The Founder Stories brings us closer to entrepreneurs and their journey creating a startup in Demium. This time, we spoke to Guillermo Preckler, CEO and co-founder at Brickbro. Guillermo joined Demium back in 2018 and founded Brickbro to contribute to the digitalization of the real state sector. Almost three years later, the startup has a young team of 22 people and has recently raised a €1M financing round to keep growing.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your background?
I’m 25 years old. I started Brickbro at 22, but at the age of 16 I founded a buy-and-sell parking spaces company in Barcelona. You could say that is how I first started in the real estate business. I have been working in the real estate sector for 3 years and during this time I’ve had the chance to meet great people. This experience was insightful enough to help me see that this was a sector I liked. Sales and negotiations proved to be my thing! At 18, I started my BA in Business Administration and Industrial Organization Engineering in Barcelona.
One year later, I founded a non-profit association in Dodowa, a town in Ghana, Africa. We raised money to build an orphanage where 350 children live today. We also helped to supply potable water in the entire area of Dodowa.
At 22, when I was finishing my degree, I started an audit internship at PWC (PriceWaterhouseCoopers) and ended up doing a strategic audit internship in that same company. While I was going through the internship, I realized that it wasn’t my thing, I wanted to be an entrepreneur. During my time in London I applied for PWC London, and received their offer. I had to decide, staying in London and starting my career in PWC or going back to Spain, taking the risk and try something new.
Just then Demium contacted me via LinkedIn and explained everything about their AllStartup Weekend Event. It seemed interesting so I decided to sign up for it. Since that moment everything changed. I met Carolina Santa Cruz who is today my co-founder at Brickbro along with many startup owners and entrepreneurs in the Demium ecosystem, which was a quite empowering experience. Demium eased my way into the world of entrepreneurship.
Q: What has creating Brickbro taught you about real estate?
We work in a sector marked by tradition. It is a very important sector in Spain in terms of volume (GDP). But, analyzing the volume of digitization that the sector has, I think there is still a long way to go. There has been very little digitization within this sector and this is because the main players do not want to digitize their business or are very comfortable with the way they work. This is the great challenge. And this is why we decided to launch Brickbro.
We understand that thanks to technology, a large part of the inefficiencies in this sector can be solved. From a technological point of view, we believe we can make an interesting change. All of this is what motivates us. The real challenge is how to build the solution. It is true that we have relied on external advisors. In the end, we the founders, we are very young people. We both have experience in consulting and problem solving, but not in the real estate sector. We want to take advantage of all the resources from the advisors that lead large companies in the real estate market.
Q: What has launching Brickbro taught you, personally or as an entrepreneur?
Life has its ups and downs. Sometimes you have 29 bad days and 1 good day but it’s productive enough to be worth way more. I really believe that the most important thing is that this has been a huge learning experience for me and this is what any entrepreneur who starts a business should look for. Earning money, having a very large business with greater or lesser impact nothing depends on your ability to do things well, a bit of luck and the people who you surround yourself with. The three lessons I have learned as an entrepreneur are:
1st – Surround yourself with great people and build a strong team. Not only the team that you have within the company, but the entire network of advisors. For example, I have many people who advise me in my day-to-day work, who I cannot pay because they are managers in large companies. But I keep them close. Perhaps the vast majority of advisors we have are Brickbro investors.
2nd – Do things quickly. It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake, the important thing is that you learn every time you make a mistake. Make quick decisions, both good and bad.
3rd – Validate quickly. We learned this at Demium as well. Don’t spend too much money on the pilot, make sure you take things step by step in order to validate the model. We, for example, are now pivoting with the business model and the metrics that we take now are very important to us. The final goal is much more ambitious but to validate quickly and work a lot on your MVP is key to start a business model.
Q: Why did you decide to start in Demium?
I think it was time. I knew I was ready to start but I was missing the final push. And that came with Demium. I admit that I knew little about business. Demium is a very strong ecosystem: entrepreneurs, startup owners and Demium founders all in one. Joan Álvarez and Maurici Badia from Hannun, Julio Ribes from Swipcar and Laura Gómez from Catevering have been great mentors to me. The other startups were already well ahead in the game but this didn’t keep us from seeing ourselves reflected on their progression and growth.
Above all, having joined an entrepreneurial ecosystem like at Demium helped me a lot to realize that it was the best decision I could have made at the time. The startup world is difficult to understand for newcomers. You need someone reliable enough to teach you; you can’t just learn on your own.
Q: What were the key benefits from participating in Demium’s program?
Learning within the startup world. Demium is a remarkable learning hub. I figured out how to validate an MVP with little resources, how to make strategic decisions, join forces with other entrepreneurs and share experiences, how to lead my team and hang tough on a bad day.
The Demium selection process was demanding. Spending a weekend dedicating all your time to the AllStartup is hard. To begin with, I think that very few people dedicate a weekend to work. But you come to understand that there is no better selection test because, at the end of the day, the founders must dedicate themselves body and soul to the project.
Demium asserts that entrepreneurship is a “full-life” matter; one that should not be undertaken lightly.