Munich Startup: The last time we spoke, you said you see great potential for Heimkapital and your product – here at home but also beyond the German market. Were you able to reach that goal?
Julia Schabert, Heimkapital: Yes, we are well on our way to achieving that goal. Since going live, we’ve been able to multiply the number of real estate transactions year after year and thus increase sales accordingly. And we still see great potential. After all, the partial sale of real estate is still a niche product compared to the overall market for real estate transactions. We are noticing, however, an ever-increasing demand. In other words, the partial sale of real estate is becoming increasingly well-known within the target group. To give you a figure, we receive 1,500 to 2,000 new customer inquiries per month on our platform. We’re currently focusing our growth efforts on Germany, but of course it also makes sense to look at the entire DACH and European market. The demographic problem of an ageing society paired with an increasing interest in alternative, more flexible financing options for property owners is not just a German problem.
Niche product with stronger demand
Munich Startup: What obstacles have you encountered along the way?
Julia Schabert: We have indeed already faced some challenges in that short time. It started with the fact that we entered the market right at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced us to adopt a sales model based solely on telephone contact without any interaction in person. For a new financial product like partial sale of a someone’s home, that posed a real challenge. But we were able to overcome that challenge. Of course, there are always problems that need to be solved on the financing side. To give a current example, it’s the reversal in interest rates that we have to respond to with creative solutions.
Munich Startup: How has your solution evolved?
Julia Schabert: In our opinion, we entered the market with a product that was already very well-developed. This is also demonstrated by the overwhelmingly positive customer reviews, which are currently the benchmark in the industry. But of course, we’re also constantly working on making the product even more customer-friendly. For example, we’ve invested a lot in the quality of our consultation and have entered into trend-setting partnerships, for example with brokers. We’re focusing strongly on the expansion of our tech platform. That’s where we’ve invested most of our resources in recent months. This includes above all: How can we optimize our acquisition strategy in a data-driven way – the main focus here is on the energy efficiency of existing properties – and how can we automate our processes even further, and much more.
Heimkapital: “There’s always a way”
Munich Startup: And how are things looking for you financially?
Julia Schabert: We’re pleased with our capital resources. At the beginning of 2022, we successfully completed a large debt financing round of 300 million euros. This gives us the necessary credit facilities to buy parts of properties. We then rounded off the debt financing round in the fall of 2022 with a Series A capital increase. Since then, we’ve been using the fresh capital that came from new and existing investors to expand our marketing, team, tech and product.
Munich Startup: What lessons have you learned so far in the founding team?
Julia Schabert: Since going live, we’ve already had to overcome a number of challenges, especially macroeconomic ones. What we’ve learned is that there’s always a way for a solution. Even if you sometimes have to take a step back so you can move forward even faster later on – every crisis simultaneously creates room for new opportunities. Another lesson is that having a diverse but complementary founding team is a major advantage. The strategic and operational results – provided that everything exclusively serves the cause – are simply much better. The third lesson is perhaps that we have a product that remains complex and requires explanation. It’s precisely this explanatory aspect that’s a great incentive: With our product, we’re helping to improve financial literacy within our target group, because there’s now an additional financing option on the market.
Munich magnetically attracts talent
Munich Startup: What role has the Munich ecosystem played on your path so far?
Julia Schabert: The Munich ecosystem plays a very important role. On the one hand, we have two excellent world-renowned universities and a very active startup scene with many talented people, especially in the (deep) tech sector. On the other hand, the city of Munich and the region magnetically attract talented individuals who come from elsewhere. But since we’re not the only tech startup, the competition is much stiffer than it might be elsewhere. In addition, there’s a large investor base in Munich and venture and growth capital is available. We feel very connected to the local startup scene!
Munich Startup: What milestones are you working towards next?
Julia Schabert: Our next major goal is the further optimization of our acquisition strategy and of our house-related services. We also want to make our product even more customer-friendly and specifically address our customers’ wishes. That means we might revise our product range again. In addition, we want to broaden our financing side so we can buy the properties we find suitable even as demand continues to grow.