Our Q&A series is an opportunity for our French team, headed by Elsa Vaillant to discuss all things PropTech, Start-ups, and Career with different founders from across the region. Each time 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.
Buying a home in a big city has become really difficult for young professionals. Not to say impossible.
Even with a good salary, one needs to make untenable compromises and buy a home that’s too small, too expensive, too ugly, or too far. In Paris, a first-time buyer can only afford an apartment one third smaller than what they currently rent.
Virgil is the best way for the next generation to reach wealth through home-ownership:
Before building Virgil, I was part of the core team that developed onefinestay across Europe — a company which revolutionized high-end hospitality, by providing the services of a five-star hotel in private homes. In 2016, we sold onefinestay to AccorHotels for 150 million euros.
At onefinestay, I met Keyvan Nilforoushan (at the time, Deputy CEO of the company), and he is today my business partner.
This is also where the initial idea came from. At onefinestay, we were surrounded by young professionals, aged 25-35 years, all coming from prestigious universities and earning comfortable incomes. We realized one thing: the one deciding factor in whether they became home-owners was whether their parents were able to make a significant financial contribution.
Real estate is a highly regulated market in France. Therefore, it took some time before French entrepreneurs started tackling it. And when they did, most of them targeted existing products and services – such as brokerages – with a goal of doing better, faster or cheaper through technology.
In contrast, Virgil is doing something that has never been done before. We have invented a new way for young professionals to own homes, and a new asset class for real estate investors. Recently, other breakthrough innovations have also appeared: this is great news as it means the market is now ready to truly change.
Our fundraising experience was a bit different than other entrepreneurs thanks to our backgrounds: people who invested at the first round already knew us, we were creating Virgil after several successful entrepreneurial endeavors, and we were able to easily raise funds at the very beginning of Virgil in 2019.
At that time, investing in PropTech was not as attractive as it is today. It is great that today the funding landscape has gotten much better for PropTech entrepreneurs.
Virgil supports the new generation in one of their major life projects. We are here to help them buy an apartment that corresponds to their needs and to the way they want to live today:
The French PropTech market is getting more and more mature :
Looking at the financing part, in 2021 PropTech was already the 3rd most attractive sector for investors and I predict that this trend will continue in 2022. On top of that, I expect some French VCs to specialize in this industry, as has already happened in the US and the UK. It is likely that some of these VCs will be tightly linked to existing real estate behemoths.
Virgil is relevant anywhere demand is high while supply is limited. That means most cities in the world. And we firmly intend to be in every major French and European cities. To support our growth, we have 30 positions open, driven by Virgil’s ambition and impact.
LMRE are specialist PropTech recruiters, if you need help growing your business or making any key hires please get in touch via the form below!