An Interview With Kamel Belkadhi, CEO of LandEx
Conducted by our friends at P2P Cafe!
A few weeks ago, LandEx CEO Kamel Belkadhi was invited to P2P Cafe, one of the most famous P2P (peer lending) podcasts in Germany.
Find below the transcript of the interview.
Interviewer: Welcome Kamel! Can you introduce yourself?
Kamel: My name is Kamel and I am originally from Tunisia. I’m one of LandEx’s first founders and am currently in the management team as CTO. I will be soon LandEx’s CEO (Kamel has now become LandEx’s CEO).
LandEx is the first land investing marketplace that allows easy access and provides transparent land ownership. LandEx will unlock the true value of land by democratizing access to land investments. Basically, anyone in Europe can start investing with as little as 10 euros.
Interviewer: Ok, that’s a very nice approach. If I understand your fees correctly, you do not earn anything from the management of the land itself. How can we make sure LandEx is reliable?
Kamel: We take fees when buying the land.
Let’s say a land costs 10000 euros, we take 1–3 % fees, and then we will soon take fees on our secondary market, but this is not activated yet.
We also take a fee if we sell a land to someone.
You can check to make sure that we do things fairly by accessing an Estonian website called Maa-amet.
You can check all the official data and make sure that LandEx is taking care of the lands and everything is fair.
Interviewer: You advertise high returns and sustainable investments that offset CO2, doesn’t that rule out the maximum return vs over exploration?
Kamel: The CO2 capture project is on hold for the time being.
Interviewer: Ok. Do I have to sell the project on the Secondary market myself or is the land automatically sold after some period?
Kamel: The user is free to sell on the Secondary Market. After one year, once the price has increased, we could look for a buyer who buys the land from us at a higher price, at around 10–20% above the price we bought it at. And if we find a good buyer, we may decide to sell.
Interviewer: Then we get back the money with the increased value?
Kamel: Yes. Users have the option to either sell their investment on the secondary market or wait for LandEx to sell it later with greater appreciation.
Interviewer: As an outsider, it is difficult to judge whether the land price you announced is fair.
Kamel: LandEx uses official data from the website Maa-amet where you can check the pricing.
Interviewer: But you don’t show it on your website?
Kamel: Currently no but in the future, we plan on giving users access to official documents about land prices in that region.
Interviewer: Ok, that would be a good feature in the future.
Interviewer: Ok thanks, next question. Let’s paint the worst picture, what happens if your idea is no longer working in the future, then what happens to my project? Do I have to take care of the project on my own on the small pieces of land?
Kamel: Users on LandEx don’t own the land, investors only own the shares of that land. Even in the unlikely case that LandEx goes bankrupt which I don’t think will happen, the value of the users will be reorganized. The integrality of user investments is completely backed up. So, it is a completely safe process.
Interviewer: Is this business somehow regulated?
Kamel: We are in the process of applying for the broadband license. We are operating legally. We are about to have a crowdfunding license we will have it in November.
Interviewer: Ok yes, we are familiar with this license. Above all, does the land belong to me at all? Or who is in the land cadaster?
Kamel: LandEx owns the land.
Interviewer: LandEx itself, so it is a special purpose company?
Kamel: Yes, users only own the loan shares of that land.
Interviewer: The community's main subject is mainly to generate cash flow but it is not really possible on LandEx? Will you add some opportunities in the future to generate steady cash flow instead of buying and selling the lands?
Kamel: LandEx started 6 months ago with different lands such as farmlands, biodiversity lands, forestlands. We noticed that farmland was the one our users liked the most, so from now on we will only focus on farmlands. Farmlands are rented out to farmers so users can get cash flows.
Interviewer: What is your target audience in LandEx? And what is the right investment amount right now?
Kamel: We are mostly focused on Estonian and German investors. They are mostly 35–65 years old. The average investment amount depends on where the user is from. For example Estonian invest €40–50, and Germans, €500–600.
Interviewer: Really so Germans have more money in the game than your locals?
Interviewer: Inflation is high at the moment. Does high inflation have any effect on land prices? Or are they a good hedge against it?
Kamel: Farmland is a really attractive asset because it has the potential to hedge against inflation. Land prices keep going up year after year in western countries.
Interviewer: Last question. It’s very unusual for an investment platform to work officially with a lot of advisors right from the start, like our colleague Claus Lehmann. What is your idea behind this?
Kamel: So, we decided to bring a lot of advisors into our team from the beginning. The advisors are experienced people that would help us to push LandEx. LandEx management team and people working for LandEx are mostly 20–30 years old. That’s why we wanted to seek advice from people like Julian, Claus, Marek, Mart Erik. They all help us with their experience, they all have experience in investing marketplaces, like Bondora, Investly, Estateguru. So having these kinds of people as advisors in LandEx is great for us.
Interviewer: Do they own some shares in your company? Do you pay them or do they do it for free?
Kamel: Yeah, I can answer it. We are not paying them since LandEx is only a 6-month-old startup. We really don’t have the means to pay advisors, but we have some shares for them.
Interviewer: Thanks for answering the questions.
Kamel: Thank you for the opportunity.
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