9 episodes

20/20 Vision shares the lives, careers, experiences and professional wisdom of the industry innovators and leaders shaping the future of residential real estate. Hosted by Guy Westlake, founder of Lavanda (www.getlavanda.com).

20/20 Vision: the future of residential real estate Guy Westlake

    • Technology

20/20 Vision shares the lives, careers, experiences and professional wisdom of the industry innovators and leaders shaping the future of residential real estate. Hosted by Guy Westlake, founder of Lavanda (www.getlavanda.com).

    S2E4 - Vivi Cahyadi Himmel and Karolina Saviova, co-founders of AltoVita

    S2E4 - Vivi Cahyadi Himmel and Karolina Saviova, co-founders of AltoVita

    Vivi Cahyadi Himmel and Karolina Saviova, co-founders of AltoVita, share their journey in real estate and travel tech with Guy Westlake, founder of Lavanda.

    Vivi Cahyadi Himmel is CEO and Co-Founder of AltoVita. Having started out working in Asset Management for Credit Suisse and Lehman Brothers, and having had to relocate to multiple cities including New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and London for work, she became acutely aware of the challenges around relocation.  In 2018 she launched AltoVita with co-founder Karolina Saviova in 2018 to disrupt legacy practices in corporate housing by bringing forward a technology-first solution paired with duty of care. Vivi is listed on the 2021 Global Mobility Top 100. Outside of AltoVita, she’s also an angel investor and a Limited Partner in several UK venture capital funds.


    Karolina Saviova is COO and Co-Founder of AltoVita. Born in Prague, Karolina worked for a consultancy in Brussels and then went on to become a business journalist in the energy sector travelling across Turkey, Indonesia, India, and Gabon. It was as a journalist that Karolina became tired of the issues that came with corporate travel and felt inspired to change the sector for the better. Karolina is passionate about delivering dynamic hospitality and it was this that led her to co-found AltoVita alongside Vivi in 2018. Karolina was named a "Rising Star" in the 2021 Shortyz Awards. 


    About AltoVita

    AltoVita powers the corporate accommodation sector with enterprise software coupled with a human-centric approach that provides every business traveller with exactly what they need.

    AltoVita’s award-winning technology creates a cloud-based bridge between the highly fragmented property distribution system and Global 2000 companies, SMEs, and business travellers. The fully customisable platform reduces the legacy 48-to-72-hour bidding process down to a few minutes, providing instant access to a diverse network of 1 million+ housing options worldwide – including serviced apartments, professionally managed homes, aparthotels, and co-living – with the ability to sort by desired amenities, pet friendliness, sustainability scores, and more. All properties are fully vetted and verified to provide duty of care and compliance, backed by an extensive Four-Tier Quality Control system.

    AltoVita’s fast-growing global footprint currently spans 165 countries and 1,238 cities. They are headquartered in London, with regional offices in Singapore and Dallas, TX. For more information visit altovita.com


    In this episode Vivi and Karolina share:

    How they both met and came up with the idea for AltoVita.
    Where AltoVita sits as an OTA vis-à-vis Airbnb, Booking.com and VRBO
    The problems faced by corporate travel buyers when booking accommodation, and how AltoVita solves them.
    The various challenges AltoVita has encountered in aggregating the business accommodation supply chain.
    Why extended stays are a different market segment to short-term rentals.
    How smart, proactive vetting of the accommodation has led incident rates to drop to 0.5%.
    Why sustainability is becoming a key factor for travel buyers when selecting accommodation - and how AltoVita is embracing this.
    The role of technology within AltoVita, and their technology vision.
    How co-creation with their target audience of travel buyers has been a key factor in finding product market fit.
    How they are taking steps to set a new benchmark with regards to equality, diversity and inclusion in tech.

    • 40 min
    S2E3 - Cem Savas, Co-founder and CEO of Plentific

    S2E3 - Cem Savas, Co-founder and CEO of Plentific

    Cem Savas is Co-Founder and CEO of Plentific, the award-winning digital property management platform backed by Highland Europe, Brookfield, Mubadala, RXR Digital Ventures, A/O Proptech and Target Global. Plentific empowers housing providers to streamline operations and improve the resident experience, unlocking operational cost savings with an end-to-end work order management solution powered by a marketplace of vetted trade professionals.


    Cem came to proptech having harboured a family passion for real estate from a young age. After embarking on a promising career in corporate finance, he and Co-founder Emry Kazan eventually decided to follow their hearts and set up their own property development business. As they struggled with the challenges of scaling their new venture, they came up with the idea of Plentific, founding the company back in 2012.


    About Plentific

    Plentific is an all-in-one delivery platform for property maintenance, trusted by companies like L&Q, Peabody, and Notting Hill Genesis to manage around 700,000 properties across the UK, Germany and USA. The platform streamlines repairs, compliance, resident and voids management, providing instant insight into the health of a property portfolio. For more information please visit www.plentific.com


    In this episode Cem shares:

    How he came up with the idea for Plentific with co-founder Emry Kazan.
    How the company pivoted from servicing smaller landlords to focusing on large enterprise clients.
    How he manages his family and work-life balance whilst running a global scale-up.
    The challenges of hiring 100+ people a year, and the learnings that come from having done it.
    His experience of raising $100m in growth capital at the height of the pandemic.
    The importance of company vision and culture, and how he handles the growing challenge of employee retention.
    Why startup CEOs have to evolve to meet the changing needs of their business and team.
    The overwhelming importance of hiring people who are better than you.
    How he approaches KPIs, forecasting and performance management as the business scales.
    How Plentific is approaching inorganic growth via M&A.
    Why proptech entrepreneurs benefit from operational industry experience, and why the size of their addressable market is all important.
    Why companies should pivot as much and as often as necessary.

    • 34 min
    S2E2 - Jon Slavet, CEO of Sentral

    S2E2 - Jon Slavet, CEO of Sentral

    Jon Slavet is CEO at Sentral, the proptech innovator building the world’s largest flexible living community, backed by Iconiq Capital. Jon leads a team of top-flight executives from across the hospitality, multifamily and tech industries, and together they are working to redefine how people live, travel, and work. Jon has spent his career operating at the intersection of technology, real estate and consumer lifestyle - from start-up to scale-up. Prior to Sentral, Jon co-led the US business at WeWork, and previously held executive positions spanning media, direct to consumer and technology. Jon is a trusted advisor to several start-ups, father of three, and a graduate of Dartmouth College.


    About Sentral

    Sentral is redefining home by building a more flexible and connected way to live, travel and work. Sentral invites individuals to LIVE and STAY for any length of time in amenity-rich buildings within many of the most vibrant neighbourhoods across the USA. Sentral is creating a global community of modern adventurers with the freedom to monetize their homes, explore their passion for travel, and live life on their own terms. For more information visit www.sentral.com or follow @SentralLife.


    In this episode Jon shares:

    Sentral’s vision to “redefine home” by building the world’s largest network of flexible and connected communities.
    Why living, travel and work will never be the same - and why flexible living is the future.
    What he learnt working alongside Adam Neumann, founder of WeWork.
    Hos experience launching and building a business backed by Iconiq Capital, Highgate Hotels, Ascendant Capital and Bozzuto.
    Why he wants nothing to do with master leasing
    How he’s optimizing Sentral for direct and corporate bookings.
    How he structures a geographically distributed, remote leadership team and how he brings people together to collaborate.
    Who he sees as potential competitors within the flexible living ecosystem
    Sentral’s global growth plans.
    The technology gaps that entrepreneurs who are passionate about flexible living should tackle.

    • 38 min
    S2E1 - Brad Hargreaves, Founder & CEO of Common

    S2E1 - Brad Hargreaves, Founder & CEO of Common

    Brad Hargreaves, Founder & CEO of Common, shares his journey in real estate and proptech.

    • 39 min
    Faisal Butt, Founder & CEO of Pi Labs, Europe's first and most active proptech VC

    Faisal Butt, Founder & CEO of Pi Labs, Europe's first and most active proptech VC

    Faisal Butt, Founder & CEO of Pi Labs, Europe’s most active proptech VC, shares his journey in proptech and venture capital with Guy Westlake.


    Faisal is founder and CEO of Pi Labs, which he launched in 2015 after leading the first round of investment into PropTech start-ups Hubble and Trussle as an individual investor. The Pi Labs team have since built a portfolio of over 55 proptech companies across Europe, North America, and Asia. Alongside Pi Labs Faisal is also founder of Spire Ventures, a personal investment vehicle investing in more traditional property companies. After graduating from UCLA in Business Economics and Computing, Faisal left California in 2008 to study for an MBA at Oxford University’s Said Business School. Today he lives with his family in London.


    About Pi Labs

    Pi Labs is Europe’s first and most active proptech focused VC having built a portfolio of 55+ companies globally since its launch in 2015. The firm is committed to backing the next generation of proptech entrepreneurs by investing in pre-seed to Series A early-stage ventures that are shaping the future of our built world. This mission has seen Pi Labs invest in various leading proptech businesses including Landtech, OfficeApp, Hubble and many more. Pi Labs also runs a world-leading annual 15-week accelerator designed specifically for a carefully selected group of proptech startups solving the property industry’s biggest challenges. For more information visit www.pilabs.co.uk


    In this episode Faisal shares:

    - How he caught the entrepreneurial bug when he was 25 years old and what he learned from his first ecommerce startup.

    - How an MBA at Oxford University created an opportunity to work alongside celebrated British entrepreneur (and ex-Dragon’s Den star) James Caan.

    - How early investments in Hubble and Trussle led him to develop the core investment thesis for Pi Labs.

    - UK success story Landtech’s stellar journey to becoming one of Europe’s leading proptech startups.

    - The research-led rationale behind Pi Labs' core investment themes: future of work, construction technology (ConTech), future of real estate investment management and the emerging vertical of legal tech.

    - How the Pi Labs portfolio performed during the pandemic, the glut of investment opportunities in the market right now and the challenges faced by investors.

    - What makes a successful proptech entrepreneur and the key traits that Pi Labs looks for when making an investment.

    - The leading role played by VCs in seeding and promoting diversity & inclusion within real estate, and what Pi Labs is doing to make an impact.

    • 42 min
    Sarah Liu, VP at Fifth Wall - the world's leading proptech VC

    Sarah Liu, VP at Fifth Wall - the world's leading proptech VC

    Sarah Liu, VP at leading proptech venture capital firm Fifth Wall, shares her journey in VC and proptech with Guy Westlake.


    Sarah Liu is a Vice President on the US Real Estate Technology Investment team at Fifth Wall, where she leads much of the work on deals across the residential, construction, and transaction spaces. Prior to joining Fifth Wall, Sarah worked at McKinsey in San Francisco where her work spanned Financial Services, TMT, and Retail and included private equity due diligence, M&A strategy, and corporate transformations. Sarah was born in Shenyang, China, grew up in Toronto and currently lives in Austin, TX. She graduated summa cum laude and Beta Gamma Sigma from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.


    About Fifth Wall

    Founded in 2016 and based in Los Angeles, Fifth Wall is the largest venture capital firm focused on technology-driven innovation for the global real estate industry. A certified B Corporation with approximately $2.5 billion in commitments and capital under management, Fifth Wall connects many of the world’s largest owners and operators of real estate with the entrepreneurs who are redefining the future of the “built world”. Fifth Wall is backed by a strategic consortium of more than 70+ corporate investors from 15 countries - representing one of the largest groups of potential partners in the global “built world” ecosystem and providing a framework for game-changing investments and collaborations with promising portfolio companies. Focus sectors include retail, residential and multi-family, commercial, industrial, hospitality amongst others. For more information visit www.fifthwall.com.


    In this episode Sarah shares:

    - How her experience at McKinsey equipped her for a career in venture capital.

    - How as a VC she gets professional fulfilment working alongside inspiring entrepreneurs who are shaping the future of the planet

    - The personality traits and characteristics that make a great VC, and the challenges of hiring during a pandemic.

    - The similarities between proptech and fintech, and why big valuations and exits (like Stripe) are only ~5 years away.

    - The “paradigm shifts” that have occurred over the last year, and the sectors/technologies that have most benefited.

    - Key learnings arising from the pandemic - including the fundamental flaws of the “master lease” model and the hybrid future of work.

    - The primary reasons why proptech entrepreneurs fail.

    - The very sad state of equality, diversity & inclusion in venture capital, real estate and technology, and her recommendations for how companies can make measurable progress.

    - What it means to be a B Corporation.

    - Her advice for other women aspiring to build a career in venture capital.

    - Shouts out to Fifth Wall portfolio companies Assignar, Industrious, Notarize and Blend

    • 47 min

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