3 questions to smart minds

Proptech — Dynamics in the real estate industry

For this 3 questions to Daria Saharova in Munich
Photo: Daria Saharova
26. June 2019

Until recently, the real estate indus­try was not one of the fields of action for tech­no­logy entre­pre­neurs. Howe­ver, a new trend has taken hold. Whether it’s real estate tech, property tech, or proptech and construction(-tech) for short, it’s all about the entry of tech­no­logy into the real estate indus­try and the disrup­tive chan­ges it brings.

For this 3 ques­ti­ons to Daria Saha­rova, Part­ner at in Munich

1. What prompted you or Vito ONE to focus on tech­no­lo­gi­cal deve­lo­p­ments in the real estate and cons­truc­tion sector, i.e. Proper­ty­Tech, Cons­truc­tion and Energy? Is there such a high demand there?

Mean­while, PropTech is a real hype among VC inves­tors. But when we deci­ded in 2015 to estab­lish Vito ONE as the first fund in Germany to specia­lize in this area, few had reco­gni­zed the great oppor­tu­ni­ties. For us, PropTech encom­pas­ses the entire value chain — from the real estate market to the cons­truc­tion and energy sectors. We are talking about econo­mic sectors of immense size. This is what makes the topic so attrac­tive for us as a VC inves­tor. Global sales — in the cons­truc­tion indus­try alone — are esti­ma­ted at $13 tril­lion. And these fast-growing markets are still very frag­men­ted and, above all, little digitized.

We assume that the topic of PropTech is ente­ring a decisive phase. The numbers bear this out: in 2017, VCs inves­ted over $5 billion in PropTech — more than 150 times the $33 million inves­ted in 2010. The situa­tion is simi­lar for Cons­truc­tion­Tech: Invest­ments here increased by 30 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year.

Since we occu­p­ied the topic with Vito ONE at a very early stage, we were able to build up a rele­vant network. We provide our port­fo­lio compa­nies with access to part­ners, custo­mers, talent and other capital.

2. How do you see the future and the tasks of VC and seed financiers?

For me, it is clear that we can only move forward toge­ther in Germany and in Europe. We need to agree on funda­men­tal issues and speak with one voice. This is also the only way to promote and secure tech­no­lo­gi­cal excel­lence throug­hout Europe. For this, howe­ver, we need new ways and open plat­forms that enable grea­ter networ­king among all play­ers and, at the same time, earlier access to know­ledge, talent, tech­no­lo­gies and capi­tal for all. The exam­ple of the uber-tech loca­tion Sili­con Valley shows very clearly how important a func­tio­ning ecosys­tem is — and will be even more important in the long term.

As a VC, I natu­rally also have a social respon­si­bi­lity. That’s exactly why I’m a co-foun­der of the 1E9 think tank, which is essen­ti­ally a cura­ted network that looks at future tech­no­lo­gies. In other words, 1E9 is an inter­na­tio­nal commu­nity of thought leaders and entre­pre­neurs united by the vision of crea­ting a posi­tive opti­mi­stic picture of the future. To ensure that the ideas gene­ra­ted in the think tank also reach a broad public, 1E9 includes its own tech maga­zine, which is backed by the former WIRED Germany team. Inci­den­tally, the offi­cial launch of the project will be a confe­rence in Munich on July 11, 2019. For those who want to be there: Use the code “FYBx1E9” for a 20 percent discount on tickets. I would be happy to meet many there!

3. Vito ONE is a young fund. How big is it, how many invest­ments are there and have you had any exits?

In a rela­tively short time, we have built up a top port­fo­lio with 20 invest­ments. In doing so, we focus on the whole of Europe. Nordic start­ups in parti­cu­lar are very strong in PropTech, which is why we just closed our second invest­ment in Norway. As I said, our invest­ments are found along the entire value chain: for exam­ple, we are inves­ted in Buil­ding Radar, an AI-powered search engine for cons­truc­tion projects, the compu­ter vision startup for the cons­truc­tion phase Imerso, and the housing plat­form But it also includes start­ups like gridx or simpli­nic, both IoT provi­ders for the energy sector and hospi­tals, respec­tively. We were able to complete a successful exit in 2018 with the digi­tal real estate broker Home­day to Axel Springer.

About Vito One
Vito One is not a new name for the early-stage inves­tor Vito Ventures, but another invest­ment arm around the Viess­mann Group. Vito One invests between 50,000 and 300,000 euros in the pre-seed and seed phases. Vito One invests in compa­nies from the IoT, energy and PropTech segments.

About Daria Saharova
Vito One is mana­ged by Daria Saha­rova. The Munich resi­dent by choice was previously Prin­ci­pal at Vito Ventures, Invest­ment Mana­ger at Seven­Ven­tures and Asso­ciate at KMC Capi­tal and Holtz­brinck Ventures. She also gained expe­ri­ence as the foun­der of Bellegs.

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