Today we are joined by Emmanuel Lumineau of BrickVest.
BrickVest is a soon to launch pan-European online real estate investment platform that will provide investors with online, direct, transparent access to global real estate and full spectrum fund management services. It has raised $1m in seed funding and the platform will offer investment opportunities in the European and North American real estate markets from as little as €1,000.
Our questions are in bold.
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Who are you and what’s your background?
I have over 15 years of experience working in investment banking and private equity. I primarily focused on investing in high-growth technology firms such as Twitter, in which I was an early stage investor. Later on in my career, I developed significant experience in the real estate sector. I then left the pure investment banking world to manage the $25bn Masdar City Ecocity development project in Abu Dhabi.
I hold an MSc in Management and Finance from HEC Grande Ecole, Paris and a MSC in Management from CEMS.
What is your job title and what are your general responsibilities?
As the CEO of BrickVest, my main role is to implement the company’s long and short term plans and the strategic development of our business. Each day is different and presents a unique challenge(s). Generally, I spend a lot of my time attending strategic meetings with the management teams to monitor the progress of current business initiatives, and where we set new targets. Having previously worked in investment banking, I am very hands-on when it comes to new investments and managing those processes from the outset.
Can you give us an overview of your business?
BrickVest is an online real estate investment platform that offers transparent investments in property globally. Investment opportunities as of today are typically protected by a few financial gatekeepers (such as brokers, banks, insurance companies and big investment managers) who are driven by self-interest (profit maximisation ergo high fees). BrickVest brings together property owners, developers and investors to unlock the gate.
Individual Real Estate investment opportunities across Europe and North America will be structured as a fund, managed by Brickvest and listed on the platform where registered users will have the chance to make an investment and gain a shareholding. Even when investing in a small portion of a real estate deal, investors are entitled to their own dividends/yields. Additionally, compared to other similar alternative financial investments, investors will pay fees in the region of 5%. This is compared to the typical 15% fees that established gatekeepers typically charge. Unlike most investment product, Investors won’t be charged when they are not invested.
Tell us how you are funded.
We are currently backed by a group of angel investors who have invested seed money of £650,000 to get us moving. Between them they bring a myriad of experience in investment, real estate and technology. We haven’t chosen these angels purely for the sake of raising cash – our angel investors are long-term strategic partners who will help the business grow and deliver the investor returns we are aiming for. In addition to this, we have recently received backing from Rocket Internet’s Global Founders Capital and we are in the process of raising a multi-millions round of capital from existing and new strategic investors to further accelerate the development of the platform.
Why did you start the company? To solve what problems?
The existing model for commercial property investment is broken. My background is in investment banking and private equity as well as technology firms, Thomas has real estate investment and development experience and Adalbert is an expert in technology and startups. Between the three of us we saw the great opportunity to draw on our respective experiences and offer investors, a unique opportunity to be involved in commercial property deals through an online platform which grants unprecedented market access at a fraction of typical fees.
Who are your target customers? What’s your revenue model?
Sophisticated Investor and High Net Worth Individuals, qualifying as professional clients can invest using our platform. Investment size will start as low as 1,000 EUR, enabling investors to reduce risk by building a fully diversified portfolio of real estate assets. Investors will be offered a wide range of risk-adjusted investment opportunities based on their own risk appetite and profile. Our vision is not to prescribe certain risk profile, but rather offer these risk-adjusted investment opportunities in a transparent and easier way. We believe in a 100% alignment of interest, with BrickVest investing alongside its investors and generating profits mainly from realized gains.
As with any investment, there is a risk. Some deals are more risky than others, but often, these investments offer higher returns. Brickvest does not eliminate risk – we ensure that investors get a fair & market risk return profile no matter how small their investment size. At BrickVest, Investors are provided with access to a wide range of risk-adjusted investment opportunities allowing them to build their own diversified real estate portfolio matching their own risk appetite.
If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change in the banking and/or FinTech sector?
Rather customers should have the opportunity to plug-and-play. An open-source financial system would achieve this by allowing investors to determine their own risk appetite and curate their own portfolio in a more sophisticated way. BrickVest fits into this flexible world by lowering the barriers of entry and offering more choice for professional investors interested in real estate.
What is your message for the larger players in the Finance industry?
To embrace compliance. For so long, there has been an antagonistic relationship between regulation and financial institutions. However, after 2008, banks can no longer avoid the importance of compliance – they must learn to be prescriptive.
Regulation is there to minimize the risks that are inherent in the financial system and FinTech presents an incredible opportunity to automate these processes and further minimize the risks of human agency. In this way, FinTech could be the best ally for compliance.
What phone are you carrying and why?
The Iphone 6. This is simply in light of the fact that it allows me to seamlessly manage my professional and personal life. I can answer the constant stream of emails I receive as an entrepreneur, while using it to get analytics on my rigorous marathon training (the two all-consuming passions of my life right now!).
Where do you get your industry news from?
Predominantly three sources: Financial Times, TechCrunch and Twitter
Can you list 3 people you rate from the FinTech sector that we should be following on Twitter?
Sophia Grene @SophiaGrene – FTfm reporter;
Adalbert Wysocki @Aldonf – Founder at BrickVest
Although he is not on Twitter I would also say Richard Peiser, Angel Investor and Professor of Real Estate at Harvard University
What’s the best FinTech product or service you’ve seen recently?
Though it is a major player in the space and perhaps cliché, Transferwise. It is something I use on a weekly basis.
Finally, let’s talk predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?
Thus far, FinTech has been successful in disrupting retail services – payments and transaction. Similarly, in the crowdfunding space it has succeeded in creating opportunities for retail investors to make small size alternative investment. The next wave is taking these principles and professionalizing them. Soon, financial institutions will be lining up to get on the FinTech game, seeing it as a viable and valuable source for alternative financing.
At BrickVest, we are contributing by granting Investors access to institutional class deals. Our clients and users are investment and real estate professionals.
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If you’ve any suggestions for other hot FinTech companies (startup, or established ventures) that we should be profiling, I’m all ears. Don’t hesitate to drop me a note at email@example.com. There’s more information on this page.