For this leader profile, we interviewed Michael Hazoume, CEO & Co-founder of Garentii, an insurtech & proptech company providing an alternative solution to the the traditional cash deposit system.
Arunima: Hi, Michael. Thanks for joining us today. It's great to have you as our first leader profile of the year. Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself, your background, and how you ended up founding Garentii?
Michael: Sure, thank you for having me. I grew up in Paris and my background is in banking and strategic consulting. After finishing my MBA, I wanted to start a company. My first venture didn't take off, but when I was moving from Frankfurt to Munich, I stumbled upon a problem that I wanted to solve: the inefficiency of the cash deposit system in the expensive city of Munich. Fast forward, I founded Garentii with 20 people and we're now live in Germany trying to solve the problem of security cash deposit.
Arunima: Can you tell us more about Garentii and what it does?
Michael: In Germany, for example, the residential market is the largest in Europe, with over 30 billion euros being locked up in cash deposit. This is a very inefficient use of capital, as people have to pay up to three months of rent as a cash deposit. It's also an administrative burden for landlords, who have to handle different bank accounts and do yearly tax audits. Our solution is to offer an alternative to the expensive cash deposit by replacing it with a small fee, starting at three euro payments. This frees up more money for tenants and provides landlords with the same security as with a cash deposit.
Arunima: I'm curious, how did you map out the German rental landscape and how is it for students? Did you struggle with managing finances and rent as a student yourself?
Michael: Yes, across my personal experiences and speaking with students, the burden of paying three months of deposit is quite high. With tuition and rent to pay, students can find it difficult to afford a cash deposit. Our goal at Garentii is to make housing more affordable and accessible for renters and students alike.
Arunima: How do you tie the aspects of affordability, flexibility, and social impact together? How does Garentii play a role in this?
Michael: At Garentii, our goal is to make renting more accessible and affordable for everyone. We see the increasing rent prices, high inflation, and rising living costs, and our solution of offering an alternative to the cash deposit helps to make housing more affordable. By doing so, we aim to create a more diverse group of people from different walks of life to have access to education and the workforce, creating a social impact. In this way, affordability, social value, and flexibility are all tied together and Garentii plays a role in making this a reality.
Arunima: Last question: since you’re part of The Class community, if you had to send out one message; what would you say to the community about student experience?
Michael: We can’t talk about affordability without touching on financial flexibility. As an industry we must explore these affordability solutions that make the student experience better. It is important to take into consideration the difficulty when students try to find a place and can’t quickly move in due to the deposits. So at Garentii, we believe solving this affordability issue and providing more financial flexibility plays a big role in providing social value.