Casai, a Mexican startup of smart accommodation and short-term rentals, announced a partnership with Q Apartments in which it acquired the company’s operations in Brazil. Q Apartments is a global rental company with a portfolio of more than 65,000 flats in 81 countries. The deal with Casai in Brazil will begin with the initial acquisition of more than 140 units in São Paulo. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
By taking over Q Apartments’ operations in Brazil, where it debuted only three months ago, Casai expects to leverage the short-term rentals front for corporate demands (B2B) and become the company’s main partner in other Latin American countries.
Besides the partnership with Q Apartments, Casai recently announced the launch of a residential real estate fund in partnership with Navi, a Brazil‘s broker with BRL 9.1 billion under management. The fund will be structured with XP Investimentos and will be focused on short-term rentals, to monetize the properties managed by proptech.
Nico Barawid, CEO of Casai, explains that the company has big plans for Brazil, as indicated by the two partnerships announced soon after landing in the country. “Brazil will be our largest market of operation by the end of the year,” he said.
The launch in Brazil had an initial investment of BRL 100 million and began with the offer of premium flats, the startup‘s brand, in prime neighborhoods of São Paulo, such as Vila Olímpia, Pinheiros, Jardins, and Itaim Bibi. Two months later, Casai debuted in Rio de Janeiro. The startup projects an overall annual growth rate of 33 times in the country by 2021.
Real estate fund
The open-ended real estate investment fund focused on short-term rentals, which will be issued by Casai in partnership with Navi and XP – the fund will be led by Navi and XP, and Casai will manage the properties included as fund assets – is expected to float on the Brazilian stock exchange by the end of 2021. Although these investment vehicles are common in the United States, they represent only 1% of the investments in Brazil.
For Barawid, the partnership sets a new precedent in the Brazilian market. “The partnership will not only allow us to grow smarter but will also put us on the map of the São Paulo real estate market, allowing us early access to some of the most exclusive properties in the city,” he said.
Casai’s business model is based on the smart-home concept. The startup offers fully equipped flats for short or long stays. The differential is the exclusive design – the properties are decorated by Casai’s design experts in projects that value the use of sustainable products and locally sourced brands – and the smart-home technology, in which the property is 100% connected and managed by devices.
The highlight of the experience is “Butler“, an internal system developed by Casai that connects to guests’ apps, giving them full control over the interactive experience inside the property and taking their requests remotely. In addition, access to the properties is keyless and the entire check-in process is performed without physical contact. Technology is also applied for inventory management and managing customer orders based on consumption trends.