Estateguru is a leading Pan-European marketplace facilitating property-backed loans for SMEs and carefully selected investments for their global investor base.
Estateguru came to Seedrs in 2020 to raise their first funding round with a goal of €349,950. They quickly exceeded their goal and raised €925,734. Following this success, they had a second raise in 2021 where they raised €1.4 million with 937 investors (255% overfunded).
In this interview, the Estateguru team reflected on their journey raising with Seedrs and the growth of the company post fundraising.
Tell us about how Estateguru started? Where has your vision taken you so far?
We started in Estateguru 2013, in the wake of the last big financial crash. Our founders all came from the real estate development world and saw an opportunity to create a different funding model, as banks were generally slow and incredibly averse to any form or risk at the time. We had just a few employees and listed the first investment opportunity in early 2014. Today we have over 120 employees, we’ve established offices in eight countries (with more to come), and recently hit the milestone of €500 million funded.
Tell us about your fundraising journey before Seedrs?
We had only ever conducted two rounds of seed funding before our first ever Seedrs campaign. In 2016 we raised €225,000 and another €240,000 in 2017.
When you came to Seedrs, why did you decide it was the right time to raise a round?
We had established ourselves as the leading real estate financing and investment platform in continental Europe, and there was a strong feeling that we had the opportunity to really consolidate this position and take a huge step forward with an investment into technology and people.
At the time of your Seedrs round, what other fundraising options did you consider, and why did you choose crowdfunding? What were your goals from crowdfunding?
Estateguru’s Seedrs campaign was launched as a part of our A-Round. In addition to VC funding, we wanted to reach out to retail investors across Europe. It was a tactical compliment to our equity round, where we raised in total €5.8m. In addition to the previously mentioned reason, we had around 50,000 investors using our platform at the time and we really wanted to give them an opportunity to invest directly into our business.
Why did you choose Seedrs? Why did you feel we were the right partner for your business?
We ran a tender between three crowdfunding service providers and Seedrs offered the best conditions and support for our campaign.
What are your thoughts on the popularity of crowdfunding in Europe as a way to raise funds? Do you think this is becoming a more mainstream way to raise funds?
As the growth of our own business shows, crowdfunding is definitely not a niche option anymore. The global rise of sites like Estateguru and Gofundme has certainly helped to bring the concept of crowdfunding to the attention and acceptance of the general public. The ability to own equity in multiple companies with a small barrier to entry is extremely attractive for savvy investors.
Our own investors and VCs from the A-Round found it was also a very smart way to approach a different type of segment of equity customers. As well as the nice gesture of providing the opportunity for our own platforms’ investors.
Talk us through what running a campaign was like? Was there any difference between the two campaigns?
The first campaign was quite daunting. Apart from the legal documentation and getting everything in order, we had to prepare a huge amount of marketing materials, designs, email flows and more. By the second campaign, we felt like old hands at this, and it went far more smoothly than the first. So much so that we were able to reduce the size of the team working on the campaign significantly.
We really appreciated the dedicated support we received from Seedrs every step of the way, and the detailed documents laying out campaign requirements made it super easy to prepare everything in advance.
What were some of the aspects of crowdfunding you weren’t aware of that turned out to be essential for successful rounds?
We were aware that the storyline of the company has to be attractive and growth potential significant. As said before – the preparations of the campaign materials for the first time was quite an exercise. Also, the legal DD and setting up the UK nominee structure were longer processes during the first campaign than we assumed.
What were some of the highlights of your campaigns?
Our second campaign was set to run for several weeks, yet we gathered our minimum target of €500,000 in a matter of hours, while it was still in private mode. It was amazing to see the enthusiasm investors had for our business.
We had planned to run the campaign for 40 days, but by day four we had already raised our maximum amount of €1.1 million. We closed the campaign after 9 days, with €1.3 million raised. This meant that some marketing materials and email flows weren’t even required, which is a very nice position to be in.
What investor feedback did you receive, and how has it helped you navigate your crowdfunding campaign and growth?
During the first campaign, we spent lots of time talking to investors, interviewing them and compiling the questions that they had during the round. This meant we were far more prepared the second time around to pre-empt their needs, which we feel contributed significantly to the speed of the raise.
How would you describe your overall experience working with Seedrs?
It was great! Seedrs are professional, knowledgeable, passionate and extremely supportive throughout the whole process. If we decide to do another crowdfunding campaign, we will definitely use Seedrs again.
What have the proceeds from crowdfunding/your Seedrs rounds helped Estateguru achieve so far?
Our biggest investment has been in our people and technology. We have managed to grow our team significantly from 40 people to 120+ at present. We’ve expanded to new countries and are set up to add three more during 2022.
In addition, we have managed to open a dedicated technology hub in Armenia, where our staff numbers have also grown significantly. We’ve launched new features on our platform, like our state-of-the-art automated investment feature Investment Strategies.
We also plan to launch in the UK, Netherlands and Spain this year. We also concluded a separate A Round for VCs where we raised €4.5 million, and we firmly believe the success of our Seedrs campaigns contributed to the successful closing of the A Round.
Has your customer base increased during and shortly after your campaign? Do you attribute this to your campaign? If yes, to what part of it?
Yes, most certainly. We found that many of our Seedrs investors subsequently opened investment accounts on our own platform, with the growth particularly strong amongst users from the UK market. I think Seedrs introduced us to a whole new group of potential investors.
Have you seen any wider halo marketing effects of running the campaign with Seedrs?
The number of news articles and mentions generated due to the speed of our second campaign had far-reaching effects on the recognition of our brand and raised our profile in the UK significantly, to the point where we are now ready to launch our service officially in that market.
Aside from the funds, what have been the long term benefits of your crowdfunding campaign?
The Seedrs investors have started to invest also into the projects in our platform and are widening our investor network via their own contacts. The marketing and PR reach is definitely wider with the help of Seedrs. Very good experience and competence gained, which we will use for launching our next campaign as a complementary part of the B-Round.
How has having a community of advocates helped you?
It’s definitely helped a lot! The power of word of mouth is exponential with the increased number of satisfied customers.
Estateguru is just one of the many companies on Seedrs we’re proud to highlight. You can view their previous campaign here.
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