June 16, 2020 / 7:01 AM / 21 days ago

Colombian real estate startup La Haus raises capital amid pandemic

SAO PAULO, June 16 (Reuters) - Colombian real estate startup La Haus raised $16 million in funding from venture capital investors Kaszek Ventures, NFX, Acrew Capital, IMO Ventures and Beresford Ventures.

Additional investors include tech entrepreneurs like David Velez, founder of fintech unicorn Nubank, and Spencer Rascoff, co-founder of U.S. real estate database company Zillow, which inspired the La Haus business model.

La Haus provides tools for closing real estate transactions digitally, including listings and other essential information. Transactions going through the startup systems total $250 million in value per year.

In Bogotá and Medellín, where La Haus started, its market share soared from 4% to almost 30% during the coronavirus pandemic. Mexico City, where La Haus started operations last year, already accounts for 25% of the company’s business.

The pandemic has driven consumer willingness to conduct real estate transactions online, said co-founder and president Rodrigo Sánchez Ríos. “We expect to see a permanent shift to online for at least most of the home-buying process,” he said.

Before the pandemic, La Haus gained clients by promising to shorten average closing times in Latin American markets from the time of listing from the current 12 months. The company also hosts a property listing service.

La Haus founders, Jerónimo Uribe, CEO, and Rodrigo Sánchez Ríos were colleagues at Stanford University.

Transactions could rise in Latin America, a region with 600 million people and 186 million residential units worth $10 trillion, Ríos said.

Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Sam Holmes

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