Consolidating itself as a reliable partner for the real estate market, Setle has just scored a fresh investment of €1.5 million. The startup gives a realistic picture of the cost of sustainable renovations, making house hunting more transparent.
House hunting comes with a lot of things to think about – one of the biggest obstacles to overcome is of course the cost. And this cost only escalates when renovations come into play. Often, many house hunters fall in love with a dream home only to find the cost of the renovations to be a massive blow.
Setle, a Belgian-based startup, lets users know almost instantly what it costs to renovate a home – giving estate agents more reliable and credible information that they can share with prospective buyers.
Thibaut Nivelles, CEO of Setle: “As the saying goes, “every Belgian is born with a brick in their stomach”. The family home is still the biggest household expense each month. The sharp rise in energy prices and the growing importance of a sustainable energy transition don’t always make it easy for those looking to build or buy their own home to see the wood for the trees. At Setle, our aim is to help people who are buying or renovating their home to make the right decisions in the renovation process.”
The proptech startup has just announced a raise of €1.5 million for its platform. The investment was led by KBC and marks a new partnership between the bank and the startup.
Thibaut Nivelles: “We are delighted that KBC, which boasts the best mobile banking app in the world and has a clear focus on sustainability, will be supporting us in the further development of our business.”
Founded in 2020, Setle’s online platform gives a realistic picture of the cost of (sustainable) renovations on top of the purchase price – giving users comprehensive support before they make a massive financial commitment.
With a clear breakdown of costs and a user-friendly interface, the tool makes searching for the ideal home more efficient and transparent for both estate agents and potential buyers.
Using Setle’s real-time digital solution, estate agents who pay an annual license fee can give individuals (buyers and renovators) a real-time insight into the total cost of the property they have in mind, including estimates of renovation costs, costs of making the property more sustainable, improving the energy label rating and energy consumption, obtaining potential subsidies and grants, and benchmarking quotes from contractors. This detailed renovation report, which includes a very detailed set of specifications, allows estate agents to take a good deal of worry from their clients’ shoulders.
Estate agents can also suggest alternative properties which, based on Setle’s renovation estimate (including subsidies and grants), might be a more interesting proposition for the prospective buyer as an overall investment. The report is accepted by KBC Bank as well as other banks, as part of the loan application process.
For prospective builders and renovators, there are benefits as well. They can view the going rates for all applicable renovation works and can easily calculate the cost of renovating the property they have in mind. This also means they have a good benchmark against which to check the rates charged by their contractor.
Karin Van Hoecke, Innovation Manager at KBC Group’s Belgium Business Unit: “The transition to sustainable energy will have a fundamental impact on the whole of society. For private individuals, the main focus of the transition is their home. They sometimes don’t know where to start and above all have lots of questions when it comes to buying a home, carrying out renovations, improving the insulation or keeping energy bills affordable.”
Building up the platform
Based in Limburg, Setle is currently used by more than 425 estate agents and counts around 10 team members. This new funding will be used to expand the platform, and give KBC Bank customers a worry-free approach to sustainable renovation. Setle and KBC will also be starting a number of pilot projects in the autumn.
Karin Van Hoecke added: “As a bank-insurer, financing and insuring people’s homes is a core task for KBC. In recent years, however, we have also enabled our customers to enjoy the benefits that come from our partnerships with third parties that go beyond purely financial services. Examples include group buying schemes (through our Deals service) or the ability to compare energy prices (via ‘Mijnenergie.be’ in KBC Press Release Page 2 of 3 Mobile). The investment in Setle is the next step in ensuring maximum convenience for our customers when they renovate their homes and make them more energy-efficient. We see that customers are looking for solutions that make their lives easier, and we recognise Setle’s potential in this regard. We believe in Setle’s strong team and excellent solutions that seamlessly meet our customers’ challenges and contribute to a total solution and experience for them.”