With a LaaS (Living as a Service) solution and the promise of simplifying the process of renting residential properties, Yuca, a Brazilian startup from São Paulo, has just raised a BRL 56 million Series A round led by venture capital fund monashees and followed by Terracotta Ventures, ONEVC and Tishman Speyer.
Yuca debuted in 2019 as a startup focused on renting shared housing, co-living. Now, with a consolidated operation and over 500 deals under management, the company will invest the Series A resources in the diversification of its portfolio, with the inclusion of individual and family products. Also, it also plans to expand the technology and product teams and strengthen its investment arm.
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Eduardo Campos, the Yuca co-founder alongside Rafael Steinbruch and Paulo Bichucher, explains that the startup has identified three fronts to scale up: being a multi-product company, having a strong technological base and positioning itself as an institutional player.
“We started out focused on co-living solutions. But over those two years, the business has evolved. Today Yuca positions itself as a tech company focused on the living experience, with a diversified product portfolio. Another key point is to consolidate Yuca as an institutional player. We go to the capital market to raise funds from large investors, so it’s important that they see us as an institutional player. The Series A reinforces this position with the capital market,” says Campos.
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Yuca‘s incursions in the investment market resulted in BRL 200 million raised from institutional investors, through an investment fund [similar to American Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)] – according to proptech, the first fund in the world with a portfolio of mostly shared residential apartments -, and with individual investors, through crowdfunding.
Yuca plans to quadruple the assets under management in 12 months and to assume the lead in the residential investment market. For this, the creation of a platform for real estate investments is on the horizon.
Yuca‘s portfolio consists of properties placed under the startup‘s management and properties acquired through its investment fund – in this case, Yuca takes care of the entire purchase process and the subsequent management of the rents.
When choosing properties for the portfolio, a lot of technology and data analysis. According to Campos, Yuca looks at all kinds of property, including entire buildings and corporate properties with potential for retrofitting, something that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the real estate market evidenced with the emptying of sets of corporate offices.
“The pandemic brought this need to reframe some assets. Commercial properties that may have a residential vocation in the future. We use a lot of data analysis to choose the properties that we are going to acquire, always based on the return potential for the investor,” Campos explains.
Last year, the startup acquired the first entire buildings in its portfolio, which will be reframed according to Yuca’s standard; the launch of these projects should be in the first quarter of next year.
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Yuca‘s target audience is young people who come to São Paulo to work or study and need a flexible rental contract, with no common requirements in traditional real estate, such as security deposit or guarantor. Today, proptech’s average customer profile is 28-year-old adults who usually stay in the property for up to 15 months.
A rental in a shared house costs on average BRL 1,800.00 monthly; a rental in a one-room apartment or studios starts at BRL 2,300.00 to BRL 4,000.00 monthly. These values include rent, condominium, taxes, bills, internet and weekly cleaning service. Yuca’s solution still involves reform, furniture and decoration in the apartments.
For now, Yuca has no plans to operate outside São Paulo city.