Our story begins with a young boy and his grandfather knee deep in DIY. Painting, plastering and plumbing every holiday to their heart’s content. As a result of much time spent renovating the grandfather’s property, the pair developed serious skills and their finishings were always finished to perfection. By contrast, whenever they had to call upon a construction company to do some of the heavy renovating they were often bitterly disappointed by the slow rate of progress and slapdash workmanship.
As pretty much anybody who has ever experienced it can tell you, home renovation can be a nightmare. Apart from the expense and the mess, something usually goes awry blowing best-laid plans and budgets sky high. It’s a sector that is well known for its disappointments. Obviously, there are some great construction companies out there but finding one that combines quality, reliability and the right price can be a real challenge and up until now, finding someone to help you navigate this minefield has not been easy.
This pain point in the home renovation market is not new, it’s been around for decades, perhaps even longer, So it was definitely time that someone decided to do something about it. That someone was the young boy we just mentioned. He grew up determined to challenge the status quo and change the home renovation industry forever. His name is Matthieu Burin and today he is Co-Founder and CEO of hemea.
Matthieu launched hemea back in 2015 with the help of his tech whizz Co-Founder and CTO, Arnaud Kleinpeter. Matthieu had the experience, the engineering and construction knowledge and Arnaud had the tech skills. They were later joined by another engineer, Yann Depoys, today COO. The founders say that their mission is to enable people to concentrate on the important things : being happy in their homes. With a 96% satisfaction rate, it looks like they’re achieving it.
hemea is an online architecture and renovation studio entirely dedicated to home renovation. They cover all sorts of work, from light to heavy renovation work or even building a new home. Whether yours is an apartment, a loft, a house or a mansion, hemea can help out.
Ultra user-friendly with inspiring photos and easy-to-follow guides, hemea helps you better understand the different components of the work you want carried out (different stages involved, the work required, time estimates and pricing..) and will then put you in touch with local construction partners and architects capable of transforming your dream house into reality.
And that’s not all, hemea transforms the usual user experience into something infinitely more bearable by offering market prices with a high level of service meaning, amongst other things, quality workmanship, deadlines that are respected, and compliance with the latest building regulations.
In order to avoid the usual painful pitfalls, hemea’s general constructor partners are carefully sourced. Today there are 250 of them. Construction companies selected to work with Hemea get to showcase their work on its website. The hemea platform also allows them to generate quotes quickly and easily and bill clients directly, taking care of all the paperwork. A big time saver.
Why Hemea ?
Breega first invested in hemea, or Travauxlib as it was known back then in Spring 2017, in a 1.8M€ investment round alongside Xavier Niel and France’s public investment bank, Bpifrance. Why did Breega invest?
Firstly, we were impressed by hemea’s innovative approach, offering a digital solution to an enduring pain point in a traditional and slow moving industry. Secondly, we were convinced by hemea’s founding team. The founding team is all important to a company’s success- a great idea and a great product alone will not cut it. This founding team with their complementary skills sets and characters caught our Co-founding partner, Maximilien Bacot’s eye:
“Together, the hemea founders have the vision, passion, product, the industry and engineering and tech skills required to build a great company. Personality wise, they complement and balance each other out”.
Why Breega ?
So why did hemea choose Breega as their investors? According to Mathieu:
“We chose to work with Breega firstly because of the affinity we had with Max. It was a great fit right from the start. Also Breega is a people-oriented VC : operational, hands-on and down-to-earth. As hemea works in a people-based, hands-on, manual industry it just made sense”
He goes on to say:
“Breega were critical at the beginning of our journey, recruiting for us and helping us to build up our company, today we have 50 full time employees. They also helped us win contracts and build partnerships with big insurance companies”.
Where they’re heading next.
In the four years since they launched, hemea has worked on over 2000 projects, built a community of construction partners and architects and expanded out of Paris to cover Lyon and Bordeaux. So what’s next for the intrepid trio?
2021and 2022 will be all about consolidation. If hemea’s activity was brought to an abrupt halt by France’s first lockdown, during the second semester of 2020 they experienced three figure growth. Maximilien say’s :
“The first lockdown was tough as all activity stopped and people waited before taking on new projects. Matthieu and his team were very resilient and dealt with the crisis well”.
“With remote work becoming the norm for many, today, we’re spending more time than ever in our homes, we need them to be great places not just to sleep in but to live in. This is very promising for hemea”.
Later this year, hemea is therefore hoping to expand into other areas in France like Nantes, Toulouse and the PACA region bringing their home renovation solution to thousands of other individuals and constructors.
Team Breega wishes them luck in their mission and is looking forward to continuing to support the team as they renovate and rebuild the home renovation sector.