Chilean proptech start-up Houm raises $ 35 million Series A to expand across Latin America


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Less than six months after raise $ 8 million In seed funding, Chilean high-tech start-up Houm raised $ 35 million in a Series A round led by Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Goodwater Capital.

Fifth Wall also participated in the funding, with existing funders OneVC, Elad Gil, Liu Jang and new investors Fen Ventures, Broadhaven and Rahul Mehta, managing partner at DST Global. With the last round, Houm has raised a total of $ 45 million since its inception.

Santiago-based Houm plans to use the new capital primarily to expand to 15 new cities in Mexico, Colombia and Chile – the three countries in which it currently operates – as well as to triple its current workforce of 350 people.

The startup had used its seed capital to grow and consolidate in Bogota, Colombia and Mexico City. (It began operations in Bogota in mid-2020 and in Mexico City in January 2021.) Houm has seen its income increase more than 11 times in the past year, a measure that has exceeded its own expectations, although ‘she did not reveal precise figures. The company is not yet profitable as it is currently focused on growth.

Houm offers an online service that helps homeowners rent and sell properties “up to 10 times faster,” he says, than traditional methods. Rather than having recourse to real estate agents, it relies on “Houmers”, independent professionals who prepare properties for sale or rent, then manage them. Houmers earn money every time a house they have worked on is sold or rented.

CEO Benjamin Labra, who co-founded the startup with COO Nicolás Knockaert, said Houm’s ultimate goal is to “become the number one digital broker” in Latin America and give people an affordable alternative to renting, to selling and managing properties online. Its model is similar to that of the Brazilian unicorn QuintoAndar, which has also raised significant capital this year.

“Ninety-five percent of our properties are leased in 30 days or less, and our independent force, the Houmers, allows us to show properties every six minutes every day,” Labra said.

Houm offers services to owners and tenants. When an owner decides to put his property up for rent or for sale, Houm assigns a Houmer to take professional photographs and videos at no cost to the owner. The Houmers also inspect the house or apartment so that potential clients can feel more secure in their decisions.

The properties are then published on the online real estate marketplaces within 24 hours. Houm is also investing in digital marketing, with the aim of offering greater visibility and better access to customers. Once the property is published, Houm offers tours to prospective tenants of buyers, virtually or in person.

The startup has also developed an AI algorithm called ReV, which allows clients and owners to instantly know the optimal rental or sale price of any property based on other similar properties in the area they are considering.

As potential tenants make offers, Houm checks applicants’ backgrounds and presents options to landlords. After that, the company creates a digital contract with all parties involved.

“Houm is the first and largest proptech in Spanish-speaking Latin America to lease, sell and manage property,” Labra told TechCrunch. “Because there is no MLS or exclusivity in the real estate industry in Latin America, having his enormous independent force on the ground allows Houm to be faster and win the contracts. “

The pandemic, he said, has accelerated by “many years” the practice of using the Internet to rent and sell property.

“This has been very beneficial for us as we have an end-to-end online process and people will always need housing, so we provided the service they were looking for,” said Labra. “We had a significant tailwind that helped our growth explode earlier than expected, and this practice is here to stay.”

Hatim Khety, partner at Goodwater Capital, noted that housing seekers in Latin America have been underserved for some time.

“With Houm’s seamless search experience and digital closing process, the company is at the forefront of a significantly better customer experience than the status quo,” he wrote via email. . “Landlords also love Houm’s end-to-end technology platform for pricing, listing and managing their properties, which helps reduce vacancies and increase rental income. We are delighted to partner with us. to Benjamín and the entire Houm team in their quest to improve housing accessibility across Latin America. “

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