As is customary, and as part of our commitment to transparency, we have released an externally audited annual report for 2020.
Here we look back at 2020, a year of great challenges and stellar achievements for EstateGuru. You can also download the report in PDF format
A greeting from our CEO
No doubt the year 2020 is imbued with everything the Covid-19 pandemic brought to both our personal lives as well as the business environment. It was also the first time at EstateGuru that we had to tackle such an unpredictable situation and we believe that we managed it very well. I’m happy and proud that we reacted to the new world so swiftly and turned a challenging situation in our favour in the end.
First and foremost, it made our team even stronger.
We also witnessed the massive trust from our investor community all over the world in action – with our equity crowdfunding round on Seedrs exceeding its target of €350K by 261% in June. We launched the campaign during the deepest curve of the Covid crisis in April. The funds from that round were deployed in three strategic areas: geographical expansion, delivering an ambitious technology roadmap and developing the area of capital markets and institutional investments. EstateGuru launched its operations in Finland and Germany, put in place a capital markets team in Amsterdam, integrated the Lemonway payment service platform as well as the next phase of automated lead generation.
Alternative lending continues to grow rapidly across continental Europe. All indications are that this growth will continue as the model gains further mainstream acceptance and the need for capital grows in the SME sector. To illustrate this, EstateGuru financed loans in the amount of €120,2M in 2020 which is a 50% increase when compared to 2019 (€80,3). We expect that investors will continue to be attracted to our product as interest rates on traditional savings accounts with banks remain in the very low single digits.
We continue on our mission to offer property financing and investment solutions through a single marketplace for both individuals and businesses globally, and we intend to stick to our ambitious business roadmap of financing €5 billion by 2025 while keeping our focus clear: geographical expansion, technological advancement and institutional investors.
Marek Pärtel – Co-founder and CEO
Our mission statement
EstateGuru’s vision is to make property financing and investing attainable for anyone, anywhere in the world.
EstateGuru’s mission is to offer property financing and investment solutions through a single marketplace for both individuals and businesses globally.
Review of business areas
While we had very ambitious targets at the beginning of the year, just like the rest of the world, we were unprepared for the Covid-19 crisis. Brutal as it seemed at that time, we increased interest rates sharply. We continued to do absolutely everything we could to keep the company stable and strive towards excellence. Clients accepted our terms and together moved forward. Developers realized quickly enough during the summer that they were facing a new reality and that it was inappropriate to sit and wait – they restarted the projects they froze just a few months earlier and aggressively began to do their homework.
Having 90% of EstateGuru loan volume historically generated from recurring clients meant that we did not have to jump into the ocean to find new deals. Instead, we could focus on our loyal customers and generate strong results. I personally think this was a crucial factor in our success during the year, one which actually kept us alive and gave us an even more significant boost later. It was a proof of concept that, over six years, we have created a value proposition that really helps our clients. This is something I’m enormously proud of myself, and of course, these achievements would not have happened without an exceptional team of loan originators and every single employee of the unit.
We closed 2020 with a whopping €120,162,673.00 funded loans across seven countries. This is a 50% increase on 2019 when we did €80,337,394.00. The average MoM (Month on Month) growth in loan origination was 60%. This means that, on average, we grew our volumes by 60% per month compared to the previous year.
Our record month was December with €18,323,968.00 and the worst month was April with €4,102,889.00. This is a 4.6x times difference! Q4 2020 was tremendous. We nearly topped a total of €50 million for a single quarter, while Q1 and Q3 had €27 and €28 million respectively.
“Having a loyal and happy customer base was a crucial factor in our success during the year. It was a proof of concept that, over six years, we have created a value proposition that really helps our clients.”
Daniil Aal – Head of Group Sales
We continued the steps we had initiated in previous years to become the leading financial technology company of the future. Our risk team grew substantially in 2020, with the addition of several financial sector specialists bringing us even more knowledge. The team will continue to grow in the coming years.
Another important achievement is the development of a new loan and credit application system that works across the company and in all countries. The new system ensures transparent, fast and efficient loan application processing in all the countries where we operate.
In conclusion, we continued to make investments for the future which will ensure a strong foundation for the credit portfolio quality as well as prepare us for the rapid growth that the company is expecting.
As we enter new markets and expand our business through Europe, the risk team remains the central pillar of our success. I am incredibly happy that the team is growing and that our track record means we are at the very pinnacle of the industry.
Kaspar Kaljuvee- Partner and CRO
Despite the fact that, during the first two quarters of 2020, investor behaviour was affected by Covid, we were still able to record new record-breaking months in terms of both volume and new investors by the end of 2020.
In 2020, 31 198 investors joined the community, which means we ended the year with roughly 70,000 people using EstateGuru for their real estate investments.
During the second quarter of 2020, despite the uncertainty of Covid, EstateGuru’s team decided to proceed with its plans and engaged in a Seedrs equity fundraising campaign which ended up being a massive success. Both our existing and new investors from the Seedrs community had the opportunity to become an equity investor and become a part of EstateGuru’s success story. Nearly €1 million was raised to fund the company’s growth ambitions.
In 2021, the company is focusing on finalising several technical developments from the investors’ department which were initiated in 2020. We are growing the team and preparing to bring new products to the market.
“We are eager to achieve the 2021 targets as we see a lot of capital looking for utilisation while EstateGuru’s brand is growing more influential across all markets”.
Triin Jõeleht – Head of Investor Relations
Expansion and Business Development
2020 was a difficult year in many aspects, but also one that left us with a lot to be proud of. Despite the challenges presented by a global crisis, we grew the business, added many new important members to our team, and continued with our geographic expansion. We improved efficiency and maintained our vision to be nimble and to scale without bloating our employee numbers.
Regardless of the global crisis and the resultant economic fallout, we grew our sales volumes by 50%, our investor numbers by 51% and our revenue from €2.5 million to €4.5 million. We also saw significant geographic expansion, with our first deals landed in Sweden and operations launched in Finland and Germany. The restructuring of the risk department paid dividends immediately, as the new-look team recovered a total of €5,22 M worth of loans.
In terms of business efficiency, we could see the results of our ongoing work come to fruition. We completed 1.5 times more customer verifications than the year before, 21000 vs 14000, and our Know Your Customer processes are now fully automated.
“I’m immensely proud of our team and how we tackled the global crisis triggered by Covid-19. We made a series of tough but ultimately correct decisions promptly and this paved the way for the setting of new business records. We have also started to attract the best talent in the financial industry, which is crucial for the future and will assist us in our mission to offer property financing and investment solutions through a single marketplace for both individuals and businesses globally”.
Mihkel Stamm – Chief Operating Officer
Marketing and Communication
We have stated publicly that our ambition is to reach a level of financing of €5 billion by 2025 in August 2019. This marks the beginning of our regular strategic communication flow, including monthly loan reports (the first one was sent out in October 2019) that we send to all of our investors, our annual report communication, and quarterly economic results (first one sent out in April 2020). All these communication activities, in addition to regular press releases, are a crucial part of building trust and reputation. We are, after all, mostly in the business of trust.
And of course, it makes us proud to see that media exposure in 2020 increased by more than 700% compared to 2018, and +366% compared to 2019. These are the kind of numbers I’ve never witnessed in my career before. Also, our share of voice is nicely equal to our business volumes, and we stand out from our competitors. As our community base is pretty sizeable, I consider it immensely important to engage with them consistently. It makes our marketing and communication activities so much more meaningful and effective. We aim to at least maintain the referral rate of 41% or higher. The numbers to illustrate our engagement rates are also gratifying: number of subscribers to newsletter +134%, number of followers on LinkedIn +148%, number of the followers on Instagram +180%, number of Facebook page likes +181%, number of Facebook shares +148%, number of emails sent +111%.
So, overall, the quality of our loans, the professionalism and kindness of our customer support, as well as our passion for honesty and transparency make our job at marketing and communication very easy and cost-efficient. You don’t need to invest in advertising when the word of mouth of your customer base is doing marketing for you.
I’m also very happy to have taken the initiative of implementing an environmental, social & corporate governance (ESG) strategy into our core processes, something that will be very heavily on our agenda in 2021. It gives us all one more tool to make our business results more meaningful and life on Mother Earth better for all of us.
“I consider our main role to guarantee the consistency of our promises and messages both internally and externally and then, of course, contributing the maximum to deliver them in cooperation with all of EstateGuru’s team members and partners. Our loyal and happy customer base is our best marketing tool.”
Piret Reinson – Head of Marketing & Communication
Thank you for taking your time to dig deeper into EstateGuru’s financials and the summary of 2020.
In closing, we would like to share our deepest gratitude to all of our investors and borrowers who’ve been with us throughout the year of the Covid crisis as well as all our business partners and the experts we are working with. Building a modern ecosystem for real estate cannot be done without the highest quality partners and the best team.
We keep delivering on our mission to offer property financing and investing solutions through a single marketplace for both individuals and businesses globally.
And finally, we’d like to point out EstateGuru’s differentiating factors, the things which make us unique, keep us striving forward, and help us make the world a better place for all of us:
1) focus on digital asset origination across jurisdictions in segments that are underserved by traditional banking channels;
2) focus on investments with downside protection and first ranking security;
3) high level of repeat borrowers and investors and confirmed excellent client experience;
4) proprietary state of the art technology enabling an efficient, scalable borrower and investor experience;
5) high commitment to superior reporting quality and transparency;
6) experienced management team with strong alignment of interest and sector experience gained in banking, asset management and the industry, combined with expertise in the property finance marketplace.