Company: La Haus
Investors: KaszeK Ventures, Acrew Capital, IMO Ventures, Beresford Ventures, NFX
Interview with: Co-Founder Rodrigo Sánchez-Ríos (President)
La Haus is a Colombian residential real estate platform that just raised a US$10m Series A led by KaszeK Ventures to expand its operations in Mexico and continue building an end-to-end digital solution to the home-buying process. LAVCA interviewed Co-Founder and President Rodrigo Sanchez-Rios to gain additional insights into the story behind the company and its current standing amid the C19 crisis.
What made you launch La Haus in 2017?
I met Jeronimo Uribe, while at Stanford GSB in 2012, where we decided to launch Jaguar Capital, a real estate investment firm in Colombia. Jaguar Capital went on to develop over US$350m of residential, retail, and industrial assets, and led to the building blocks behind La Haus.
As developers of residential projects, we realized that there was not a large scale professional sales force in Colombia, or in Latin America, that could manage the real estate sales process in a data-driven way. Most developers simply price according to comparables and estimate the pace of sales using their intuition.
At that time, we brought on board our current CTO Santiago Garcia, formerly of Jaguar Capital, to build technology tools and databases to drive the firm’s investment due diligence process. We then realized that the tools that Santiago built could help any person making the most important investment decision of their life: buying a home.
What are the biggest drivers of the current real estate market fragmentation in places like Mexico and Colombia?
The biggest driver of today’s fragmentation is a deep lack of trust among all stakeholders in the [home-buying] process. This lack of trust is itself a result of a lack of infrastructure such as a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) or a transparent Tax Registry, which has inhibited the emergence of a dominant player.
There is no single reliable source of truth for real estate transaction prices and property availability, so sellers set high-asking prices based on what they hear from friends and family, and post their ads on listing sites. As a result, buyers spend an inordinate amount of time going through the listings, and trying to discover the correct price. Because of this frustrating experience, buyers seek the help of brokers, but brokers cannot get exclusive mandates, so they don’t invest in quality listings or photographs, ultimately providing a subpar service. The solution is to use technology and data, to provide transparency, automate many of the processes and build the trust that is missing.
The solution is to use technology and data, to provide transparency, automate many of the processes and build the trust that is missing.
What explains the increase in market share for online real estate transactions during the C19 pandemic?
The increase in market share is due to the fact that “traditional” real estate selling channels are currently shut down, while La Haus can keep selling via its digital platform. We’re convinced that the pandemic is changing consumers’ behaviors permanently. We’ve seen customers who would have otherwise never considered a digital transaction, be amazed when they discover how easy it is to buy a home with La Haus.
We’re convinced that the pandemic is changing consumers’ behaviors permanently. We’ve seen customers who would have otherwise never considered a digital transaction, be amazed when they discover how easy it is to buy a home with La Haus.
What learnings from your initial launch in Colombia do you think will be most applicable to your expansion in Mexico?
We learned the value of building relationships in a new market. This allowed us to aggregate supply fast via our proprietary software integration. We learned how to clearly communicate our value proposition to both the buyers and the sellers.