The latest Finnish Property Market 2018 report, showcases a strong real estate market — with foreign investment into the country being the largest investor group with a share of 29% of the total Finnish market. The main city regions also showed an increase in housing demand with Helsinki representing half of the increase in housing demand.
With a very promising landscape and adding technology to the equation and despite the market’s recent growth, we wonder how technology can be a game changer and become the facelift for mundane processes that go in between buying and selling a home. Kalle Salmi, CEO, and Founder at Kodit.io, explains how he went about founding Kodit.io and how his company is being a lifesaver for many new property owners and sellers. You can also listen to the full-length interview here.
Q: Who is Kalle and how did you become an entrepreneur?
“I have been an entrepreneur for my whole professional career.”
Besides owning other companies in the past and moving into new challenges, Kalle also shares some of his time as an investor and a family man. He majored in entrepreneurship at the Helsinki School of Economics and started his first company ten years ago.
Q: How was kodit.io founded and what were your motivations to start the company?
“When buying a new home 2 years ago, I found the process to be a real pain: time-consuming, money consuming and really frustrating at times. It got me thinking with my business partner, Martti, of whether it would be possible to create a service that would simply eliminate all inconveniences in the process. ”
Through his development in his professional career and on a personal level (buying his own home), Kalle was able to get first hands-on experience of the real estate industry, competitors abroad, and what were the real pain points when buying or selling a home. When he bought a new home two years ago, it was the painful process that was the eye-opening moment for him and his partner Matti, to start working on a solution that could eliminate some of the pain points. The company was started officially in July 2017, and the service was launched last year in later November.
Q: What is Kodit.io and what happens in the backend when someone utilizes your platform?
“We are building an AI-powered real estate data platform, where we monitor the housing market on a micro level and in real time. We have access to public and private data sources, and also proprietary data that we collect. “
With Kodit.io you can buy and sell a home. When selling a home, Kodit.io valuation tool can give an estimated amount of a home’s market price, and after conducting onsite inspections, kodit.io will calculate a final offer. In the backend, together with all the data kodit.io gathers, they have over 200 real estate agents utilizing their valuation tools, which also provides additional data when using the tool, which results in more accurate valuations that are then provided to customers. Kalle explained, that while it is important to come up with a current and accurate valuation for a home, it is as important to find out the full value potential of a specific unit to be able to know what the full value will be after modifications/renovations are done to the unit.
Q: What has been the biggest milestone so far?
“The first real milestone was when we got the MVP (minimum viable product) version of our service out when we soft-launched in November last year. ”
Kodit.io second biggest milestone was when they reached 100 customers they had helped, either by buying or selling their home, which also helped them have a strong proof of concept. However, news broke a few days ago about them landing their latest funding round of 1.7 million-euro led by Speedinvest, Schibsted and supported by Icebreaker.vc.
Q: How do you handle competition?
“We are the only player with whom you can get a direct offer on your home and really get it done. ”
Kalle admits, that technology wise, they are the only player in the Finnish market doing what they do, but that they continue to compete indirectly with all the other traditional ways to sell and buy a home. If we leave the Finnish borders, they do have some competition in the US, but in Europe, they are the leading AI real estate buyer.
Q: How do you keep yourself motivated and is there someone you look up to?
“I look up to all the great entrepreneurs of our time. Especially entrepreneurs with big visions like Richard Branson or very unique and special individuals like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos who are very intelligent on any metric and they also have the largest visions. ”
For Kalle staying motivated after so many years of being a serial entrepreneur, is about seeing things happening. To him is all about executing and delivering, which fascinates him because there is no gap to reach or corporate politics, it’s all about him and the team, plus a “sky is the limit” type of mindset.
Q: What has been the uttermost best thing in all your journey?
“I think the best thing is to see those companies grow and when you see some of those companies become a small institution that has a life of their own. ”
Some of the companies Kalle started, nowadays are not dependent on him but he mainly acts as an owner. Those situations led him to be able to jump into new opportunities, which on a personal level he considers this to be the best way to get a very fast personal development.
Q: What has been the biggest learning curve?
“I think it is a combination of hundreds and thousands of small things that you need to do right, but of course, focusing on talent is one of those. As long as you get the best talent in you will most likely succeed. ”
Kalle commented that with startups the case is always that you need to think very early on to prove a strong business model where you truly create value and are confident on how to monetize it. His emphasis on creating something that really has the ability to touch people’s lives significantly was quite strong because he has seen startups in which the product or service had almost an insignificant improvement to people’s lives, which doesn’t really justify its existence in the end.
Q: What’s next in the agenda for kodit.io?
“We are looking to expand into new cities in Europe. The next cities are most likely to be located in either Spain or Poland .”
After their latest seed funding round, Kodit.io will be expanding to new markets, but firstly they will gather data of the locations and conduct an analysis to see which city will get all the pieces together first. Recruiting for data science talent and building the model and technology further are on the agenda as well.
Kodit.io (Homerun Technologies Ltd) is a PropTech startup and the leading iBuyer in the Europe providing instant offers for apartment owners. Our mission is to make buying and selling homes easier. We have developed the world’s most accurate AI-powered real estate data platform and the revolutionary Kodit.io service concept redefining how people sell and buy homes.