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How was Apimo born ?

Nicolas Guillaud de Saint-Ferréol, Chairman of APIWORK, tells us through his words about the rise of the famous transaction software Apimo™, from its birth to the success it is experiencing today.
We interviewed him to understand how Apimo was born and to follow his professional career.

The birth of Apimo

Interview with Nicolas

Let's talk about the high school student « Nicolas Guillaud de Saint-Ferréol », how did the idea of real estate software come to him ?

« In high school, I had a very geeky profile.
I was pursuing my secondary education in Nice and it was thanks to my brother that I got to know the real estate world. A small group of agencies at the time: Catherine Mamet. They didn't even have ADSL. One of their employees drove from agency to agency, with a diskette, to update the files.

So I was presented with the idea of creating a centralized tool to share ad listings. I knew how to code, I developed a lot of computer programs for my own pleasure. So the first thing to do was to equip them with broadband. I then made my own little program, which I installed in their machines and took the opportunity to create their first website: catherinemamet.net. »

Is that where the story with the real estate industry begins?

« Yes, but not only.
I continued my studies at the University of Sophia Antipolis (Network and Telecommunications), alternating, in a GSF industrial cleaning company. I was in the IT department. There, I acquired computer skills at the industrial level.

GSF is a large entity, one of the main leaders in its sector of activity, working at the national level. I finally got a permanent contract. But from time to time I continued to give a little help to the real estate agencies, to update my little program. Which, at that time, they already liked very much. »

And when does APIWORK arrive?

« A friend who suggested I set up a web agency in Paris. We started it.
We started working on big projects in Entertainment. It was quite tense. A lot of resources, big budgets... finally it made us progress on all aspects of user interfaces and we increased our skills. And of course, at the same time, we were thinking about the commercial version of my real estate program, because the agencies were always calling on me. »

When do you partner with Arnaud Fossey?

« Arnaud and I had known each other since high school.
It was with Arnaud that I began to take a serious look at APIMO. Entire nights to code while managing the company and day-to-day business!
We were enthusiastic, without complexes and we were sure that APIMO would be expected as the messiah in all real estate agencies in Nice.
Except it didn't work that way.

It will take time and patience to get the real estate profession to accept new habits and working methods brought by IT tools, in customer relationship management for example. The real estate agents didn't want to change the way they worked for two geeks who approached them with their geek language at all. »

Is it really that difficult?

« Not bad indeed! So much so that we ended up offering months of free access and poverty rates. Banks that didn't believe in the project at all, didn't help us! We went into debt to survive and especially to continue to hold on to APIMO, because we believed in it!

We really end up taking off between 2010 and 2011. APIMOAPIMO was starting to prove itself and we had a good return on our reputation. The product is ready. Phew! Phew!

And there, the second period of difficulty, that of growth! Because, once the product was popular and had a good reputation, it had to be sold everywhere, not just on the French Riviera. We would sometimes do Antibes / Nantes on the same day, to sell and install the product. We even slept in the car in these cases... Quite a time. »

What made Apimo successful?

« We were lucky enough to work with very demanding agencies that are in the luxury and prestige market, including Daniel Féau, Real Estate Consultant, Coldwell Banker, Barnes, etc. This forced us to provide a complete, quality and easy to use product.

Today, it is thanks to this level of requirement that we have been able to equip large brands such as Arthurimmo.com. We are also on the international market, which is why multilingual management has been requested by our customers from the very beginning.

We have also opened APIWORK offices in Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium and Tunisia. »

How do you see the future?

« The control of the GAFAs over all economic sectors is a fact. But frankly, I don't worry too much about the real estate profession. Even if the profession evolves from a technological point of view, the human and legislative aspect will always save them.

Today, individuals get lost in the administrative and legislative aspects of real estate, they necessarily need a professional, to secure their transaction, but especially for negotiation.

With APIMO we support real estate professionals in this evolution. »