My name is Malte Kramer and I am the Founder & CEO of Luxury Presence, an all-in-one marketing platform that helps real estate agents build a premium brand online through beautiful web design and expert marketing services. Designed with ROI in mind, our award-winning websites are built to delight, engage, and convert site visitors into commissions and come with legendary customer support. Our system is used by 17 of the top 100 WSJ Real Estate Agents in the United States and just last year, four of the largest brokerages in the world selected Luxury Presence as their preferred vendors.
In January 2020, we announced a $5.4 million Series A funding round, led by our previous investor Switch Ventures. Bessemer Venture Partners and Toba Capital joined as new investors, as did previous investors Gerald Risk, Peter Kelly, Jonathan Ehrlich, and Blaine Vess. The funding will be used to expand our engineering and product teams.
What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?
I’ve always been entrepreneurial. Growing up I was always working on little projects - learning how to design things with Photoshop, how to build Wordpress websites, and trying to sell things online.
Having a great morning routine, eating healthy, taking one day fully off each weekend, and most importantly having a community away from work and other founder friends to share stories with, has made a huge difference to happiness and productivity.
At age 12 I joined a Basketball team and never looked back. I became a professional player at age 16 in Germany and at 19 came to the US on a basketball scholarship. After graduating from Pepperdine University, I decided to stay in California and start a company.
After my first startup, I wrote a book called “Play For Something” which was published in 2015 and then went to Stanford Business School to get an MBA. After that, I moved back to LA and focused on building Luxury Presence, which is now a 50-person company with over 1000 clients around the world.
Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?
My first startup was a dating app called “Heartbroker” which I started with a friend in College. The idea was to incentivize people to set up their friends on dates and then take kickbacks from the restaurants they went to. We were pretty green and completely underestimated how difficult it is to build any type of marketplace business. We spent a lot of time building the app before we ever put anything in front of real customers which was a really bad way to go about things.
We failed to get it off the ground but learned a lot of valuable lessons, mainly testing the main assumptions before ever building any real tech. My second startup was a non-profit fundraising platform called Givvr. After raising a friend and family round, we failed to get enough traction but got acquired by another company for the tech we’d built. The main lesson of this one was to not try and change human behavior but rather to build something that addresses an existing pain point.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
We just closed a $5.4 Million Series A last month. Over the last 18 months, we’ve grown our client base by over 5x and our team from 9 employees to over 50. It’s been a pretty incredible experience to achieve this level of growth. We now service over 1000 real estate agents and brokers and are still growing at 8-10% each month.
Our capital efficiency has been really strong as it took us about $2M in funding to get to almost $4M in run-rate revenue. We’ve been extremely focused on retention and have seen client churn of less than 1%. As a result, our LTV is very high and we’re able to invest in providing an exceptional client experience which further improves churn - a virtuous cycle.
Lastly, we benefit from low CAC since there is a clear pull from the market with lots of word of mouth, referral traffic, and strong organic SEO rankings. We also have some great partnerships in place which allow us to reach our customer base efficiently.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
I’ve learned to focus on hiring exceptional people and then empowering them to make decisions and to “get out of their way.” I’ve learned that promoting from within can be one of the best ways to build a strong culture and is extremely rewarding when it’s done well. I’ve also learned that the most talented people don’t always have a standard resume and we’ve been fortunate to bring on employees who never went to college or dropped out and who are absolutely crushing it for us.
Another important lesson has been to optimize my own life for my creative and productive output while ensuring that it’s sustainable and I don’t burn myself out. Having a great morning routine (including working out and meditating), eating healthy (low sugar, low carbs, high fat), taking one day fully off each weekend, and most importantly having a community away from work and other founder friends to share stories with, has made a huge difference to my happiness and productivity.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Any blog posts by Ben Horowitz. Sam Harris’ Waking Up App. Radical Candor by Kim Scott is an amazing book on management.
For podcasts, I’d recommend The Portal by Eric Weinstein.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
In your 20’s I would maximize learning. The best way to do that is to find the person you want to be in 10-20 years and go work for them. This will also help you build a network, which is critical once you want to raise money and hire people.
Secondly, I believe most ideas can be tested with very little upfront investment. If you have an idea for an app, don’t waste tens of thousands of dollars building it before you speak to dozens if not hundreds of potential customers. I’ve made this mistake myself and see entrepreneurs waste resources wanting to create something “perfect” and “polished” before they have any idea if the market even cares for it.
Lastly, I would recommend only raising a lot of money once you have proven your value to the market (ideally by having paying customers) and are ready to scale. One mistake many founders make is they raise too much too soon and it sets up a wasteful culture, masks problems with the product, and can put the company on the wrong path. We bootstrapped for 2.5 years and now have an extremely efficient business as a result.
Where can we go to learn more?
Please direct any press inquiries to Evan Read, Dir. of Marketing, [email protected]
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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