Dagfinn Edvardsen (r) and Anders Daniel Brekke founded Really! in 2020 (Photo © Shifter.no)
Along with being the gateway to the ocean industries, Greater Bergen houses a thriving ecosystem of tech-based start-ups and scale-ups. Among these is Really!, a fast-growing, firm set on changing the real estate industry.
Really! is a Bergen-based proptech start-up that has created a “digital, smart and sustainable real estate services platform”. The platform matches buyers and sellers of real estate services – such as cleaning, maintenance, renovation and so on. Founded in late 2020, the firm has grown exponentially in less than a year.
“We provide a tech platform that will change property management,” said Stein Opsahl, Chair of the Board for Really! “We will change how the industry buys, sells and follows up on properties, housing associations, condominiums and commercial buildings”.
According to co-founder and CMO Anders Daniel Brekke, an inspiration for the firm was a McKinsey report showing very little digital maturity in the real estate industry.
“The industry is very conservative and lagging behind (in digital maturity), especially when compared to other industries, such as FinTech and media technologies. This insight into how manually driven the industry is, along with (co-founder and CEO) Dagfinn Edvardsen’s knowledge of the industry’s CO2 emissions and inspiration from other industries is what gave us the idea for Really!”.
Within the last decade, Greater Bergen has grown into a foremost hub for tech-based start-ups, having produced several world-leading organisations. This is due, in large part, to its highly skilled talent, digital infrastructure and progressive attitude towards start-ups.
“The perfect thing about Bergen is that it’s big enough for critical mass but small enough to be able to take advantage of the fantastic ecosystem already in place,” said Brekke. He also cited “the digital maturity of the labour force” as another advantage of being in Bergen.
Along with the region’s start-up ecosystem, Brekke also mentioned Proptech Innovation, the region’s real estate and property technologies cluster, as a contributing factor to the firm’s success.
“Norwegian proptech has cultivated a very good reputation outside of Norway. That’s why a lot of investors are looking to the Nordics. There have been a lot of success stories in this realm. Not only has Protech Innovation been a great place to meet interesting people, but it’s also been a good place to get some valuable insight and inspiration needed to reflect on choices made in developing the business”.
Pain Points in Real Estate
“What we found to be the biggest pain point in the industry, for both service suppliers and purchasers, was the time spent on “manual inspections” and agreements,” said Brekke.
He further explained how most suppliers manually inspect properties in order to compile an estimate for their services. He highlighted how time-consuming it is for both the supplier and buyer.
Another pain point has been the lack of digitalisation and innovation within the real estate industry, resulting in low productivity.
Citing the McKinsey report, Brekke explained “real estate is a very old and conservative industry. I think one of the reasons that the industry has been so far behind with digitalisation and productivity growth is that it’s been lucrative enough as it is”.
He added that this lack of standardisation has also led to limitations in transparency and social responsibility.
Stein Opsahl, Chair of the Board, Really! (Photo © Knowit Experience
Opsahl shares this perspective, highlighting how the industry relies on “gut feelings” and a “this-is-how-we-have-always-done-it” approach.
“The real estate industry needs more than smart buildings. It also needs smart solutions”.
How it works
According to Opsahl, Really! functions as more than just a computerised marketplace.
“The platform is smart, fully digital and will ensure a competitive and sustainable future for everyone who operates in real estate”.
Opsahl cited three key areas where the Really! platform has made a positive impact:
- The environment, through the platform’s smart solutions that interface with smart buildings. This allows both suppliers and customers to optimize and save on water and electricity consumption
- Social sustainability, through the promotion of fair labour practices and equal opportunities for all suppliers
- Corporate governance, through ensuring employee rights, standardized invoicing, and overall transparency
According to Brekke, within its first three weeks of operation, Really! had managed to acquire 14 independent suppliers, who further helped in better shaping the firm and its services. Ironically, he cited the real estate industry’s conservativism as a factor for this initial success.
“They (buyers and sellers) are always looking at what their competitors are doing. So, if one of their competitors is using Really! as a platform, it gives credibility to the platform and starts a domino effect where suddenly everyone wants a piece of the action”.
Having grown immensely in less than a year, Really! has no intention of slowing down. With NOK 13 million in funding already secured, they are now looking to raise an additional NOK 20-30 million for international expansion.
“When we started this, we had two ambitions; build a billion-dollar business and set a new standard for how to build start-ups in Norway,” said Brekke. “Unicorn status is definitely one of our motivators”.
Moreover, this growth has demonstrated both its value as a platform and the value it contributes to the real estate industry as a whole.
“I think it shows that we’ve hit a nerve in the industry and that this is something that the industry wanted, without really knowing”.
Are you interested in setting up a new company in the Greater Bergen region? If so, you could receive crucial support from Invest in Bergen.
Our organisation can provide information, introductions to useful contacts, and even help you to find your ideal business location in Greater Bergen. If you’re interested in these services, simply get in touch with us today.