Our Story & Team

Childhood friends Björn Heinze and Hung Luu promised to create something enduring for society, fulfilling it with the founding of SmartPlaces in 2021. At that time, Björn was an established entrepreneur and IT compliance lawyer, while Hung was an experienced real estate fund manager and passionate about IT development. Both pooled their extensive experience acquired while working for multinational corporations such as Goldman Sachs and KPMG.

Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted a near-complete shift to digital-only human interactions, the two founders had the vision to create a social network where people could encounter genuine real-life experiences, enabled by digital tools yet beyond its limiting virtual boundaries. With SmartPlaces, they envisioned to build a truly social ecosystem that empowers users to actively thrive and have full control over their personal data.

After Hung‘s tragical loss in late 2022, Björn was driven to keep SmartPlaces moving forward and restructure the project, bringing in new team members and attracting partners and investors, including APX, backed by Axel Springer & Porsche. In 2023, seasoned entrepreneur Gianluca De Lorenzis joined SmartPlaces as co-founder, closely collaborating with Björn since 2017. Together with his qualified development team, internationally and cross-industry known for highly efficient and multifunctional platform solutions, Gianluca has complemented SmartPlaces perfectly.

Sebastian Thobe serves as a pivotal pillar in SmartPlaces’ leadership team in his capacity as CTO. Furthermore, we are thrilled to boast a team of seasoned professionals occupying crucial roles in development and production, operations, product management, as well as communications and marketing.

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