Meet our Premium Member Daniel Caspar, Co-Founder and Director of Pillar-X
Please tell us more about Pillar-X?
We are Pillar-X, a UK based property investment company, investing exclusively in UK properties. Pillar-X was founded in 2020 by myself and my brother, Thomas, so we are very much in our infancy. Our focus is ‘buy-to-let’ properties and shared housing, also known as ‘HMO’ or ‘houses of multiple occupation’ whereby we purchase these types of properties at below market value, carry out refurbishment, and then rent out.
For many years Thomas and I had a desire to start our own company together. We have many hobbies together so we knew working together would be fine. We come from different career backgrounds: myself, encompassing a career in electrical installation and business management and Thomas starting his career as a business economist, then moving into project management in an international environment. We knew that these skills would give us the foundations of starting our own company and have always had an interest in investments, be it precious metals, stocks, bitcoin or real estate. It was about 3 years ago that we decided to cement our desires and chose real estate. That was the start of the Pillar-X journey and two years on, we have 27 properties and have employed our first employee, Louise, Executive Assistant.
What are your plans for 2023? What is your long-term vision?
For 2023, we are aiming for steady growth for our business by continuing to manage our current properties that are providing a steady income but we are always open to considering new deals to build our portfolio even further.
Our main focus currently is to grow our Pillar-X brand by extending our marketing activities, mainly emphasizing on our social media channels. Also, whilst we are still in the infancy of our business, we are working hard to stabilize our internal processes and build relationships with our power teams.
Our long term goal would be to develop larger projects, multiple flats and apartments. We would see this as taking Pillar-X to the ‘next level’. However, our ultimate long-term goal is to build a brand that provides financial education. This is something that is not talked about enough in schools, if at all, and we’d love nothing more than to pass on our knowledge of how to make money worthwhile. In Switzerland, there is a three-pillar pension system and it was this that inspired our name Pillar-X as we want to build a brand that provides a secure foundation (pillars) for all our stakeholders involved as well as ourselves.
What has been the biggest success that you have achieved in your startup?
Our best achievement so far, apart from our expanding property portfolio would have to be employing Louise, our first employee, who is based in the UK. While managing Pillar-X Ltd from overseas has been challenging, it has not been impossible, but having someone like Louise on board, who is on the ground and understands how UK business works means we can move and grow faster as a business.
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? What are your biggest learnings?
I don’t think we would do anything different other than wishing we had started earlier and by this, I mean, starting the company earlier and being in a position to leave our corporate jobs earlier so that we can give everything to Pillar-X and start putting our ideas into practice
Our biggest learning is to keep going, keep moving forward and do not give up. Even if that means slowing down, this is fine. There can be days where nothing is going to plan or moving forward, which can sometimes demotivate you and make you want to stop but our motto is you just have to keep on going, keep pushing forward and with consistency you will reach your goals.
What motivates you to continue your business every day?
It’s the fact that we are creating a brand that we are passionate about. We are still very much at the early stage of our Pillar-X journey, but we have a vision, and we know what our end goal looks like and we can already see our success. As a business we want to be able to help as many people as possible by providing affordable housing to people in need, either through our social housing strategy or by continuing to grow our property portfolio by keeping in mind our principles of “WIN WIN WIN | or NO DEAL”.
One piece of advice for someone who is just starting out with their startup?
There are two main principles I follow:
- JUST DO IT!
Just go for it, don’t hesitate, and don’t listen to the opinions of so-called experts. Obviously, it is always wise to do your homework and any due diligence before you take risks but if you don’t take risks then you will always get the same outcome.
- A “wrong” decision is always better than no decision at all.
This says exactly what it means. Decisions are there to make changes and if it’s the wrong decision then you can learn from that. You will get to where you want to be but if you don’t start NOW, then you probably never will.
What does it mean to you to be a member of the Swiss Startup Association?
Being part of the Swiss Startup Association has been such a great experience for us so far. The Association holds many fantastic events where we are able to share ideas alike, ask for advice and brainstorm to share and learn new information which is crucial for any start up. Through these activities we have been able to create not only professional but personal relationships with likeminded people who are either at the same stage as us as a company or who are part of a successful company. So, not only do you receive benefits but you are able to give something back to the group, which can be the greatest reward and something Pillar-X values very much.
Being part of such a synergized group has huge benefits regardless of what stage you are at in your business and the cost is very little compared to what you get out of your membership. Being part of a group where you can support and help one another and enhance your network is without a doubt greater than going alone.
Have you ever participated at an event of the Swiss Startup Association? If yes, which one?
We have only been a member of the Swiss Startup Association for a short time, however we have known many members long before we joined and hearing their experiences is what made us want to join and participate in future events. One event we attended was a large founders dinner, which was held in Zurich in 2022. This was an amazing event and made us realize that we had done the right thing by joining and excited us to what the future events will hold.
Is there anything that we haven’t asked you that you would like to share with the community?
One thing we would like to share with the community is that if you are a ‘start up’ or a business regardless of how long you have been going for, please feel free to reach out to us at any time. Even if we are not in the same industry or field, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any burning questions you may have. We might not be able to help straight away but we will certainly try to help and support you in whatever way we can, by either sharing our experiences/thoughts or pointing you in a direction to someone who we think might be able to help.
Reach out to Daniel on LinkedIn