Business

Chilean answer to QuintoAndar, Houm raises $8 million Post-Seed round

Fresh out of Y Combinator's program, Chilean Houm wants to be the largest proptech for Spanish-speaking LatAm

Benjamín Labra (CEO) and Nicolás Knockaert (COO), co-founders at Houm. Photo: Courtesy/Houm
  • Y Combinator, Goodwater Ventures, OneVC, Vast VC, Liquid2, and Myelin participated in the round;
  • The startup started to operate in Mexico this year and now wants to expand in Spanish-speaking LatAm.

Houm, a Chilean version of Brazil’s unicorn QuintoAndar, announced it has raised $8 million after its recent participation at Y Combinator’s Winter 2021 program.

Houm is an end-to-end solution that helps landlords to rent and sell their properties. CEO Benjamín Labra already had a background of working with real estate when he founded the proptech in 2018.

A couple of years before, he met Houm’s co-founder Nicolás Knockaert (COO) at Columbia University and the two Chileans entrepreneurship’s story began when they decided to leave New York and start their own private real estate firm in their homeland, where they managed over 9 million real estate assets.

READ ALSO: QuintoAndar: Meet the Brazilian real estate unicorn

Labra rented his property and his tenant didn’t pay him, so that’s when he saw the opportunity of building his proptech. “We knew the whole cycle of real estate industry from property management, asset management, development, and so on, so that’s how Houm got started,” he told LABS.

Since 2018, it has been a “rollercoaster”, in Labra’s words. The startup had already raised a pre Seed series of around $2,2 million in 2019 and 2020, when it started to operate in Colombia. In January, Houm debuted in Mexico. The startup says it already has more than $300 million in assets under management.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 is speeding up the digitization of Latin America’s real estate market

Proptech Houm has freelancers across Latin America

Labra says the startup has grown five times since last year, with a team of over 200 people and another 200 “Houmers” (how the proptech calls its freelancers) in the region. “This year we will grow pretty much the same (five times).”

The exec doesn’t disclose users’ numbers due to investors’ agreement but says Houmers have been showing one property every eight minutes. The freelance force it’s a very important part of the proptech’s core business. They use their own Houm app. Less bureaucracy, more freelancers, and technology speed up the process of renting by 10 times compared to traditional models, according to Labra.

READ ALSO: Brazil’s Creditas acquires Bcredi to boost its real estate vertical

“If you have a property you jump to my website. We have an algorithm that recommends a price so you can rent and sell your property. You schedule an appointment with one of my Houmers, he shows up to your property, he is going to take photos and in the same day we are going to list it in every single local marketplace in your town.”

For tenants, Houmers offer a proper tour in person or virtually. Houm manages property administration, tenant communication, and charges the rent. In Latin America, it is common for real estate firms to require guarantors. As its Brazilian peer, Houm dismisses guarantors and takes care of paying the rent when the tenant defaults since it has insurance that allows the coverage. Houm says about 90% of its properties are rented in 30 days or less.

READ ALSO: Brazilian real state startup EmCasa doubles revenues in 2020 and expects to hit BRL 50 million in 2021

Y CombinatorGoodwater VenturesOneVCVast VCLiquid2, and Myelin are some of the venture capital funds that are now backing the Chilean proptech, besides individuals Elad GilEric WuAusten Allred, and John Kobs, that completed the round.

Proceeds will go for team expansion, marketing and sales, and further expansion in Latin America. “Our focus is to consolidate ourselves as the biggest proptech in Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America.”

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