Our Q&A series is an opportunity for our European team, headed up by Dilan Omari 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.
Matera is a French startup created in 2017 revolutionizing residential property management in France and Europe.
Faced with the aging and unsatisfactory model of outsourced management of condominiums, Matera is making a remarkable entry into the market by giving power back to the people who are best placed to take care of their building: the co-owners themselves. No more outsourced management, no more useless intermediaries, no more hidden costs, no more delays in work!
On the French & German markets, Matera has now 200 collaborators, more than 5,000 condominiums and 120,000 co-owner customers. In October 2021, Matera launched its offer in Germany before attacking the rest of Europe with the ambition to become the reference company in all areas related to dwelling.
Because I’ve been confronted with the problem myself! When I was still a business school student, I bought a flat in the Parisian suburbs. I had studied law at the same time and I received my first commonhold assessment notice. It was crazy, I didn’t understand a thing, I called the property manager of the building and it took me weeks to get him on the phone, everything was so slow and so complicated. It appeared as the perfect market marked with a huge pain to disrupt.
At the beginning of the adventure, with my partner Victor, we interviewed many co-owners, but also professional trustees and consumer organizations. We realized through these meetings that there were many dysfunctions in the sector. We hesitated for a long time on the model we wanted to create: to become a trustee ourselves, to create a software to help trustees and finally decided to tackle the problem at its roots and give power back to the co-owners so that they can manage their building by themselves. Our role at Matera is to build the Saas that make the lives of the co-owners easy.
I think the main challenge for Matera is to change mentalities. Many industries have experienced disruption, such as banks with Revolut. But real estate is still struggling to be an innovative sector because the legal framework is very restrictive. For example, to change a property manager, you have to call a general assembly and put a resolution on the agenda… Many steps that complicate the life of co-owners and slow down the disintermediation of the sector. At Matera, our role is to show that it is time to disintermediate the sector, to change the legislation and to finally bring technology to the real estate industry.
In 2020, during the first lockdown, everything was shut down for 2 or 3 months. The co-owners had something else to think about then their condominium. Then, the activity resumed gradually. Where the Covid has impacted us, is the general assemblies. There were few in 2020, the trustees’ mandates were automatically renewed, so we received a lot of new requests from co-owners, but we postponed the closing of these deals. In 2021, it was already much easier because there were fewer restrictions on general assemblies. The proof is: today we have more than 4,000 condominium clients throughout France, i.e. more or less 120,000 co-owners.
For the year 2022, we are aiming for 8,000 customer condominiums in France. We have already opened local branches to develop in key regions in France and we want to continue this strategy! We also want to accelerate the energy renovation of our customer buildings. For this, we have created a dedicated pool of experts: their role will be to support customers in their search for subsidies, to answer all their questions until the start of the work and to help them monitor the work.
We also want to accelerate our development in Germany by recruiting many operational positions: commercial, onboarders and customer success. And maybe start thinking about opening new countries…
I think the main issue this year is real estate purchasing power. Since the pandemic, purchasing power, particularly in real estate, is at its lowest. In France, such as in all other European countries, this is becoming a major concern. One of the challenges for PropTech is to increase the purchasing power of people by disintermediating the sector, by putting pressure on the public authorities so that the legislation changes and finally by making the sector more transparent to give back confidence to people and make them want to invest.
I would tell them to focus only on their customers and their product. The key is to understand your customers and to constantly adapt the product to their needs. You also have to trust yourself, not to take into account the professionals of the sector, on the contrary, but to innovate to make the real estate sector more dynamic than it is now. Finally, I think that from the beginning of the adventure, you must think about how to scale the company: how to recruit A-players, how to make our customers ambassadors, what is the vision for the company in 3, 5, then 10 years…
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