27.7.21

A European PropTech View, Victor Beth & Benoît Andre, Soneka

Welcome back to 'A European PropTech View, by Dilan Omari-Clark' our Q&A focused on European PropTech's.

27.7.21

Our Q&A series is an opportunity for our European team, headed up by Dilan Omari-Clark to discuss all things PropTech, Start-ups, and Career with different founders from across the continent. Each week we ask our guests some burning questions and quiz them about their product, we hope you find it insightful and enjoy getting to know the founders. 

This week we have Co-founders Victor Beth & Benoît Andre from SONEKA.

SONEKA was founded by experienced real estate professionals and IT experts whose mission is to eliminate friction between systems, and establish a true virtuous circle of data quality. SONEKA is a web-based application that provides an integrated solution for real estate asset management. The main features of the platform are cash flow generation, automatic reporting,  documents and data management, and asset follow-up, including asset valuation, scenario comparison, and all the other customised features through-out the life of the asset.

With SONEKA, you can gain access to your real estate portfolio any time, any where, and any way you want. SONEKA enables large and medium-sized companies to better manage their heritage and rental property and to plan their associated costs.

The company was founded in 2017 and is based in Paris, France.

How did you find yourself working in the PropTech sector?

We weren't aiming to be in the PropTech sector! We‘ve just been using technology in the real estate sector for many years, long before the term PropTech came up. We're just passionate about using innovative technology to make asset management more efficient and to help asset managers create more value in their assets.

At what point did you realise there was a gap in the market and you had the product for it?

Victor: Both of us have spent more than 10 years in commercial real estate in positions of responsibility at General Electric Real Estate. I was head of Portfolio Management for the European branch at the time of the 2008 crisis which heated GE Real Estate very deeply.

At that time, the management of existing assets became the core of the business, and there was a strong emphasis on a detailed understanding of the portfolio. Despite having a rich team of very talented analysts at headquarters and in each of our European subsidiaries, a great deal of time was wasted not being able to go as far as we would have liked because of the limitations of our systems and tools.

It was this very intense experience that led us to design SONEKA in early 2017. Since then, SONEKA has become the first integrated asset management solution, helping asset managers make the right decisions.

How has the last year impacted your business?

Victor: We continued to recruit and doubled in size. We kept onboarding clients during the lockdown and finalized our biggest contract with AEW. This success is due to the characteristics of our tool, which is particularly useful during times of crisis. 

Tell us about ImpactGermany2021 program and what your plans are for it? 

Impact Germany is an acceleration program initiated by Business France to help French start-ups understand the German market and to support them in the contact prospecting phase. We are proud to be one of the eight start-ups selected for the 2021 edition and are looking forward to setting foot on the German market. We are recruiting a senior business developer based in Frankfurt and we are aiming to sign our first 100% German client this year.

What is a frequently asked question you get about your product?

Benoît: The most frequent question is about the integration with Property Management systems (PMS).

SONEKA can be used stand-alone or connected to PMS. Connecting SONEKA to a PMS has a lot of benefits in terms of data input productivity, data quality, or integrated alerts regarding delinquency management for instance. On the other hand, integration can be tricky if property management is spread across multiple systems or multiple external parties. We are pushing our integration capabilities as much as we can, to make it as plug and play as possible, dedicating a lot of resources to it, and will continue to do so.

 

What makes SONEKA different?

Benoît: Our reporting capabilities make us unique. When I say ‘reporting’, I do not mention the capacity of exporting data from the system. This is level 0 of reporting. I am talking about analyzing, digesting, and processing data as a super analyst would do in a top-tier RE asset management player when pitching the portfolio performance to investors. Delivering it according to YOUR template. Handling complex asset classes specificities, one-offs, structured deals, everything that makes data definition extremely complex. It is only when you reach this level that you can start talking about ‘automated reporting’ to investors.

Is there a recent success you want to mention?

We have been chosen by AEW to assist in the management of their whole European portfolio: the institutional and general public activities of the AEW group in Europe, which includes around 2,000 assets and more than €bn32 AUM. This integration for AEW enables us to have a foothold in certain countries such as Spain, Italy and Germany, which helps us to expand to the European level. 

In addition, we’ve recently passed the 20 million m² milestone: we now have 21,645,191 m² of assets modelized in SONEKA.

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