Interview with Christian Traunfellner, Head of Office at IMMOFINANZ
IMMOFINANZ has recently invested in proptechs – how did that happen?
Traunfellner: Yes, we acquired stakes in SpaceOS and ShareSpace. We wanted to expand our myhive app and coworking spaces by adding useful services. SpaceOs is a young company and was looking for investors, and we found their team and product convincing. The app lets tenants make spontaneous bookings of desks and rooms with in-app payment facilities. The app also opens the doors of rented rooms at all our locations across Europe. We use ShareSpace to market our own spaces and for digital contract settlement. The start-up has a significant reach, and even smallest areas like individual desks can be rented out. In total, we have invested EUR 4mn in both start-ups.
Does IMMOFINANZ have a start-up strategy?
Traunfellner: No, because we are no traditional venture capitalist. We focus on our core business and have no dedicated investment strategy for proptechs. But we still contribute technical input and money when cooperating with promising start-ups. They, in turn, bring their innovative know-how from the technology sector to the table. If in the future we find another company that offers something we would like but cannot provide on our own, we will again invest if all the variables work for us.
Will the start-ups be integrated into IMMOFINANZ?
Traunfellner: No, because we do not have the required environment. Start-ups need creative freedom, and such integration would dampen the inventive spirit which we definitely want to keep at its best. The proptechs we invest in should work independently and receive the necessary technical and financial support from us to market a practical product which we as a company can implement directly.
Is the Austrian proptechs market interesting? ShareSpace, for example, is from Poland?
Traunfellner: We are members of apti (Austrian PropTech Initiative), and would invest in Austrian proptechs in a heartbeat if we found something we wanted to use, or we believed in. In this case, we found the solution we were looking for abroad.