Following a successful seed round of CHF 2 million at the start of 2019, RealAdvisor announces the strategic acquisition IMAGO and the integration of the team (previously PapayaPods).
(GENEVA, May 27) After having gained strong traction in the PropTech transaction market, launching one of Switzerland's first free online appraisal tools in 2017, RealAdvisor closed a seed round in early 2019. The CHF 2 million round was led by a successful serial entrepreneur. Highlighting their first major strategic move following the financing round is the acquisition of IMAGO (formerly PapayaPods). The start-up is looking to grow their presence in the Swiss Real Estate market, introducing complimentary products and services to their real estate valuation tool, after having processed more than 40,000 residential home valuations.
RealAdvisor was co-founded in June 2017 by Joan Rodriguez and Jonas Wiesel, together with Olivier Plan. Frustrated by the lack of transparency in what, for many, is the largest purchase or sale of their lives, the co-founders launched RealAdvisor.ch with an online appraisal tool – giving access to information normally reserved for real estate professionals to the public, i.e the most accurate real estate valuation in the market. RealAdvisor’s vision is to help people make better decisions when buying, selling, renting, or financing property.
“After our initial launch, we gained some powerful insights into the consumer needs in and around real estate transactions, from the more than 40,000 users who have trusted us with valuing a home on our website.” A cornerstone milestone, that has allowed RealAdvisor to define their roadmap for the next 24 months, explains Joan Rodriguez, CEO, and Co-Founder. RealAdvisor plans to use the funding to concentrate on building out the products and services that help improve the efficiency of the transaction business, as well as simplifying the search process for property, financing, and rentals. “Given our ambitious objectives and the focus on growing our revenue streams, the decision to acquire IMAGO for their start-up experience, including technology from their previous PropTech venture, has been key in allowing us to start accelerating our momentum.”
IMAGO, a Start-up for hire, was the result of a pivot from the service formerly known as PapayaPods. PapayaPods was launched in 2015, by co-founders Aaron Pitts, Adrien Stucki, Alex Just, Jakub Riziky and Elliot Pitts. The objective was to digitize the rental process for private landlords, from sourcing tenants to processing rental transactions. Having realized the product was a bit too early for the industry, in 2017, the company closed the service and repositioned themselves by transferring their learnings in product development and company building to corporate innovation teams. The driver for the team, has always been to create transparency in the real estate market. The repositioning to IMAGO allowed the founders to gain time and experience, ready to get back into the PropTech industry.
“Having heard of, and known a fair amount about RealAdvisor.ch already, when they approached us to collaborate in mid 2019, we at first thought that we would be able to support them as we had been doing with corporates” explains Alex Just, former CEO. “After a few meetings with both Joan and Jonas, things became very clear. Their passion for solving problems in the real estate industry was driven by the same one we had, creating a fairer market through transparency.” Moving forward with the acquisition and joining forces to help RealAdvisor on their mission was the logical step for both companies.
The transaction was closed in the late summer of 2019, for an undisclosed amount. Four of the IMAGO founders started as full-time employees, bringing RealAdvisor's team to a total of 27 people. Aaron and Elliot Pitts taking on leadership roles in the technical teams, leading and building up products key to the company's strategy. Jakub Riziky has joined as the head of product, supporting the CTO, Jonas, in managing the products, UI and UX designs as well as requirements and Alex as the COO, supporting the team in operations, as well as the development of new products and services, focused on generating revenues with existing customer traction.
2020 will be an important year for the company, as they look towards solidifying their market presence in Switzerland, and building up a stable and durable revenue base, whilst increasing the speed at which they release improvements and new products. A focus being on bringing transparency to the property financing business, with a new online tool for buyers scheduled for release mid-year.
RealAdvisor is an aggregator of real estate information and services. Using the power of the web we centralize all property listings, online valuation services, real estate agents, and lenders in one place; providing an unprecedented level of transparency for the real estate market.
RealAdvisor is the commercial brand of the legal entity "AI Partners SA", a limited company headquartered in Geneva.
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