Giorgio Tinacci graduated in International Management at Bocconi and Honk Kong University of Science and Technology in 2015. He joined BCG where he worked for 2 years with a focus on digital transformation projects in banking, insurance, and industrial goods.
Giorgio left BCG in September 2017 and founds Casavo (of which is CEO) with the vision to develop a tech-enabled market maker in the residential real estate space, by purchasing property in 30 days and taking the risk of finding a final buyer.
Within a 20-month period, Casavo completed 100+ real estate transactions, investing €30M+ and going from 1 to 40 employees, becoming the leading European platform in the space. Thanks to this traction, the company has had the support of venture capital funds and top-level backers, whose investments allowed Tinacci to collect almost €50M between equity and debt, making Casavo one of the Italian scaleups that has received more investments in such a short period of time.
Among the stakeholders that decided to support Giorgio Tinacci’s vision we find Project A Ventures, Picus Capital, 360 Capital Partners, Kervis Asset Management, Drago Family Office (shareholders of De Agostini), Boost Heroes (holding company led by Fabio Cannavale) and Marco Pescarmona (chairman and founder of the MutuiOnline group).
For the time being, Casavo is operating in Milan, Rome, Turin, and Florence and has the goal to cover the main Italian metropolitan areas before spreading throughout Southern Europe in 2020.
Read on to know more about Giorgio Tinacci and how he built a scalable and successful business.
Please tell me about your personal background, and what are you working on currently?
Giorgio Tinacci: I am, first of all, passionate about innovation!
I graduated from Bocconi University in Milan, where I hold a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in International Management. After graduating, I joined BCG, one of the leading companies in Management Consulting, where I worked for more than a year. After that, I founded Casavo, the first Instant Buyer in Italy. After the validation of the business model and the growth in Italy, we’re now focusing on expanding the business both with new services and in new countries.
What motivated you to get started with your company?
Giorgio Tinacci: At BCG, I had a well-defined career path, but I decided to face the risk and to jump into a new adventure – and I don’t regret it. I have always been passionate about real estate and, analyzing the Italian market, I saw an enormous potential for disruption. In Italy, selling a house is very complicated and stressful. I envisioned a market where technology could help consumers in their selling process.
How have you attracted users and grown your company from the start?
Giorgio Tinacci: As I said, the sellers’ difficulties in finding a buyer made our solution very interesting for them. The market reacted positively to our positioning and since day one we were able to gain consumers’ trust as well as collaborating with real estate agencies. In the first months, we tested our business model and we finalized the first transactions (15 in less than six months).
What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue? What strategy worked best?
Giorgio Tinacci: The concept of an Instant Buyer is relatively new but is quickly gaining traction across Europe. In a process that could potentially take several months (up to 7 months, according to the latest researches), Casavo will take the property off your hands within a couple of days, allowing the seller to move into their new house. Our purchase offers are made to sellers within 48 hours, allowing them to sell in a matter of days. The offer is based on a maximum of two home visits. The service is free, but an average 8% discount is applied to the purchase offers when compared to the market price. To increase our revenues, we are not only working on increasing the volume of transactions, but we are improving our property evaluation tools and our financial structure to make more competitive offers on the market.
How much money (funding) have you raised in total so far? When was the recent funding round?
Giorgio Tinacci: In two years, we have raised €100M in equity and debt, the largest funding in two years in Italy. Our Series B round, completed at the beginning of October 2019, provides us with €50M of fresh equity and debt.
How do you decide when to go out for fund-raising? What were the internal decision processes in determining when to begin fund-raising, and what were the logistics for this?
Giorgio Tinacci: For this round, we were not expecting to finalize it so early, only 8 months after our Series A. We planned to start our fundraising for Series B at the end of 2019. But, when we met Greenoaks, the leading investor for this round, we saw the potential for a new round and the opportunities of growth that this provides.
How many investors have you met so far and which among them have invested in your past funding rounds? And how long does it take on average to finalize each funding round?
Giorgio Tinacci: Because we have been directly contacted by Greenoaks before the start of our fundraising, for this round we only had an extensive and solid conversation with them. However, in the past months, we met many other investors interested in the project, I would say around 80 – the latest round mainly saw our previous investors joining and supporting as again, plus Greenoaks.
We’ve been fundraising for around 4 months, from July to October 2019, when we closed with Greenoaks Capital, our leading investors for the round.
How did you meet these investors and which channels worked best for you?
Giorgio Tinacci: We have a very strong network of potential investors who are introduced to us, most of the time, by our current investors. At the same time, we realized that we got contacted directly by several investors who have a strong thesis on this specific space.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles in the process of fund-raising? If you had to start over, what would you do differently? (Your insight or advice on this would be very helpful for startups)
Giorgio Tinacci: I think that the fundraising process is structurally long due to the VC space investment strategy, still you can make it more efficient and push it to the lower boundary of that time span by – (i) prioritizing investors leads; (ii) plan logistics efficiently; (iii) front-load due diligence (both commercial and legal) efforts.
What are your milestones for the next round? and what are your goals for the future?
Giorgio Tinacci: To grow, we need to satisfy what consumers want or what they don’t even know they want, by committing ourselves even more to simplify the real estate market: this funding will serve to strengthen this paradigm. This will mean serving new customers, penetrating the Italian real estate market even more (more cities in the next months) and offering new services. But not only that: this round allows us to cross the borders we have had so far, by expanding abroad with the aim to become the leader platform for instant buying in Southern Europe.
You can follow Giorgio Tinacci here.
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