Our venture Zinsbaustein.de is celebrating its first anniversary – and it’s not the only occasion to celebrate: Just recently, Zinsbaustein.de announced the first payout for one one of their projects. We talked to Managing Director Frank Noé and Volker Wohlfarth about earlier milestones as well as the future of the crowdinvesting segment.
1. What have been the most important milestones for Zinsbaustein.de so far?
Frank Noé: Our initial milestone was of course the launch of our first project “brauHaus Forchheim” in May 2016. From the beginning, it all went pretty well – the total investment volume of € 500.000 was raised within no more than 19 hours. Only 5 months later we were able to raise € 2 million for the construction of a students’ residence at the EBS Business School.
Volker Wohlfarth: Our team is what makes us special: In September we welcomed our 10th team member and since then, several others joined. The growth continues! We’re currently looking for talents on nine different positions, from a Ruby-on-Rails-Developer to Key-Account-Managers.
What we are most proud of is the first payout of investments for one of our projects in April this year. That milestone was especially important for us in order to convince even more investors that crowdinvesting is an actual investment alternative.
2. Which challenges did you face during the last year?
Volker Wohlfarth: Our biggest competitor is not another crowdinvesting platform but the traditional savings account. Many Germans have not heard about crowdinvesting in real estate yet or feel wary because they do not know this form of investment. Raising awareness is probably going to be our biggest challenge for some more time.
Frank Noé: Like most other fintech companies, we had to create professional structures very quickly because people entrusted us with large amounts of money. So far, this worked out very well. The number of investors that placed funds in more than one project is quite large which means that people trust in us and our expertise in selecting excellent projects.
3. What kinds of advantages do investors profit from, when they decide to place funds on your platform instead of using traditional investment forms?
Volker Wohlfarth: First of all: We offer a much higher return rate. Traditional investment forms do not perform as strong in the current period of low interest rates, in which the real estate market is basically the only segment that really shows strong growth. However, small investors can hardly profit from these positive developments in the real estate market because attractive properties have already become very expensive. Now, we democratize these lucrative investments, that have only been accessible to wholesale investors so far: building loans. In that way, our investors also profit from the fact that their investments are bound for only 12 up to 36 months.
Frank Noé: Transparency is another important aspect that distinguishes our investment form from others. Real estate funds for instance do not enable investors to recognize the properties they actually invest in. Our clients receive extensive information on every property so that they can decide whether they want to invest in a certain object or not.
4. What distinguishes you from your competitors?
Frank Noé: Basically two main aspects: Our expertise and the thorough selection of new projects. Following our philosophy we prefer quality over quantity. We’d rather have a break in between two projects than to offer investments into dubious properties.
In order to ensure that our requirements are met, all projects are subject to our thorough selection process that is conducted by partners who gained experiences in the industry over decades as for instance our shareholder Sontowski & Partner, who has been an established building contractor for more than 30 years.
That is also why we only offer one fixed rate of interest. We do not classify our projects into different risk categories: If we realize that any given project has an increased default risk, we will not offer it to the people that use our platform.
5. What are your plans for the future?
Volker Wohlfarth: First of all we have to accomplish a very important goal with other crowdinvesting platforms: We have to raise awareness for the investment form and establish it as an alternative here in Germany.
Frank Noé: Besides, we want to offer even more projects. However, there are not going to be any compromises regarding our selection criteria. We continuously want to establish Zinsbaustein.de as a quality platform and thereby increase our shares in the market.