Today we are lucky to interview Sebastian Wuerz — Co-Founder & CEO at homefully — a prominent leader in the European Co-Living industry. We discussed several topics, from his founder journey to Hauptbanhof reviews, or from his Founder Institute mentorship experience to an impact analysis on Covid business effects.
Sebastian, tell us a bit about yourself, your story, why are you in Frankfurt? What do you do?
I grew up in Heidelberg, about an hour south of Frankfurt. After living abroad for several years I moved to Frankfurt in 2015 for a job in consulting. Shortly after my arrival, I have started my Co-Living company here. I guess my story is kind of typical since so many people come here for a job and decide to stay much longer than initially planned.
What is the big issue that you and your company are addressing and what value do you bring to your clients as homefully?
homefully exists to make living as easy as possible and to provide each of our customers with their ideal home in their new city. We do this for open-minded professionals who come from all over the world who value flexibility, convenience, and community. With this approach, we have been able to build homefully into the market leader for Co-Living in Germany over the past years.
Can you highlight some, top mistakes or funny situations you come across in your experience working in your industry?
Many mistakes have been made along the way, some just minor, some more relevant but not a big major fuck-up that I could pinpoint here.
A highlight that still sparks joy to me is when a customer tells us that we helped them so much in getting settled by being quick, reliable and convenient in our approach. Kudos to my team for making this possible 🙂
How would you describe the 5 years journey as a Founder?
A lot of ups and downs (I think that is a common pattern for any founder) but still loving what I do since day one.
A curiosity, was your industry affected by Corona?
It has been affected by Corona, pretty much like any other industry. Back in March of 2020, we prepared for the perfect storm. At this point could no one foresee the potential impact that might have hit us. Luckily the impact has not been particularly negative for us. We have a strong and resilient business model, a community of loyal customers, reliable long-term partnerships and most importantly an outstanding team that worked relentlessly towards the company’s goals — probably even harder during the crisis. That means right now we are already back at our pre-Corona occupancy and demand levels and feel very well prepared for the upcoming months and years to come.
What is your plan with homefully in 2021 and beyond?
We are currently in growth mode again and preparing to launch in new (European) cities in 2021. Me and the team have a clear vision for the company, building homefully into the undisputed market leader in European Co-Living.
You have been working and studying in multiple places and geographies (US, Singapore, China, UK, Poland, Thailand). How would you compare Frankfurt in regards to those international hubs?
Frankfurt in comparison to large international hubs, has this small-town feeling all over the city, which I find is a great thing. You have the advantages of a city with the perks of living in a small town, especially when it comes to community and getting from A to B. The longer I am living in Frankfurt, the more I enjoy it.
homefully is based in the Hauptbahnhof area of Frankfurt, a lot of startups are. How is it like for you and your team?
The Bahnhofsviertel area is one of the most exciting places in Frankfurt. A variety of spots to go out, meet old and new people, have a drink and taste all kinds of different food. Change is the only constant here and despite the disturbing spots here and there, the change and the atmosphere is what makes the Bahnhofsviertel area so exciting and one of the few places where Frankfurt truly feels like a big metropolis. We have just moved into a new office space in Kaiserstraße and the team loves the new location. However we as many others right now have shifted to a hybrid approach that includes the best of both worlds: a combination of office time to enhance collaboration, creativity and socialising and remote work to support focus, flexibility and efficiency.
You are involved as a mentor at FI Frankfurt, what is your experience in those two cohorts?
A lot of driven and highly motivated founders. FI is a strong program if you are in an early stage and seek instant feedback and validation of your idea. As a mentor I do like being exposed to new business models and ideas and appreciate being able to share my experience with the founders in the program.
Finally, personal goals for the rest of 2020 and 2021?
Making the best out of this rather unusual year 2020 and ending it on a high note by celebrating the highs and acknowledging the lows.
I am currently making zero plans for 2021 — my personal learning out of 2020. But I will try to enjoy the next year no matter what is going to happen. I guess that counts as a plan as well.