Interview with Sébastien de Lafond
Founded by Sébastien de Lafond with Julien Cheyssial, Pascal Boulenger and Jordan Sanial
Created in 2008
Business sector Real estate information and sale platform
Sébastien de Lafond, one of the four founders of MeilleursAgents, a real estate information and sale platform, tells us about his innovative startup idea, and the difficulties and successes that marked the life of the now-thriving company.
Would you say that your background led you to become an entrepreneur or that you are a born entrepreneur?
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur
I started my professional career as a corporate banker in the US and then in Europe, before creating a venture capital fund in London.
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I just didn’t know how to go about it. It is through meeting and working with a number of entrepreneurs as a banker in their M&A and IPO operations, during their development as an investor and administrator, that I realised I just had to jump in as early as possible and then learn to swim …
How did your project come into being? What main difficulties did you encounter when you set it up?
The project came into being after huge frustration when we came back from expatriation and wanted to buy a family flat in Paris. I felt completely incapable of getting a real feel for the property market trends: how relevant a sale price was, dissatisfaction with the service offered by real estate professionals considering their high commission, etc.
That is when the idea came to me for a platform to connect individuals wanting to sell their property with estate agents looking for sale contracts. The objective was to create a more efficient market for individuals thanks to direct access to relevant information on the price assessment of their property, and a tool to choose the best agent for their project.
Access is completely free for individuals, and a range of products for professionals going from simple visibility on the platform (monthly fee) to a service putting them in touch with selling owners (payment on appointment and success in the event the property is sold by them).
What were the main key factors to your company’s success? What advice would you give to young start-uppers?
For me, the key to success is not just a relevant business model, it is above all a determined and closely knit team that shares common values.
Do not hesitate to challenge yourself while bearing in mind your objective. Look for team symbiosis, that is united regardless of the circumstances. Support it with strong values of helping one another and a quest for excellence, the very essence of MeilleursAgents since the very start and which is ever present over time.
the key to success is not just a relevant business model, it is above all a determined and closely knit team that shares common values
Lastly, our constant search for innovation whether in the scientific, technical, commercial or strategic fields, has made MeilleursAgents a major reference for property prices on the Internet. It also helped develop precise tools and good broadcasting of our know-how to the general public and the media.
A personal inspiration to share with us?
Magellan, who decided one day to reach the Pacific via the west. He has a sufficiently structured vision to find the necessary funding, develops a consistent strategy as regards known and unknown elements, creates a team with the right skills for the completion of his project, overcomes incredible difficulties during his crossing (winter on the coasts of Patagonia, mutiny, scurvy etc.) and finds his way through to the Pacific via the strait that now bears his name. He will meet an untimely end a few months later in the Philippines, but what a fantastic and inspirational entrepreneur, don’t you think?!