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How to Solve Europe’s Growing Affordable Housing Issue? This Greek Startup Raises €2M to Offer a Solution

Greek proptech startup Protio raised €2M in pre-seed funding, with capital from international and Greek investment funds and Neogen Capital leading the round. 
Image credit: Protio
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 • Greek proptech startup Protio raised €2M in pre-seed funding, with capital from international and Greek investment funds and Neogen Capital leading the round. 

 • Angel investor and co-founder of Google Maps Lars Rasmussen, Genesis Ventures and crowdinvesting plattform Seedblink also participated in the round together with twenty more angel investors, coming from Greece, Germany, Switzerland and India.

 • The latest funding helped Protio unveil its innovative apartment investment platform and a new service that according to the company is here to change the real estate industry in Greece. 

Founded in 2021, Protio has so far achieved continuous growth, a team of 10 people and looking forward to developing the next phase of the company, which includes significantly increasing their customer base.

For Protio’s CEO Antonios Fiorakis, the startup’s main mission is how to solve affordable housing, which is one of Europe’s growing problems. 

“We were impressed when we realized that, for every ten families looking for a decent place to rent, there is only one home available. After decades of urbanization, our cities have turned into concrete jungles of old and energy inefficient apartments, which remain exactly the same as they were 40-50 years ago. Inspired by the need to help in making our life better, finding a sustainable, technological solution became a priority,” Fiorakis tells The Recursive. 

The real estate markets in Southeast Europe share some common characteristics, as the extremely high homeownership has created very fragmented markets that are difficult to navigate. 

In addition, old buildings have not been reconstructed, nor renovated and are energy inefficient, Fiorakis explains, adding that the transition process is complex and time-consuming, making it difficult for individuals to either sell their property or invest in apartments. 

Investment in rental homes in Athens is estimated around €2.6 billion for 2021, while the total equivalent for other European capitals is estimated to be worth €150 billion. At the same time, demand for sustainable, affordable and entry-level homes is continuously growing across all European capitals, with a noticeable structural undersupply of homes.

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The new business models in Proptech

This is where Protio comes in – the investment platform for apartments helps owners sell their property in an easy and hassle-free way and enables investors to get income effortlessly from an investment apartment. 

For property owners, the process is simple and does not involve any bureaucratic procedures. Through the platform they can request an offer to put their apartment up for sale. As a result of Protio’s technology, the proprietary algorithm evaluates all the information and informs the owner within 24 hours of the sale value. Following this step, a single visit to the property is enough, and Protio is responsible for the rest of the process.

“Qualified investors through our proptech platform, simply select the deal they prefer and Protio is responsible for coordinating the process. Starting from the acquisition of the property, organizing the renovation and coordinating the property management, Protio prepares everything on behalf of the investor in a digital-first way. Following the apartment’s renovation, Protio can secure the investor’s rental income for the first year,” Fiorakis tells The Recursive. 

While Protio is currently focusing on Athens, the Greek startup also believes that there is a great opportunity for cities with similar characteristics around Europe.

“We want to make investing in real estate a seamless experience for everyone involved. For investors, sellers, tenants and agents. The markets lack information transparency and the selling process is full of friction, taking on average more than 90 days to complete a transaction for first-time home sellers or buyers, without including the renovation and tenant finding process.” Fiorakis explains.

For Romania-based Neogen Capital, investing in Protio has also proven to be a great opportunity to enter the Greek startup ecosystem.

It is a great opportunity for us to invest in a venture that has a socio-economic footprint and is so promising for the future of Athens and our cities around the world. Protio is our first investment in a Greek start-up and we are pleased to meet such a strong team that will offer an absolutely new future to the Real Estate industry,” Calin Fusu, Partner at Neogen Capital, said.

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As Fiorakis points out, real estate has always been the favorite asset class for investment in Greece and homeownership has been maintained at around 75%, composing a major economic driver for its economy. 

The rental market has presented strong growth in recent years with Athens residential rents increasing 30.0% from 2017 to 2021 and continuous growth in the first half of 2022.  

All of this is also very exciting for Protio and the further development of its products and services, Fiorakis added.

“It is evident that there is strong tailwind for proptech services in developed markets and new proptech business models are becoming more and more asset light, so we do expect the market to mature with digital transformation and become more lean and more efficient.” Fiorakis concludes.

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Bojan is The Recursive’s Western Balkans Editor, covering tech, innovation, and business for more than a decade. He’s currently exploring blockchain, Industry 4.0, AI, and is always open to covering diverse and exciting topics in the Western Balkans countries. His work has been featured in global media outlets such as Foreign Policy, WSJ, ZDNet, and Balkan Insight.