providers come and go in the past 10 years. Having said that, we are proud to have stayed on for 10 years and played a part in its transformation period.

Over the years, we have been advocating the smarter way of doing things for the Agent community, and that is to be efficient and be productive in their work by making use of the Internet and Technology.

During our first 7 years, we have given seminars, trainings and courses to improve the IT awareness, IT knowledge and usage, to the property agents in various large and small agencies, and also to our members and their teams. We hope that they will continue to make use of the Internet and technology to help them in their real estate work and also in their daily lives.

The business evolution

More products, services and brands were created out from the original idea. Although there were many changes and deviations during the decade long period, the basic vision of using visual technology to increase the productivity and efficiency through the use of Internet Technology is still intact.

In year 2003, Mondarlezo Pte Ltd was set up as an IT company to undertake the crystalisation of the i-Open-House concept and system. i-Open-House.com was then became a brand of Mondarlezo.

Although the company was incorporated to manage i-Open-House.com as a brand, the business was still operating in a very family orientated manner. Its growth was "organic" in a sense.

The Support

Throughout the 10 years, the journey was tougher and rougher than it looked. Like most startup, the first 2 - 3 years were extremely difficult. It was the strong determination together with families' and friends' support that kept the business going. In addition, outsiders like the landlord of 35 Kelantan Lane also helped us. All credits to families and friends cannot be denied or to be taken lightly.

The Global conditions

Interestingly, in the last 10 - 15 years, the founder has experienced global events like the Asia Financial Crisis (1997 - 1998), Dot-com bubble Bust (2000 - 2001), Year 2000 millennium bug (1999 - 2000), 911  US World Trade Center collapsed (Sep 11, 2001), SARS (2003) and the US Financial crisis (sub-prime) (2007-2008).

The Internet infrastructure

The evolution of Internet infrastructure during the past decade or so, was from 14.4kps modem dial up to 1-100Mbps broadband and to today's optical fibre broadband (Next Gen NBN) of 1Gbps in Singapore. It was only in year 2005 that broadband generally became more popular.

The Tech startup environment

Singapore did not have a vibrant and pro tech entrepreneurship environment until recent year's development. Failures are usually not seen as lessons, which is the mean, but as an end itself. In short, we are only in our infancy stage of creating a tech startup eco-system in Singapore.

The Real Estate Agent market

The real estate environment is old school. This is because the majority of the people in the industry were not born in the computer and Internet era. They understand that IT can help them, but most did not have the knowledge, skill and habit to make use of technology. Furthermore, Singapore market is not big enough either.

No regrets

Despite of the tide against us and against all odds, whether they were the global events, market conditions or technology limitations, we have persisted for 10 years. Someone said we were foolish. However, we realised that it was the lessons and experiences gained through this endeavour that we could not buy with simply using money nor could we learn them from the text books. That is why, we do not regret for doing it. We will regret if we had not done it.

Why end now? 10 is a perfect number.

In entrepreneurship, or even in life, you need determination and courage to fight on. On the other hand, you need wisdom and sometimes, even more bravery not to fight on.

10 years are not considered to be a long period nor is it a short one in business or personal life. However, it is a good time frame for learning and realisation.

In the past 10 years, financial gain was not realised all in all. However, it was the valuable insight gained through this unique period of time that will form the foundation of the enduring vision that the founder has set forth for the future of the company, Mondarzo 梦的

This is the end of i-Open-House.com, but it is the beginning of a new chapter for Mondarlezo.

"Those who are sure of the way, may not get there. Those who don't, will find one." - jaywin chia

Real more:  An Open Letter from the founder