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Real Estate Finance Day 2023 — A Review
REFD 2023 in Frankfurt again was a truly important forum for the ndustry. Find out more in this article.
From the Skiing Slope to the Deep Sea
It all started with a skiing slope: Right there, where an English entrepreneur was taking skiing lessons in Austria, is where the history of Valdivia begins.
Like so many success stories, it was coincidence that started everything… And today, Valdivia is celebrating its anniversary. It was exactly a year ago when we started our business as an executive search consultancy in Frankfurt/Main – with the name of the first German deep sea expedition boat as a trade mark. And just like the deep sea explorers of the 1898 Valdivia expedition, we were prepared to go deeper for our goals – with courage and curiosity. Excited to find out what we would accomplish. Very soon it turned out to be an extremely promising journey.
The Number on the 100-EUR Bank Note
But back to the first chapter of our (his)story: born to a skiing instructor from Austrian Burgenland, Daniel Bauer set off to explore the world at the turn of the millennium. It was America and the American Dream, the Land of Opportunities, that he set out to discover at the beginning of the 2000s. But what can you do when the authorities will not issue a Green Card for you? This question was on Mr Bauer Senior’s mind when teaching skiing in the Alpes to tourists from countries near or far. What would be his son’s next stop? Quite unexpectedly, it was a British skiing tourist that provided the solution — in the course of a conversation, he mentioned that he a was the owner of an international consultancy residing in London. He told Mr Bauer Senior to make his son come by some time. With this and at the end of an instructive and intense skiing week, he handed Mr Bauer Senior a 100-EUR bank note as a tip – and a very special bank note, too. For the Briton had noted his private, very confidential telephone number and email address on it.
London and Berlin – From Capital to Capital
Daniel Bauer called. Soon after, he was invited for a first telephone interview, as was common at that time, they talked on the landline (Zoom conferencing was SciFi – we are in 2006). The conversation lasted not even 15 minutes. The two hit it off right away and without making a lot of words. So it was a deal: This young man would get the job. Was it mere coincidence that both the owner of the consultancy and Daniel Bauer have a teacher family background? Wasn’t Mr Bauer with his degree in Civil Engineering just the person for a consultancy focussing on the real estate sector? Would he be fit for the tough negotiating floors of London? … He was – and so the owner’s intuition proved to be s good as gold. Yet, who would have thought that the 21-year-old would so easily live up to his new role and be accepted so readily by his London colleagues? His idiosyncratic, sometimes adventurous dress style was coined ’Austrian Mafia’ by them. It brought about the best of British team spirit and so they went to dress him properly in famous Savile Row, where Senior Management personally made sure his new style would be business-appropriate. In the coming years, his career in London set off quickly – and that in real estate recruiting out of all recruiting business, an extraordinarily competitive sector. It was his deeply-rooted urge for success and his never-give-up mentality that made all this possible. And the journey continued: next stop Berlin, where he established the first German branch – and the name of employee no. 1 was: Daniel Bauer.
From the Deep: Up to Top
Even when he reached the top, Daniel Bauer wanted to move even further up. He strived for the new, for improvement and perfection, he developed ideas – in short, he did not want to settle for what he had achieved. So his London surrogate father Adam Walker and Daniel Bauer together nurtured the vision of something hitherto unknown: What if you separated executive recruitment from HR consulting and transferred it into an independent enterprise, acting solely for its own purpose? For there was a genuine niche: a specializing, exclusive and fully-focused executive search consultancy for the real estate industry!
That spirit never rested; throughout the years, the idea was taking shape, and, like pioneers, they embarked on the journey. In many a sleepless night and with a couple of good drinks, the idea of a consultancy that would break new ground in Germany was born: Executive Search with all the depth was the idea – rational, transparent, and resting on profound expertise in the sector. The founders would much rather fully explore one sector – construction, real estate, and the financial sector to go with it – than get lost in innumerable unspecific options.
Valdivia Is Setting Sail
So the deep sea became a model and a symbol – and further parallels began to show soon. When establishing the enterprise in Frankfurt/Main, the founders came across deep sea researcher Carl Chun. The zoologist was born in Höchst, today a part of Frankfurt, in 1852 and he was the entrepreneurial type: As early as in 1880, he had made himself a name – not only with explorations on deep sea creatures in the Mediterranean Sea, but also with his invention of vertical fishing nets, specifically designed to capture organisms at a certain sea level.
’Valdivia’ was the name of the boat with which he took to the seas after extensive preparations in July 1898. Our founding partners liked the meaning and the sound of this name very well. So in 2020 – in the turmoil of the pandemic – a new Valdivia would embark on a great journey – with the same courage and determination that those pioneers of the deep sea had when Carl Chun departed on his mission, in the end making it a success that is alive even in our day and time.
Full Steam Ahead to the Second Year
Just like our idol did 124 years ago, we are deliberately moving off the trodden path. Our in-depth expertise in the construction and real estate sector, the structured search process, and our high-end data base navigated us through our first year – for the good of both our enterprise and our clients. We will continue on this course. Energetically und with enthusiasm for our industry, we are now looking ahead with great expectations as to where our journey will take us in the coming year. Chapter II of our story will follow shortly. Stay tuned.