Virgil, a Paris-based mortgage startup, has raised 2.1 million euros in funding. The investors were Alven Capital, LocalGlobe and Kima Ventures.
Paris, November 27th, 2019 – Despite record low mortgage rates, it has become harder than ever to become a homeowner. In Paris, the price per sqm has increased by 150%1 since 2000 while disposable incomes have remained static. Without a substantial contribution from the family, becoming a homeowner requires impossible compromises: buying too small, too far away, or not buying at all. Nevertheless, 89%2 of French people over 25 consider that becoming a homeowner is a priority. And with good reason: in barely three years, savings on rent pay back transaction fees. Virgil, founded by Keyvan Nilforoushan and Saskia Fiszel (formerly at onefinestay), is breaking this stone ceiling by providing young professionals the necessary deposit to access a property that truly meets their needs. This is a first in the French property world. The fintech raised 2.1 million euros from Alven Capital, LocalGlobe and Kima Ventures to support its development.
Virgil boosts the deposit to avoid compromises on home size or location.
Virgil provides young professionals the necessary deposit to buy an apartment that really meets their needs. It’s not a loan, it’s equity. Virgil can provide up to 100 k€ per transaction. For a 10% contribution, Virgil will own 15% of the apartment. The acquirer can sell their apartment at any time, or buy back Virgil’s share after ten years from the date of purchase.
For example: for a 400 k€ property in Paris (i.e. 430 k€ including transaction fees), and a buyer with a 390 k€ borrowing capacity, Virgil would contribute 40 k€, i.e. a 10% contribution, to enable the transaction. Virgil will then own 15% of the apartment for a maximum period of ten years.
Virgil reinvents the entire home acquisition process
Virgil’s support is not just financial. The Virgil team is the acquirer’s best ally: a trusted partner, a source of information and an outside reference. All as part of a fluid, digital purchasing process.
The team has also launched Spoune, a media for the Virgil community, tackling with each issue a different finance-related question, giving your professionals the tools they need to widen their options in life.
Goal: 5,000 transactions between now and 2021
To support its growth, the business is raising 2.1 million euros from Alven Capital, LocalGlobe, Kima Ventures and well-known business angels: Greg Marsh and Demetrios Zoppos (founders of onefinestay), Oleg Tscheltzoff (serial entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Fotolia), Thibaud Elzière (serial entrepreneur, at the head of eFounders), Augusta (Patrick Sayer). Virgil targets 100 transactions per month by the end of 2020 and 5,000 between now and the end of 2021.
onefinestay’s European team at the head of Virgil
Before launching Virgil, Keyvan and Saskia developed throughout Europeonefinestay, a company which started in London and revolutionised high-end hospitality by providing the services of a five-star hotel in private homes. They created a worldwide benchmark in customer experience quality, bringing together a community of tens of thousands of property owners and travellers. The business was acquired by the Accor group for 150 M€.
Before onefinestay, Keyvan (École Polytechnique and ENSAE) was Managing Director and Partner at NextStage, the French leader in growth capital, which he joined at its inception. He has expert knowledge of the legal and regulatory framework of investment and asset management, as well as the challenges linked to the growth of a regulated business. Saskia (Sciences-Po Paris and ESSEC Business School) honed her skills in marketing, communications and customer experience with Publicis, L’Oréal and Nestlé.
She has expert knowledge of the development of new products as well as the creation and implementation of acquisition strategies with demanding audiences.
“Becoming a homeowner is the first step in building up one’s net worth. We launched Virgil to enable everyone to take this first step in the best possible way” explain Keyvan Nilforoushan and Saskia Fiszel, Virgil’s founders.
About Alven Capital – Founded in 2000, Alven is an independent Parisian venture capital fund with more than $500m in assets under management. Having financed more than 100 start-ups and exited around 40 of them, Alven currently has around fifty companies in its portfolio. Alven notably invested in Algolia, Dataiku, Happn, CaptainTrain, Sézane, and Qonto.
About LocalGlobe – LocalGlobe is a London-based venture capital firm focused on seed investments, primarily in the UK. Backing ambitious founders since 1999 including Transferwise, Zoopla, Improbable, Citymapper, Algolia and Robinhood.
About Kima Ventures – Kima Ventures is the start-up investment arm of Xavier Niel, one of the most active early-stage investors in the world. Kima invests in 100 start-ups per year from Seed to Series A. Based at Station F in Paris, Kima has invested in around 700 start-ups since 2010, including TransferWise, CaptainTrain, Zenly, Payfit, Docker, and Doctrine, providing them with finance, network and support to help them reach the next stage in their development.