If you don’t know them already, Brickbro is the Kickstarter of the real estate world. They use a digital crowdfunding platform to introduce investors of all shapes and (wallet) sizes to promising properties. And with bids starting as low as €50, Brickbro provides an easily accessible way for first-time developers to start building their investment portfolios.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Well this is how it works… Brickbro’s team, which has over 30 years’ experience in real estate, do all the legwork. They find, research and analyse the investment potential of a property, then put together a proposal of how it can best be developed for maximum return. They then make these proposals available on the Brickbro website and investors decide if they want to invest and how much of said opportunity they’re happy to fund. The premises acquired are often in former retail or office buildings, which then get converted into clean, contemporary spaces in which to live or work (or both). Once sold, Brickbro takes 4% commission on the total, as well as 10-50% of the net profit.
There are two key factors in Brickbro’s success and that’s ensuring transparency, as well as safety and security. While that sounds a bit dull on paper, it’s vital for investors to know that Brickbro operates through a Participatory Financing Platform (PFP) authorised by the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) and that any data involved is completely protected. They’ll also always make sure that everything you need to know about each potential investment is plainly stated and easy to understand.
The brains behind this innovative real estate venture is Guillermo Preckler. He previously worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the largest auditing firms in the world, and had all the necessary skills to run his own business. The only thing holding him back was himself. But as soon as he was ready, he took that leap into entrepreneurship, quit his job and put everything he had into making Brickbro a success. Here are his top tips on how you can do the same.
What would you advise to someone who’s just starting their own business?
“First of all, find the right people to form your company: co-founders, first employees and advisors. The early days are so formative that it’s crucial you build a network with a high degree of integrity. Secondly, focus on the data. Build your business plan and ensure that as your company takes shape, you’re guided by solid numbers, not personal beliefs. Given the nature of the Brickbro business model, getting people to invest meant that trust had to be generated through accurate and transparent data. This was especially important as we had investors from all walks of life, as well as different levels of understanding, experience and expectations. This mantra really should be applied to anyone starting their own thing.”
What should fledgling startup founders avoid?
“There are two clear mistakes that every entrepreneur should avoid. The first is overconfidence and the second is falling in love with the idea. The latter especially becomes a problem when people get obsessed with their business idea. Maybe you can get away with it when raising initial investment, but you risk not achieving a good product/market fit. You need to have your feet on the ground, know what you’re working on inside out, and build your business with the right data and information – without falling in love.”
Why did you start Brickbro?
“Part of the reason I started when I did was because I didn’t have any major responsibilities. Plus I had this passion to go out on my own before trying a corporate job that may have drawn me in for a long time. But ultimately, I don’t believe there is an ideal moment. Undertaking something like starting a business usually comes from within – an inner drive or desire. Entrepreneurship is based on people and not on moments.”
What is the most exciting thing about life as an entrepreneur?
“With BrickBro I never stop learning and I have some amazing experiences. I truly believe there is nothing more beautiful than building your own business and living your life this way. I want to continue to surround myself with the best talent I can find and take the company to the next level, hopefully global. At the same time, I’m involved in a charity project in Africa, The Medasi Foundation, supporting and trying to improve the education of hundreds of children in Ghana. This is also important to me and something I wouldn’t be able to do were it not for my success as an entrepreneur.”