PropTech1 Ventures and BitStone Capital invest in Simplifa, the digital property manager for elevators
Berlin, September 10, 2018 – Since launching its investment activity, PropTech1 Ventures, Germany's first venture capital fund focusing on European PropTech startups, has evaluated over 150 startups within the PropTech segment and is now making its first investment in the digital property manager for elevators Simplifa. PropTech1 Ventures invests in the seed round together with BitStone Capital as co-lead investor with a consortium of renowned business angels, such as Lars Grosenick (co-founder Flowfact) and Marc Stilke (former CEO Immobilienscout24), as well as existing shareholders in Simplifa, which is further supported by the European accelerator blackprint PropTech Booster. PropTech1 is currently in advanced negotiations with other startups and will announce them after having signed the respective shareholder agreements.
The PropTech startup Simplifa offers real estate owners an all-round service in the area of elevator management with the help of smart building and Internet of Things technologies and already manages more than 1,000 elevator systems today. Elevators are a pain point for their owners: The operation and maintenance costs of the elevator generate some of the highest costs per square feet in the property and elevator downtimes cause extreme user dissatisfaction, high administrative burden for property managers and can even lead to justified rent reductions. Implementing operational obligations, such as maintenance, documentation and repair, lies in the primary responsibility of the property owners. However, due to high cost and often lack of expertise, this happens usually not only inefficiently, but also involves legal risks, for example due to failure to employ maintenance measures. In addition, there is a high information asymmetry between owner / property manager and elevator maintenance company, which often leads to disproportionately high maintenance costs.
Simplifa structures, optimizes, and manages elevator portfolios for its customers. The startup serves as a central point of contact for owners and elevator service companies and acts as an expert on an equal footing in negotiations. Each elevator undergoes a technical inspection and is recorded in 360° shots to simulate a virtual “elevator twin”. In the event of system malfunctions, the maintenance company can ensure a much faster and more targeted repair thanks to the "elevator twin" without prior dispatch of a technician. Thanks to Simplifa, the operating and maintenance costs of the elevators are regularly reduced by about 30% while maintaining the same quality. In the future, the transmission of sensor data will provide a manufacturer-independent real-time analysis for a predictive maintenance system, which will reduce the manual test frequency of the elevators and avoid costly downtimes in advance.
Marius Marschall von Bieberstein, Founding Partner of PropTech1 Ventures and longtime real estate entrepreneur, comments on the investment decision, "Although elevators are the lifeline of a building, their administration has always been neglected. So far there has not been a digital specialist that offers real estate owners an all-round carefree solution. Not only do I know from personal experience that there is a need for it, but this is also confirmed by the fact that Simplifa has already been able to win various customers from all asset classes. Simplifa highlights the tremendous potential for optimization in this large, previously unaddressed market and provides, through technological solutions, a win-win-win situation for property owners, elevator maintenance companies, and tenants."
Kai Panitzki, Managing Partner of BitStone Capital, adds, "The founding team was especially convincing. Thanks to years of work for Otis, Ludwig von Busse knows the industry inside out. Hubertus von Schierstaedt contributes his interdisciplinary management and finance know-how from more than a decade as managing director and active partner of various construction and real estate companies."
Nikolas Samios, Managing Partner of PropTech1, further explains, "As a venture capitalist, we find the business model to be economically attractive: The contracts with Simplifa are issued on a subscription basis, which means that recurring revenues are generated through long-term customer relationships. Last but not least, we are delighted to partner with BitStone Capital, Lars Grosenick, Marc Stilke, blackprint PropTech Booster, and other existing shareholders to form a strong investor consortium that will actively support Simplifa's growth beyond pure venture capital."
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