Join 1363 founders getting motivational stories of how other founders started and grew their online businesses

Loft: Playing a Game of House, on Another Level


In the real estate market, time equals money, but sadly neither can ensure top service. Bureaucratic policies can easily get in the way of proper real estate purchasing. The lack of market fairness and poorly designed real estate plans have sadly sent the property industry down a painstaking path.

Reviving the real estate market was a task creative innovators Mate Pencz and Florian Hagenbuch could tackle seamlessly. Loft was initially created to regain the economic powers of the real estate market. Today, however, it represents an online platform where users can buy, sell, and rent residential and commercial real estate.

With loads of searchable data available at a click, Loft users can browse, locate, rate, compare, and ultimately purchase properties. All based on overall customer feedback,
Loft stands for wholesome business transparency as well as excellence. Here's the story of two ambitious fellows, whose friendship took an expected business turn and resulted in one of the most accomplished property leaders globally!

The Pillars behind Loft

Mate Pencz was originally born in Budapest, Hungary. After the Iron Curtain fell in Berlin, Mate's refugee parents managed to migrate to Germany where they settled for life. Due to the chain of events, Mate had spent the better part of his childhood and adolescence growing up in Southern Germany.

A lot of his formative years were spent in Germany. But then, after Mate's high school days came to a close, his surroundings changed once more. Namely, he decided to pursue a college education in the US. Thanks to his superb grades, Mate was able to score a scholarship at Harvard, where he studied economics. Following college, Mate spent a brief stint in finance and it was during this time that he also met his current co-founder, Florian.

Florian Hagenbuch was also born in Europe and studied business in the US. The two first met at Goldman Sachs during a summer internship. There, Mate and Florian discovered a shared ambition for growing markets and designing sophisticated solutions for each of them.

Following college, both Mate and Florian briefly worked at several private equity firms but felt equally dissatisfied with their careers. One day, Mate and Florian sat down for a business talk and basically iterated the idea of launching a company together. As Florian had a partially Brazillian heritage, the two first decided to establish their idea on South American grounds.

But before they claimed the real estate throne, Mate and Florian had a long way to go.

The Evolution Process

Mate and Florian's creative thinking first began in 2010 and lasted for an entire year. This was also a period when the world was still recuperating from the then-financial crisis. Despite the financial shakeup, both Mate and Florian felt this was the perfect time to leave the idea of joining Wall Street be, and focus on a project of bigger importance. However, before Loft made its market debut, Mate and Florian needed a whetstone project.

Compared to Florian, Mate never spent much time in Brazil. Fortunately for him, he had read a fair amount about the country and noticed that Brazil was among the top three Facebook and Twitter users. This notion left Mate and Florian the room to explore business options, and take action by starting their first company, Printi. When asked about it, Mate defined Printi as a tech-boosted platform for online printing, especially in eCommerce. Eventually, Printi ended up partnering up with Vistaprint, which marked a huge investment for the duo.

After Vistaprint took the business over, Mate and Florian decided to explore the real estate market for viable opportunities, Although unbeknownst to them at the time, this move would pave the way to what's today known as Loft.

Turning to the Real Estate Market

When Mate and Florian created Printi in 2012, they mainly leaned on their gut feeling. However, with Loft, both inventors were far more experienced in the craft and knew exactly what they aimed for. Even so, the real estate market demanded huge research on their part. What that research let Mate and Florian know was that, at the time, it was still extremely transparent and efficient. Another thing they learned about it was that there was almost no technological empowerment to the industry. They took the window of opportunity without hesitation and got to planning, delivery, and execution.

The real challenge of creating Loft was not to succumb to the existing real estate provisions but to find their own angle of work. Relying on the liquidity-upfront-cash-upfront strategy turned out to be quite a fruitful move for the Loft founders. It basically allowed their clientele to sell their apartment or house - fair and square.

The Simplified Loft Method

Loft has a pretty straightforward performance method. It is a platform that reinvents the process of selling and purchasing a home. Mainly operating in Brazil, Loft leverages technological boosters to free its users from bureaucracy and shady business making. With loft, users can sell any type of property, especially apartments, at a drop of a dime. Speaking of dimes, the platform offers the most affordable and competitive prices on the market - whether buying or selling.

Loft users are also welcome to remodel, customize, and renovate the apartment the way they want with the trusting hand of Loft architects. All in all, the platform covers all bases of real estate to ultimately provide its customers with the extent of support and assistance they require.

The Financial Push

Over the years, Loft has had two main investors both of which helped to further stabilize the company. One of them is Syfe, a digital wealth management platform that first invested in Mate and Florian's company in 2019. Loft's second investor is Casai, a startup company, and represents the second most valuable financial pillar of the brand.

Loft also received funding from several other investors that ensured the company always stood on firm legs. Each investment poured into the company was bigger than the one before. With its 12 investors, Monashees invested $18 million in Loft in Jan 2018. In 2019, Fifth Wall raised the bar with an investment of $70 million and another $175 million the following year. The funds that Loft received in March 2021 surpassed all prior sums. Namely, D1 Capital Partners pitched in the company with funding worth $425 million, whereas Baillie Gifford enriched the company by $100 million in April 2021.

What Is to Come for Loft

Today, Loft's HQ is located in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The company counts 700 employees and has a total worth of $2.2 billion. As it's ranked the fifth-in-line service provider out of the top ten, Loft expectedly nurtures grand plans for the future, all yet to be announced. For one, Mate Pencz and Florian Hagenbuch will definitely try to simplify the entire buy-and-sell process even further. Since the company's CEOs like to compare Loft to US's Groupon and Asia's Coupang, they might examine other competitive markets as well.

From where it stands today, Loft is the ultimate real estate hero. It brings buy-and-sell transparency, property validity, and reputability back into fashion. It takes the extra step in presenting its users with a designated app that makes real estate not just easy, but fun as well. Last but not least, Loft does a stellar job of putting the existing yet existential housing market on its knees, and poses itself as a real estate leader that rivals ought to look up to - and learn from!