Startup Of the Week: tiltus
This week we present a Lithuanian Proptech startup – tiltus. This property technology company takes the process of buying a home to another level. Can someday buying a house be as simple as ordering an Uber? Martinas Eitmonas Brazauskas, the CEO and founder of tiltus shares how they came up with this idea and the big vision behind it.
So what is Tiltus? How does it work?
Our mission is to empower home buyers by simplifying their journey toward the perfect home. For the last three years, we have been doing lots of R&D to find a way to digitize property transactions and simplify the process of buying and selling a home.
Tiltus app is a break-through alternative for the usual process of buying a home. Usually, buyers spend a minute to fill their criteria and then browse the portals every day for months. They have to call each, and every seller and they have no tools to compare the properties whatsoever.
It would look very similar if today we would open a ride-sharing app, browse through the list of all the drivers, read their biographies, and then call the driver to ask if they’re available. As crazy as it sounds, this is the exact way home-buying worked for the last 25 years and we are working tirelessly to change that.
With our mobile app, buyers need to invest a bit more time filling in the forms, but the magic happens later. The app matches the buyer with the right property, based on their interests and preferences. This algorithm is in its very early days, but it is learning fast and will become extremely insightful and helpful.
Our goal was to save the buyer’s time and make all the information visual and easily understandable. It’s easy to compare properties, chat directly with sellers and if you like to see the property with your own eyes, you just press a button and schedule a meeting, and the status of this event will be shown on the app’s home page, so you would see everything in one place.
There is no more endless browsing, phone calls and hassle. As our friends like to joke, “You’re creating a Tinder and Uber for real estate”. It’s kind of true if you think about it.
Right now, we offer access to almost 50 new construction projects in Vilnius and will expand to other types of homes and locations soon.
What are your competitors and competitive advantages?
Our biggest competitors are the old, huge property portals, which were the only option for ages. But calling every seller and browsing for months is not so appealing for a modern-day buyer anymore. This is where smart technologies come in handy.
The core strength of tiltus is our knowledge of the real estate game. We are part of the “mobile” generation ourselves, and we are committed to always put the buyer’s best interest first.
What were the reasons behind coming up with this idea and launching this product?
I started my career in real estate 10 years ago and it took me less than two years to understand that something is fundamentally wrong with the way people buy and sell their homes.
The fact that in the mobile era we still do things exactly like 25 years ago is just wrong. It was obvious that we needed to do something about that. 8 years ago we started our journey with a company called “NT be tarpininkų“ and tiltus is quite an evolution of that idea.
When exactly did you launch, what were the main challenges before launching?
We were almost ready to launch last summer, but then life happened, we ran out of money, debts rose through the roof and we needed to say goodbye to most of the team.
This was a horrible wall-crash. We couldn’t manage to reanimate the company for over 4 months, but then, after hundreds of hours of negotiations, we got a deal with Angel Investors, willing to join our journey and that helped us get to where we are today.
Fortunately, the app is finally live and we have already onboarded 24 property developers, including the most trusted and prominent names in the Lithuanian residential market, such as Citus, Eika, Galio group, Hanner, Omberg, YIT Lietuva and many others, and all these great companies went out of their way to offer their clients a smarter, more interactive way to connect.
Our customers are very similar to ourselves. They’re usually 25-35 year-old innovators, comfortable with mobile applications and managing their entire lives with their smartphones. They are excited about new, smart ways of thinking and doing things.
As we started with the new construction market in Vilnius, we look for the people interested in this particular category of housing in our current phase one.
What are the main challenges while working on this product and how are you overcoming them?
The main challenge is to work for many years on something that doesn’t exist yet. Helping people to understand our vision and mission, finding investors. It’s difficult, but we love it, it’s our biggest passion.
How are you funded? Do you seek extra funding?
In total, we have invested 280k EUR to date, a big part of that was loans from friends and family, Invega loan, and 130k EUR investment from Angel Investors.
At the moment we want to see how the ecosystem will grow organically, but shortly, we will raise a seed round to accelerate growth, grow some muscle for other markets, and keep the services free for the buyers.
Please introduce your founders, your core team and your broader team?
I founded this company together with my mentor and former business partner Leonas Timaitis, who is the strategic advisor to the company. Our tech wizard Kasparas Žutautas joined the founding team later.
Our broader team is 4 part-time people, taking care of the community relations, legal processes and we also have a great outsourced team at “Privacy Partners”, UAB, who help us to ensure strong data protection and privacy measures.
How has the business been so far? Could you share some numbers to illustrate this (users, sales, etc)?
As a marketplace, we started on the supply-side. It was a lot of work, especially, as the model is so new and everyone, including us, had to learn and adapt quickly. The great achievement for the entire ecosystem is that all the developers agreed to standardize property descriptions so that each new construction project in Vilnius would be described in the same way and could be easily translated into any language. This means that, very soon, real matchmaking of properties will be available for buyers on tiltus app, no matter what language they speak.
Future plans, ambitions? Simply speaking – what’s next?
Buyers deserve to find homes that match their personality, lifestyle and where they feel inspired. As the world is becoming exponentially connected, finding a home anywhere in the world has to be a smooth, safe and enjoyable experience.
We are confident that mobile technology will rewrite the rules of the game in the next 5-10 years and we are ecstatic to be able to be a part of that.
Together with all the support, we get from our community of smart home buyers and industry players, we believe, that tiltus has a chance to unite forward thinkers and serve as an open platform for Fintechs, Legaltechs and industry experts working in the residential field with a passion to transform it for the better and bring it to the digital era.
Thank you for the interview!
Find out more interesting stories about Lithuanian startups here.