If you can think it, you can do it! An investor interview with Susanne Gulz
Thinkers are indispensable for our world, but what we think needs to be implemented. This requires doers and shapers. A symbiosis of these three often produces wonderful things. Susanne Gulz has united all of this and founded the agency Denkbar about three years ago.
We also meet there on a Wednesday morning for a detailed interview. The reception is warm and you have the feeling of being with friends. Before we even press the record button of our recorder, Susanne tells us a lot about her former times in various event agencies, how she got to know Milan Zahradnik and the resulting cooperation. Quickly we find commonalities and overlaps, but before time stops us, we press the red button and the interview takes its course!
PROPSTER: What was Susanne Gulz’s professional dream in her youth and how did it finally come to the foundation of the agency Denkbar.
Susanne Gulz: As a young girl one has usually felt 80 billion different career aspirations in one’s head, such as veterinary surgeon or gorilla researcher to name but 2. In fact, I took a number of detours to study business administration and finished it. During my time in the event and agency scene, it turned out that I feel at home in the service sector, and I have also built up a relatively large network. It was conceivably founded on the principle that I no longer needed a supervising agency and that my father as a property developer would have liked to have had his own. This is especially conceivable because we thought that if the agency didn’t work out, we would open a bar and have the logo ready (laughs). No, seriously, that was more like Plan Z. I think a lot and my colleagues Tarik and Alina implement all this in the end, based on the motto: “If it’s conceivable, then it’s feasible”. We have specialized in the real estate sector, but we are open for many other things.
PROPSTER: What was the main reason for investing in Propster?
Susanne Gulz: I made the decision together with my father, who has been in the property development and brokerage business for a long time. My father was passionate about the idea Milan had. As an experienced property developer, my father knew how important the topic of special requests is and how much money is in it and especially how much money can be lost due to the fact that the special request processing was always considered a pain point. The enthusiasm was great and we absolutely wanted to be part of it.
PROPSTER: And how important was the personality of Milan Zahradnik?
Susanne Gulz: I have known Milan for many years, especially from the time when he successfully managed the Crevo agency. He shows a certain common sense and has an entrepreneurial mindset. He always takes risks, but he always gives you stability, he has the right touch and is well thought-out. The idea was a good one and Milan was always open to suggestions and criticism from outside and yet he went his own way. He practically demanded the most diverse opinions and that ultimately inspired my father and me and moved us to make the investment.
PROPSTER: Where do you see the future of Propster?
Susanne Gulz: Clearly world domination (laughs). Well, I have to say Milan’s idea is already very big and it will become even bigger. I am convinced that it will become a sure thing. Sooner or later many developers will use the platform and the rest will follow. The scene is still manageable and you talk to each other. If you then also hear from the competition how smooth and easy the special wishes processing can be, there will be no way around it.
PROPSTER: That leads us straight to the next question. How do you see the real estate industry at the moment, what is the degree of digitalization and how important is the role of PropTech companies ala Propster?
Susanne Gulz: Simply put, it is the future. Ultimately, no one will be able to deny themselves that. Software solutions that are also individually tailored will be indispensable. Even smaller companies will eventually realize that. The larger ones will certainly find it easier to do so, since much more input will come from employees from a wide variety of areas. It is well known that the real estate industry has fixed structures and shows a certain persistence, but I am very sure that there is no way around it. All these Proptech solutions are very much on the rise. The added value for the customer/buyer is given and cost savings are also an important issue here. The bottom line is that it is still a service and the better it works and the more cost saving it is for the company, the more companies will use it.
PROPSTER: What advice would you give to new founders or young entrepreneurs on their way?
Susanne Gulz: Strictly speaking, I am still a young entrepreneur myself, although 3 years in the agency scene is quite a considerable time. You have to get really good and detailed information in advance, talk to a lot of people, network, make plans and think everything through and finally do it. One should not just plunge blindly into the adventure, but rather set up a timetable. Ideally, you should also be financially secure and keep the costs under control at the beginning. It does not always have to be the biggest and best office or car. Purchases for the office should be well thought out, otherwise everything can backfire very quickly. Subletting an office is also an initial option and helps to save costs.
PROPSTER: What does Susanne Gulz do to balance her professional life.
Susanne Gulz: When you start a business you have to be aware that you will spend a lot of time working. At the beginning, everything is very time-consuming and there is little room for outside activities, but what I really like to do, I cook and I do that every day. I like to call it my personal cooking yoga because it simply relaxes me. When the weather is nice I try to spend some time outdoors and keep the weekends free if possible. This was an important premise for me when I founded my agency. Because I have worked in several agencies and it was always en vogue to work 60 to 70 hours a week. I think it’s a question of organisation to do the work in a certain time, it just has to be possible. I left the scene because I wanted to have the weekends off and I live that now. We here at Denkbar have introduced the 4-day week anyway and it works well. That’s the only way to live recurring creativity, keyword: work-life-balance. I have always wanted to try out democratic corporate styles. After all, the weekend is there for family and friends and to cultivate partnerships.
PROPSTER: What is your final sentence?
Susanne Gulz: There is a right time for everything and when it fits, things fit together well. That was the case for Milan and for me, too, because I could be part of the whole. We met again at the right place at the right time and a lot of good things came out of this situation, for both sides.