Germany’s largest crowdfunder Exporo has quietly rebranded its business model. According to exclusive information from Finanz-Szene.de, the Hamburg-based fintech wants to act only as a crowd platform for real estate investments in the future – but no longer manage the properties itself. Already weeks ago, the 19 employees who were previously entrusted with property management received notice of termination at the end of the year, according to our research. Of course, the properties must continue to be managed, but this task will be outsourced to Sonar Real Estate, a company also based in Hamburg. Other operational tasks – such as the screening and purchase procedure of properties, as well as their management and liquidity management – will also be handled by external partners in the future.
In its new setup, Exporo will continue to consist of two main business areas under the umbrella of Exporo AG: the financing area (the project business with generally new properties) and the portfolio area, in which only existing properties are brokered. In the future, the focus will be on existing properties. Ultimately, Exporo will thus act in the future only as a pure broker, forwarding investors’ money, but no longer managing real estate. This is also likely to serve the goal of saving costs.
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The young platform Propvest is the new heart of the company
Apparently, the realignment is also accompanied by a creeping branding change. As a reminder, in July Exporo had launched a new digital platform for investing in existing projects under the name “Propvest”. Now it turns out: Propvest is apparently the central product and also the new brand name for Exporo’s portfolio real estate investments. Thus, Exporo has now rebranded all of its holdings internally. The company manages approximately 65 portfolio projects with about $282 million (€250 million) under management only under the brand and the platform Propvest.
Conspicuous: The name “Exporo” does not appear on the Propvest side at all more, also not in the imprint. Because also the name of the actually mediating GmbH – once Exporo Investment GmbH – was changed into “EPH Investment GmbH”, an abbreviation for “Exporo Propvest Hamburg”.
According to information of Finanz-Szene.de, the strategy turn and the internal reorganization are also a consequence of difficulties, which Exporo had in the project financing. Numerous projects have been delayed in recent years. In Marburg, Exporo – and thus also the investors – were even involved in a tangible case of fraud. In addition, the new business collapsed significantly last year: Mediated Exporo the “Crowd” still in 2019 as the undisputed market leader with about two-thirds market share real estate financing in the amount of $221 million (€196 million), it was 2020 only $153.5 million (€136 million)- a minus of 31%.
To be sure, Exporo cited the pandemic as a major reason for the decline. However, the volume of the total market for crowd-investing without Exporo in 2020 increased by 1% to $134 million (€119 million) after all, according to the calculations of the crowdinvest.de portal. In addition, Exporo had initially forecast in its annual report for 2019 an increase in the brokered capital to more than $451 million (€400 million), not a decline – planning that was then corrected downward, without giving details.
One of the consequences was therefore to build a completely new brand with Propvest to strengthen the less profitable but also less risky existing business. The company also sent corresponding signals to the investors who had provided Exporo with another $18 million (€16 million) in January. According to reports, however, Propvest has only been able to acquire a low three-digit number of new customers since the market launch in July. Who wonders now that on the Internet side of “12,500 investors” the speech is – that is owed to the internal Umwuchten of the investors on the new mark Propvest, not a success of the selling.
An Exporo spokesman confirmed to Finanz-Szene.de the new structure and the redundancies in the transaction and asset management team. However, it had not come net due to a job increase in other areas to a staff decrease. Employees would also have the option to move to the new portfolio manager Sonar Real Estate or internally to other positions.
The spokesman did not want to confirm or deny that Propvest has only acquired a three-digit number of new customers so far. Instead, he pointed out that Propvest was developing “according to plan”, but that marketing was not yet very intensive.
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First published in finanz-szene.de, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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