We talked to Gregoire Linder, director, and co-founder of Raizers, about real estate investments, and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Gregoire Linder: Everybody is doing well, and let’s hope it will remain so.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Raizers.
Gregoire Linder: After several years as retail sales manager for a French textile company, I decided to launch a company with my business school friend and partner Maxime Pallain. We started to look for financing and encountered five bank refusals before the sixth finally agreed to finance this company, which has moreover, become a success. Having to struggle to find funds for a perfectly healthy project helped us come up with the idea to create a platform that finances startups and SMEs. This is how we launched 2014 the crowdfunding platform Raizers after obtaining the certification to finance projects in France, and Switzerland. In 2018, after experiencing a large enthusiasm from our investors towards real estate operations, we decided to dedicate our activity to this sector as a real estate crowdfunding platform.
How does Raizers innovate?
Gregoire Linder: We innovate in the following ways:-
- The way to fund: until a few years ago, the only way to get funding was to request a bank, we did something unthinkable with offering financings directly from private pockets to companies.
- The promise for companies: in 2020 we provide funding within 20 days from a funding request to withdrawal. In the finance world, this is unique.
- The promise for investors: In the past years, we provided a 9.8% average annual interest rate to our investors. Our investment product has been nominated several times as one of the favorite investments for private investors.
- Technically: it happens through a fully digital process on our platform. From funding requests to investments, we implement advanced technology that always focuses on the user experience.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Gregoire Linder: Thankfully, we can say that our business was not that affected by the pandemic (+85% of funded amounts in 2020, compared to 2019). We even launched a new activity this year: Raizers Transactions, commercialization of real estate assets. The impact concerned obviously the reorganization of the workforce. Everyone was provided with the equipment needed to recreate a suitable work environment at home. We were born digital, and we were already fully set up for remote work.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Gregoire Linder: We took the risk in 2020 to maintain our recruitment and integrated 5 new talents into our team. We overpassed the difficulties of remote onboarding and training and made a success of those new human resources.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Gregoire Linder: All our data was already remotely accessible, and we did not have to act on that part. What mostly changed was our way of communicating within the team, we obviously started to use Zoom, we then added the video to add proximity.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Gregoire Linder: We have a handful of competitors in Europe as Exporo taking the German market, Estate Guru and Crowdestate in all eastern and central Europe. Raizers is in the game! After over 85% growth in 2020, we forecast to keep pushing high growth and reach the top 5 in Europe.
Your final thoughts?
Gregoire Linder: This whole situation taught us to adjust, to communicate with our teams, and be always more transparent with our clients. We figured out in the past months that real estate is one of the most resilient markets, we think that this asset category will keep attracting the biggest part of the investors’ savings everywhere in Europe.
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