Launched in 2021 out of Serbia before quickly moving to the UAE, Kredium is at the intersection of FinTech and Proptech, facilitating mortgage financing, property search, and property management with one key angle that makes all the difference: a focus on the cross-border real estate market. Founder Miša Lazović explains.
How did you come to create Kredium?
I was seeking a mortgage to buy a property in Serbia as a non-resident, and I realised that the market for cross-border real estate purchases and financing was pretty underserved; a lot of technology and good customer experience were missing. I come from a financial services background – I studied economics, started my career at the National Bank of Serbia, and spent several years in strategy consulting with the BCG and Strategy&, focusing primarily on financial services, banking, and insurance – so I had a pretty good understanding of the industry. These two things coupled together gave birth to Kredium.
What solution did you find?
This is a very scattered kind of problem. Globally, a tonne of very diverse corridors and scenarios for cross-border purchases are more or less underserved. All sorts of pieces need to come together –financing, real estate, technology, etc. So, we started thinking about a systematic solution that can offer mortgage financing to all these corridors in a single place. At the same time, none of these corridors are the same and it’s really difficult to serve them in a [unified] way. We still stick to that vision of having an overarching platform that can act as a one-stop-shop for cross-border real estate purchases and mortgage financing globally, but we figured out that to get started, we had to prioritise some of the corridors that we know and understand well.
So, at the moment, our solution for end users combines a property search component, with real estate developers and landlords who seek international buyers; a mortgage financing component, with lenders in the Middle East, Southeast Europe, and the US for the time being; and a property management component, helping our many buyers who see property as an investment vehicle and want to maximise their rental income and ROI.
In parallel, our custom-built technology has modules for banks, developers, and brokers to use as a broker management platform for cross-border buying, bringing us additional subscription revenues.
How do you bridge the vast regulatory differences between markets?
Not only are the regulations different but they’re also changing all the time. It’s multiple layers of complexity. We’re building a lot of knowledge in-house – compared to where we were two years ago, we have a much more solid understanding of how the different markets work – but you cannot know everything. So, we currently offer mortgages in a lot of countries indirectly, relying on local brokers who know and follow local regulations.
Why did you choose the UAE specifically?
I have many friends in Dubai, including my former professional mentor, so it was quite an inspiration for me to come to the region. Also, when I was in consulting, I spent a lot of time on projects in the Middle East; I was actually based in Dubai even before we launched Kredium here – in fact, for the first year before I made the switch in 2022, I was juggling between consulting and Kredium, which was very intense.
And there’s a lot of potential for a platform like Kredium in the UAE, where real estate is super strong and where, in general, the main buyers are international buyers.
Would you consider Kredium as a marketplace of sorts?
Legally speaking, we’re a brokerage and referral company, because the activity is regulated through brokerage licences. But from the business model point of view, yes, we’re a marketplace.
Customers sign up on the platform and fill up the requirements; our team reviews and shares these scenarios with the respective institutions, before coming back to the customers with tailored proposals – pre-approvals for mortgages, offers, and so on. Everything is managed on our platform, from start to finish.
What does your user base look like?
We have customers from every country in the world buying in every country in the world, with a big concentration in southeastern Europe, Serbia in particular, and in the UAE because our business model is more mature in these markets.
How is Kredium doing commercially?
We are generating revenue and P&L-wise, we’re profitable. We’ve already facilitated transactions worth hundreds of millions of dirhams. We’re already a pretty big team with 20 people.
For now, 95% of our revenues come from commissions but we’re considering changing the structure of these commissions so it’s no longer based on commission origination only but also recurring as a trailing fee.
How important was it for you to become an entrepreneur?
For all these years, there was no opportunity to start something like [Kredium]. But when this idea came up, I felt it was time to jump in. I’d always wanted to run a venture where I could maximise my purpose and capabilities, and that I considered big and relevant enough to dedicate a full professional life. It was just a matter of time.
And it’s been pretty exciting. There are always a lot of ups and downs, challenges and victories, but at least I feel that I’m in the right place. I no longer think about what’s going to be next, which is really important to me. I feel like I could be doing this forever.