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 will ask PropTech innovators burning questions and quiz them about their product, we hope you find it insightful and enjoy getting to know the founders as much as we have.
Home was founded in April 2016 to make housing better for both tenants and landlords. To the dismay of tenants and landlords, the residential housing market has not changed for decades – this is exactly where Home comes in to make the housing market fairer and more transparent for everyone. After the successful start in the main German cities, Home is now active with its ever-expanding product portfolio across Germany. Home has raised more than €14 million from EQT Ventures, Redalpine, Capnamic, FJ Labs, VitoOne, and Tim Schumacher.
I had my first touch points with the real estate sector working as an attorney at a law firm with a very strong focus on real estate law. After gaining valuable experience there, I decided to join the tech ecosystem by becoming Head of Legal and later Managing Director at Yource, a legal tech start-up headquartered in Amsterdam. During this time, we grew our team from 10 to over 100 employees and expanded the company’s service from four to nine European countries. After almost five years there, I came in contact with the founders of Home. I was instantly fascinated by their product and the size of the opportunity. After spending more time with the team and diving deeper into the product I’ve made the decision to move to Berlin and join Home. For me, this decision perfectly combined my previous role as a legal professional specialized in real estate law with my start-up experience.
One of Home’s founders inherited an apartment from his grandfather and had to deal with renting it out. Together with his co-founder Moritz von Hase, he developed a rental-only app with a focus on simplifying this process. The app quickly picked up traction. Motivated by the success, more features were added to this first version of Home HT. But users were less enthusiastic than anticipated. The two then realized, that most landlords don’t want to regulate this process on their own, even if it can be done via an app. The landlord’s goal is passive income without much hassle. That’s why the two founders converted Home HT into a wholesome digital property management solution – which makes the foundation for our current product.
I think one of the biggest challenges we are currently tackling with Home is the fragmented value chain of the property management market – many local incumbents who each compete for market share in their local area. Further, property management consists of many different sub-processes that need to be integrated into one simple offering. Therefore, it sometimes feels like we are building many products at once. For us, this confirms how much room for improvement there is. We believe that the market longs for a wholesome solution that works beyond the borders of a specific city. Seeing the positive feedback we receive from landlords, who are owning multiple apartments in multiple cities, is very rewarding for us as a team and keeps us excited about continuing to work on those challenges.
For us as a company, it really feels like we are just starting. Our main priority right now is further enhancing the experience for our landlords. So owning an apartment with us really feels like you as a landlord never have to lift a finger again – and just receive your monthly rent. At the same time, we believe that there is a big opportunity in offering tenants a better experience. By implementing features such as self-guided apartment viewings, so prospective tenants determine their viewing appointment on their own, we want to make the tenant’s life easier, too. Moving to a new city into a new apartment is a big event for most people – and often marks the beginning of a new life phase. For example worrying about how to find the right internet, gas, and electricity provider quickly, should not be the experience at such a beginning. Therefore, we believe we can offer something better in the longer term and help improve the start of our new tenant’s life phase.
Looking at other European countries, we believe that there is also the need for a more wholesome solution when it comes to property management. So offering Home’s services beyond the German market is definitely also on our roadmap.
Currently, in the tech ecosystem, many trends are really picking up speed and we are following all of those closely. But I believe, looking at the future, that the core things of a great business remain important this year and beyond. You can have a very innovative product or service, but in the end, it really has to solve the customer’s problems better than the current solutions. I believe that you will primarily do that by focusing on building a great product experience and service. If those things are enhanced by great technology – even better.
It depends on the current life situation of the individual. Joining a more classical real estate company can certainly be one way to learn a lot of the fundamentals of the industry. But startups, in general, offer a good chance for young driven professionals to get into new sectors without having a lot of prior experience in the specific field. Finding a PropTech firm that is solving a problem you care about and seems to have great growth potential can be a good starting point. That said, we are always looking for people who are genuinely excited about improving the status quo of real estate. You can find our open roles at www.home.ht/careers apply there or reach out to me via LinkedIn.
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