Catching up with Baufi24 CEO Tomas Peeters

Interviews, News

7th April 2022

We are very excited by the news that Nordic Capital is joining us in backing Baufi24 and a true championship team that is changing the game in home financing and bringing together so many great brands under one roof, including Hüttig & Rompf and Creditweb. These brands will continue to operate independently under a new entity called Bilthouse.

Our very own Jörg Dörnemann sat down with Tomas Peeters, who in addition to his duties as Baufi24 CEO, will lead the entire Bilthouse group.  We also have as a special guest, business and angel and btov Private Investor, Martin Enderle, who was an early believer in Baufi24.

Martin Enderle, former Scout24 Group CEO, Chairman of the Board, Delivery Hero, and investor.

Q -Tomas, congratulations on the new tie-up. Please tell us briefly about Baufi24.
A -Tomas: Thanks Jörg! Baufi24 is one of Germany’s largest and fastest growing mortgage advisors. Our consultants compare the offers of more than 400 banks to find the best conditions for our customers. The Baufi24 Group includes the companies Kredit24, LoanLink24 and FinLink. While LoanLink24 works for international customers who want to finance the purchase or construction of a property in Germany, Kredit24 is an online portal for consumer loans. Our CRM software FinLink simplifies the path of the customer journey for any mortgage from customer inquiry to closing a deal.
Q -What is the “secret sauce” behind Baufi24’s tremendous growth over the last few years?
A -Tomas: We believe that Baufi24’s growth over the last few years is a result of our entrepreneurial culture and the outstanding service we offer. We take pride in the expertise of our employees, who always go the extra mile, and this mentality forms the bedrock of our corporate culture. We also place a premium on transparency, offering prices without any hidden fees, while providing the best possible guidance in supporting our clients financing needs in the retail mortgage space – that’s the reason why we’ve been able to generate so much enthusiasm. Our goal is to make the process as frictionless as possible by combining digital technology and excellent guidance.

Martin: As the former CEO of Scout 24, I saw firsthand how the ImmoScout business brought digital leads to the banks, but that those banks were not able to really process these. Interhyp was the first iteration of making the process of discovering home mortgages more digital and creating a marketplace on the banking side. But this business model is still in its infancy, and now Tomas and his team are executing a new vision that will make the entire process digital, while leveraging expertise that is not necessarily found in the banks anymore. There’s such a huge amount of growth opportunity in this market. We’re very much at the beginning of a transformation process and Baufi24 is taking advantage of this.

There’s such a huge amount of growth opportunity in this market. We’re very much at the beginning of a transformation process and Baufi24 is taking advantage of this.

Q -Baufi24's first institutional investors were the Helvetia Venture Fund and btov private investors . What were the advantages of working with the btov community?
A -Tomas: I got to know Helvetia and btov Partners through a former business partner who also had btov as investors, he was very positive and told me that they would understand our business model very easily, given their experience with Moneypark, Finanzcheck, Raisin and Pricehubble.

I had great exchanges with several direct investors from the btov investor community, first through Michael Wieser on behalf of Helvetia, and then Camilla von Gayl and yourself. Two examples stand out: Thanks to btov we got connected to the Google Accelerator program, which helped us to further improve our approach. You also supported our convertible after two difficult sales months and helped support the latest funding round, as well as our discussions to create Bilthouse, where Michael Wieser from the Helvetia Venture Fund played a significant role.

Martin: Being able to leverage btov reduces a lot of friction for me, they have very good, streamlined processes that reduce the admin. I do direct investments on my own too, through my own network, but it is more cumbersome. Plus you get to see more dealflow, in a more systematic way, and have conversations with people who have real industry expertise. It’s less opportunistic. I really enjoy working with btov in that regard.
Q -The Series A, totaling ca. EUR 7 million, took place roughly a year ago. What has happened over the last year?
A -Tomas: We achieved our revenue growth targets and massively increased our transaction volume. We also doubled our technical staff, which helped us develop our technical integrations across the banking sector.

Martin: I had Thomas and his team on my radar for a while, they have deep experience in this field and the right vision, so I’m not at all surprised that they have been able to execute on this.

Baufi24, Hüttig & Rompf and Creditweb are joining forces to form Bilthouse, thereby creating a leading group in the mortgages space. All three brands will remain active in the market with a combined mortgage financing volume of around five billion euros.

Q -You just announced a big funding round. Tell us a bit more about it. Why now?
A -Tomas: Baufi24, Hüttig & Rompf and Creditweb are joining forces to form Bilthouse, thereby creating a leading group in the mortgages space. All three brands will remain active in the market with a combined mortgage financing volume of around five billion euros. In addition to its network and expertise, the new majority shareholder Nordic Capital is supporting Bilthouse with a primary investment of 30 million euros to help us grow. I am very happy that Helvetia and btov, as well as the top management all stay invested and committed to the further growth of Bilthouse.
Q -Where do you see Baufi24 and the whole group in 5 years? What’s the masterplan?
A -Tomas: We believe that by all three of us working together, we will clearly deliver more value than by ourselves. The masterplan is quite simple: enable each brand to achieve faster growth by combining services and building out the tech, while focusing on the core strengths of each partner. With its comprehensive product portfolio, Bilthouse is one of the leading players in the German B2C market for real estate financing. Through the interaction of FinLink's sales, lead shop and CRM system, the holding company also aims to expand its expertise into the B2B segment. Our ambitions help us attract and keep talent, allowing us to hire even more specialists to add expertise. At Bilthouse we are embracing the trend towards more digitization: This adds enormous value for customers and business partners alike. It goes without saying that our customer support remains focused on the individual and personal needs of each of our clients. We are convinced that Bilthouse will set new standards in the German mortgage financing market.

Martin: The market opportunity is enormous. A relatively small portion of the market is digitalized, so no matter what happens in the short-term, more and more of the market will be moving from the offline world to the online world. Plus, this team is hungry and agile and fighting incumbents who cannot move as fast as they can.
Q -There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world economy right now. How will that impact the home real estate market in Europe/ the German-speaking world?
A -Tomas: As Europe’s largest and strongest economy, Germany has become a safe haven for real estate investments over the last decade. International and domestic investors appreciate the high building standards and creditworthiness of German homeowners and renters. The current uncertainties across the world might even strengthen Germany’s position as one of the largest real estate markets world-wide even further – strengthening its position as an even more attractive safe haven. At the same time, Germany faces a large homeownership gap with one of the lowest homeownership rates across Europe. Less than half the population owns a home in Germany, whilst at the same time 75 percent of the population would like to be homeowners, as many studies have demonstrated. In times of global insecurity, this number will probably even increase, thus offering further potential for growth in the real estate mortgage market, particularly in view of an increasing demand for housing and a housing stock that hasn’t kept pace with this demand.

Martin: It’s very hard to predict, but even if the market does take a bit of a downturn, there will still be significant demand for mortgages and real estate financing. And especially if interest rates go up, there will be even more pressure for mortgage seekers to look for and get the best deal possible, and this plays right into the hands of the Baufi24 and the entire Bilthouse group.

Thank you very much, Tomas and Martin.  Click here, to learn more about btov’s Private Investor Network. 

Also a very special thanks to Michael Wieser, btov partner in charge of the Helvetia Fund, who was key in bringing Baufi24 to our attention.

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