It was spring 2006 and I completed translating the brochure for Practical Solutions – offering services to business owners to start joint ventures in Central and East Europe. They had already set up a successful printing company in Romania using subsidies from the Netherlands and this knowledge could be used to help other West European companies to set up in CEE.
I received the payment for the brochure, and as I was playing around with my own Internet site, I published it on my site and starting advertising this – by placing an ad on Marktplaats.nl. The year before I had sold my flowboard company through Marktplaats.nl, and I was presently on two paid projects that I’d also scored through Marktplaats.nl, so I was quite a fan and had the certainty that I would score again.
However, instead of project leads, I started getting requests from all over Europe whether I was interested in or could do something with real estate. A hotel in Portugal, a farm in Germany, a factory in Poland – what was this?
Tracking this down I discovered a real need from individuals who were not getting rid of their properties through formal channels. They were looking for a platform where real estate and property buyers and sellers, renters and leasers, could connect and where the chances for transacting one’s property were “guaranteed.” Well, for me Marktplaats.nl had proven itself as a “guarantor” to getting one’s products and services transacted, so I started my search for the brain behind it – Rene van Mullem.
Continued in “Part II: Why another real estate and property portal?”