The founding team (from left to right): Dimitrij Miller, Julia Schabert and Benedikt Wenninger
© Heimkapital GmbH

Boost Pensions with “Concrete Gold” – An interview with Heimkapital

What options do you have if you’ve paid off your property, but need a more significant financial injection in old age? The answer: You sell part of your property. For example to Heimkapital. The Munich startup founded by Julia Schabert, Benedikt Wenninger and Dimitrij Miller has been on the market since early 2020 and was already able to secure seed financing in the six-digit range. We talked with the founders to find out how they came up with the idea, why their model is better than classic financing solutions and what their vision is for Heimkapital.

Munich Startup: What problem do you solve with Heimkapital?

Heimkapital: Our product to enter the market, partial sale of real estate, solves the societal financing problem faced by the 60+ age bracket and helps them monetize what they’ve accrued in their lifetime. Heimkapital makes it possible for its customers to sell part of their property, which allows them to cover their financial needs with their existing property assets without having to accumulate debt. A partial sale is the ideal solution: Property owners turn part of their “concrete gold” into money but remain the principle owner of the property and are flexible in deciding how it is to be used – buying it back, selling the entire property or leaving it to someone are all options.

No major financing despite paid-off property

Munich Startup: How did you come up with the idea?

Heimkapital: In our personal network, we independently learned that the 60+ customer group in Germany only rarely receives financing higher than 100,000 euros from classic financial institutions despite having often paid off their real estate. We quickly realized there must be a solution for this paradox. After all, in other countries such as the US or UK, where Julia and Dimitrij lived before founding Heimkapital, comparable models for obtaining funds using your own real estate have been established financial products for many years. So we set about to develop a tool that can be used to access existing property assets, and that is how ‘Heimkapital’ emerged as a product and company.

Munich Startup: What makes your offer better for customers than products such as life annuities?

Heimkapital: When compared to life annuities, our customers’ decisive advantage is that they don’t have to transfer their entire property, which can involve high fees, and that allows them to participate in the growing real estate market with the remaining share of their property. At the same time, they remain the principle owners and retain the decision-making autonomy and control over their homes. Another advantage our customers have compared to life annuities is that they retain maximum flexibility and can sell their entire property, buy back the sold share or leave it to someone at any time.

No need to accumulate debt

We also have a decisive advantage over classic financial solutions such as mortgages or loans. On the one hand, many customers over the age of 60 very rarely receive approval for larger financing arrangements despite owning property assets. On the other hand, credit products lead to debt for the customer, which is in fact unnecessary due to their existing assets.

Munich Startup: You’ve been on the market for a few months now – how is business going?

Heimkapital: Our customers have responded very well and, despite the current situation, we were able to establish real estate partnerships shortly after entering the market in the lower two-digit range.

What should be mentioned is that even though that sale is partial, it is still a real estate transaction in Germany, which are notorious for often taking quite a long time. Our team has grown to nine colleagues since entering the market, and we’re looking for even more support and are optimistic about the rest of the year.

Munich Startup: Has corona helped you?

Heimkapital: We entered the market this year at just about the time shelter-in-place began in Germany due to corona, which meant our launch was obviously influenced by many uncertainties. During that time, we wondered if it would be possible to effectively put together a functioning team and what kind of impact the situation might have on customer behavior.

Fortunately, the high use rate and willingness to use video calls made it relatively simple, despite the bad timing, to convince some amazing employees to get on board with us. Customer behavior has thankfully remained virtually unchanged, now and during the corona crisis, which is certainly also because our digital business model hardly involves meeting up in person.

“The real estate industry needs to finally realize it’s the 21st century”

Munich Startup: What further developments are in store for Heimkapital? What is your vision?

Heimkapital: Our entire focus is on solving the problems faced by our customers and giving them an excellent product. We do so by counting on technology, digitization, transparency and innovation and believe the real estate industry needs to finally realize it’s the 21st century. If we can consistently ach

ieve that, we see a great deal of potential for our products, beyond the borders of Germany as well, with which ambitious growth targets can be reached.