Chao Cheng-Shorland’s ShelterZoom is Helping Make Online Contracting Easy

Using blockchain to ease the end-to-end real estate process

Keeping track of digital contracts can be challenging, so Chao Cheng-Shorland created a blockchain-based platform to ease the contracting process from start to finish. 

Cheng-Shorland is the co-founder and CEO of ShelterZoom, a platform that uses blockchain technology to simplify the end-to-end real estate process. The company's blockchain-based online real estate offer and acceptance platform enables buyers and buyer agents to instantly submit offers from any real estate listing website.

Chao Cheng-Shorland headshot

ShelterZoom

"Five or six years ago, I had a burning desire to create something of my own," Cheng-Shorland told Lifewire in a phone interview. "With ShelterZoom, we wanted to implement a simple one-button concept by using blockchain technology. This allows people to buy or lease properties by simply pressing a button."

Founded in 2017, ShelterZoom uses smart contracts—software programs stored on a blockchain that will self-execute when predetermined conditions are met. While the company mainly serves the real estate industry, ShelterZoom provides contract management tools for all kinds of businesses. Using ShelterZoom's platform, companies can maintain all records for a single property, use templates to build custom forms, communicate with clients, and streamline workflow. The company has filed more than 40 patents over the years for its unique technology.

Quick Facts

  • Name: Chao Cheng-Shorland
  • Age: 51
  • From: Shanghai, China
  • Random delight: When brainstorming, she translates written ideas and concepts into pictures in her head to better understand them. 
  • Key quote or motto: "The first half of my life I want to be successful. The second half of my life, I want to be significant."

An Entrepreneurial Spirit 

Cheng-Shorland was born in China, but her family moved to Australia when she was pretty young. She had spent most of her life in Australia before moving to the US three and a half years ago. Before launching her company, Cheng-Shorland worked as an architect in Australia. She said she has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, even while working in the corporate world for 25 years. This spirit trickled down from her father, who opened one of the first cooking schools in Shanghai. 

"I saw how my father loved the whole concept of launching a business and getting going," Cheng-Shorland said. "I thought that was really amazing. Throughout my career, I was always applying curiosity and creativity to drive innovation. That's how I built the foundation of my company."

"Five or six years ago, I had a burning desire to create something of my own."

ShelterZoom operates in six continents, including parts of South America and Asia. Cheng-Shorland has grown ShelterZoom's team to 60 employees, with their work distributed across the company's markets. ShelterZoom has raised close to $15 million in venture capital, including a Series A the company is working on closing soon, Cheng-Shorland shared. 

"The talent of our engineering, product, and all other teams across the board have made getting up every day to lead this company worthwhile," she said.

A visual of the DocuWalk Platform.

ShelterZoom

One of the company’s most notable products is DocuWalk. The blockchain-based document and contracting platform includes a virtual negotiation room, version tracking, electronic signature capabilities, inline editing, and more. This platform is open for all businesses to use, not just real estate companies. 

Expansion and Elevation 

Even as a minority woman founder, Cheng-Shorland said she has felt well-respected and hasn't encountered many disadvantages. Throughout her career, she was often the only woman on her team. In a male-dominant industry like technology, Cheng-Shorland made it her mission to make sure diversity is represented well on ShelterZoom's team.

"Sometimes, my way of thinking can be seen as a bit different from white people and other Americans," Cheng-Shorland said. "But, people still respect what I have to say and how I lead my team."

"The talent of our engineering, product, and all other teams across the board have made getting up every day to lead this company worthwhile."

One of the most rewarding moments of Cheng-Shorland's career has been being named the Female Innovator of the Year by Women World Awards. She said being recognized for this award was one of the biggest highlights of her life. Another rewarding moment of her entrepreneurial journey is growing ShelterZoom's team to what it is today. She said she's proud of the hard work her staff has put in to make the company as successful as it is. 

This year, ShelterZoom is focusing on launching up to three new product lines and expanding its reach to new industries. Cheng-Shorland is most excited to show consumers how valuable and safe blockchain technology can be when it comes to digital contracting.

"Our mission is to provide a smart contract-based SaaS [software as a service] platform to transform all documents, contracts, and transactions into fully digital assets," Cheng-Shorland said. "We're well on our way to doing that."

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