The entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience gives advice on how to sell and invest in emerging companies.
Martin Schrimpff has co-founded nine startups and sold most of them. Unlike other business owners, he doesn’t have the idea of “passing the business down to his children” in mind and believes that it’s OK to sell when you’re looking for new problems to solve.
He’s been in the entrepreneurial ecosystem for more than 20 years and defines himself as a “fintech dinosaur.”
He founded his first companies when there were no investments. He saw the great venture capital companies arrive in Latin America and understood the world of investment so well that he became an angel investor to 25 startups.
“I don’t create companies to sell. That happens by itself,” he says. In 2002, he created the company PayU, which sells payment methods to Uber, Google, Airbnb, and Microsoft in 16 countries.
It had a turnover of 300 million dollars, and there was no shortage of buyers. However, he decided to sell it in the end.
His latest startup is Kocomo, the smart way to acquire a vacation home through the sharing economy.
Martin’s goal is to create a lot of jobs. That’s why he has co-founded nine fintech companies. “I’m not interested in passing my company on to my children. I want them to find their own way, and that’s the mindset to have,” he says.
He sells his businesses when they are running on their own and the buyer has the same vision and culture.
He invested in PayU for 16 years. “Persistence is everything. It’s the most important aspect of entrepreneurship.”
In his early months as an entrepreneur, he learned the importance of human resources, hiring the right people, motivating the team, and creating a very strong culture and vision within the company.
So, how does one become a company seller? “You should never create a company believing that you’re going to sell it, but if you do things right and the company grows, the buyers will pile up,” the startup seller responds.
Kocomo is the latest startup Martin has created, and it is the first that suits his own needs. “It’s a nightmare to buy a vacation home and be tied up with expenses.”
If you decide to buy a house with four friends, there are problems with administration and paying bills. And if any of the friends want to get out of the project, it complicates it even more.
Kocomo helps the owners co-exist. It allows for up to eight co-owners and a minimum of two. The house is divided into equal shares, and if two don’t have enough to buy, Kocomo buys the rest.
In addition, the platform manages the house, thus dealing with all the problems. “The only thing the owners have to worry about is scheduling the days they’ll be staying there on vacation.”
The company uses the shared economy model, in which you buy a part of the house and you can use it, rent it out, or exchange it for another.
“It’s the smartest way to have your second property,” says Martin. The startup began operating five months ago with an investment of 57 million dollars and already has purchased two properties.
One of the pillars of Martin’s company is transparency. At all times, the interested parties know the price of the property, and the cost of each part is the same plus 12.5% for administration.
If the property goes up in price, the owners are notified. They get the profit and can sell or exchange their share at any time.
“At least 20% of properties that will be used for vacations or in major cities such as London or Paris will have a co-ownership model,” says the businessman.
Martin knows what it is to be an entrepreneur without access to investments. He saw the big investors coming and became an angel investor.
“I love being an angel investor so I can in some way give back to the entrepreneurial ecosystem something of what it has given me,” he says.
“However, the most important thing is always the team because if they’re good they will reinvent themselves. They’ll find each other,” he says.