Dalelorenzo's GDI Blog

Brazilian proptech startup QuintoAndar lands $300M at a $4B valuation

Fintech and proptech are two sectors that are seeing exploding growth in Latin America, as financial services and real estate are two categories in particular dire need of innovation in a region.

Brazil's QuintoAndar, which has developed a real estate marketplace focused on rentals and sales, has realise impressive emergence in recent years. And today, the Sao Paulo-based proptech has announced it has closed on $300 million in a Series E round of funding that evaluates it at an superb$ 4 billion.

The round is notable for a few reasons. For one, the valuation - high by any standards but especially for a LatAm company- represents an increase of four times from when QuintoAndar fostered a $250 million Sequences D in September 2019.

It’s also noteworthy who is backing the company. Silicon Valley-based Ribbit Capital contributed its Series E financing, which also included participation from SoftBank’s LatAm-focused Innovation Fund, LTS, Maverik, Alta Park, an undisclosed US-based asset manager fund with over$ 2 trillion in AUM, Kaszek Ventures, Dragoneer and Accel partner Kevin Efrusy.

Having backed the likes of Coinbase, Robinhood and CreditKarma, Ribbit Capital has historically focused on early-stage investments in the fintech room. Its bet on QuintoAndar represents clear sect in what the company is building, as well as its confidence in the startup’s plans to branch out from its current example into a one-stop real estate shop that also offers mortgage, title, insurance and escrow services.

The latest round produces QuintoAndar’s total promoted because it 2013 inception to $635 million.

Ribbit Capital Partner Nick Huber said Quintoandar has over its first year built “a unique and trusted brand in Brazil” for those looking for a place to call home.

“Whether you are looking to buy or to hire, QuintoAndar can support purchasers through the entire event process: from browsing supported inventorying to signing the final contracts, ” Huber told TechCrunch. “The ability to serve purchasers' needs through each phase of life and to do so from start to finish is a unique capability, both in Brazil and around the world.”

QuintoAndar describes itself as an “end-to-end solution for long-term rentals” that, among other things, connects potential holders to landowners and vice versa. Last-place time, it expanded also into connecting a residence customers to sellers.

Image Credits: QuintoAndar

TechCrunch spoke with co-founder and CEO Gabriel Braga and he shared details around the growth that has attracted such a bevy of high-profile investors.

Like most other businesses various regions of the world, QuintoAndar poised itself for the most difficult when the COVID-1 9 pandemic ten-strike last year- specially considering one core piece of its business is to support tariffs to the landowners on its platform.

“In the beginning, we were afraid of the implications of the crisis but we were able to honor our commitments, ” Braga said. “In retrospect, the pandemic was a big test for our business framework and it has validated the backbone and defensibility of our binsess on the recognition back and reinforced our importance proposition to tenants and landowners. So after the initial shocking instants, we actually felt even more confident in the business that we are building.”

QuintoAndar describes itself as “a distant market leader” with more than 100,000 rentals under management and about 10,000 new rentals per month. Its rental pulpit is live in 40 municipalities across Brazil, while its homebuying mart is live in 4. Part of its plans with the new fund is to expand into new business within Brazil, as well as in The countries of latin america as a whole.

The startup claims that, in less than a year, QuintoAndar managed to aggregate the largest inventory among digital transactional pulpits. It now offers more than 60,000 belongings for sale across Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belho Horizonte and Porto Alegre. To make greater framework around the company’s growth of that place of its pulpit: in its first year of operation, QuintoAndar closed more than 1,000 deals. It have already had surpassed the mark of 8,000 transactions in annualized expressions, proliferating between 50% and 100% one-quarter over quarter.

As for the rentals side of its business, Braga said QuintoAndar has more than 100,000 rentals under management and is closing about 10,000 new rentals per month. The busines is not productive as it's focused on growth, although it is unit fiscals are particularly positive in certain markets such as Sao Paulo, which is financing some of its proliferation in other municipals, according to Braga.

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Now, the 2,000 -person company is looking to begin its world-wide stretch with plans to enter the Mexican market last-minute this year. With that, Braga said QuintoAndar is looking to hire “top-tier” talent from all over.

“We want to invest a lot in our product and tech core, ” he said. “So we’re trying to bring in more senior parties from abroad, on a world-wide basis.”

Some biography

CEO Braga and CTO Andre Penha came up with the idea for QuintoAndar after receiving their MBAs at Stanford University. As numerous startups do, the company was founded out of Braga’s personal “nightmare” of its own experience- in this case, of trying to rent an apartment in Sao Paulo.

The search process, he withdraws, was difficult as there was not enough information available online and renters were forced to provide a sponsor, or co-signer, from the same city or offer fee assurance, which Braga described as “very expensive.”

“Overall, I felt it was a exceedingly inefficient and fragmented process with no opennes or tech, ” Braga told me at the time of the company’s last-place foster. “There was all this friction and high cost involved, merely real definite questions to solve.”

The concept for QuintoAndar( which can be translated literally to “Fifth Floor” in Portuguese) was born.

“Little by little, we created a programme that consolidated supply and stock-take in a attire practice, ” Braga said.

The company made the search phase online for the first time, according to Braga. It likewise eliminated the need for tenants to provide a guarantor, thereby saving them coin. On the other side, QuintoAndar also works to help protect the proprietor with the guarantee that they will get their rent “on time every month, ” Braga said.

It’s been interesting watching the company advance and grow over time, just as it’s been fascinating encounter the region’s startup scene mature and sheen in recent years.

SoftBank piles QuintoAndar a brand-new unicorn in Latin American real estate tech

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Crypto social network BitClout arrives with a bevy of high profile investors, and skeptics

While much of the recent wave of relentless hype around NFTs — or non-fungible tokens — has been most visibly manifested in high-dollar art auctions or digital trading cards sales, there’s also been a relentless string of chatter among bullish investors who see a future that ties the tokens to the future of social media and creator monetization.

Much of the most spirited conversations have centered on a pre-launch project called BitClout, a social crypto-exchange where users can buy and sell tokens based on people’s reputations. The app, which launches out of private beta tomorrow morning, has already courted plenty of controversy inside the crypto community, but it’s also amassed quite a war chest as investors pump tens of millions into its proprietary currency.

Early backers of the platform’s BitClout currency include a who’s who of Silicon Valley investors including Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, the startup’s founder tells TechCrunch. Other investors include Chamath Palihapitiya’s Social Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Winklevoss Capital and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. A report in Decrypt notes that a single wallet connected to BitClout has received more than $165 million worth of Bitcoin deposits suggesting that huge sums have already poured into the network ahead of its public launch.

BitClout falls into an exploding category of crypto companies that are focusing on tokenized versions of social currency. Others working on building out these individual tokens include Roll and Rally, which aim to allow creators to directly monetize their internet presence and allow their fans to bet on them. Users who believe in a budding artist can invest in their social currency and could earn returns as the creator became more famous and their coins accrued more value.

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“If you look at people’s existing relationships with social media companies, it’s this very adversarial thing where all the content they produce is not really theirs but it belongs to the corporation that doesn’t share the monetization with them,” BitClout’s founder, who refers to themselves pseudonymously as “diamondhands,” tells TechCrunch. (There’s been some speculation on their identity as a former founder in the cryptocurrency space, but in a call with TechCrunch, they would not confirm their identity.)

The BitClout platform revolves around the BitClout currency. At the moment users can deposit Bitcoin into the platform which is instantly converted to BitClout tokens and can then be spent on individual creators inside the network. When a creator gets more popular as more users buy their coin, it gets more expensive to buy denominations of their coin. Creators can also opt in to receive a certain percentage of transactions deposited into their own BitClout wallets so that they continue to benefit from their own success.

The company’s biggest point of controversy hinges on what has been opt-in and what has been opt-out for the early group of accounts on the platform. Most other social currency offerings are strictly opt-in. Users come to the platform in search of a way to create tokens that allow them to monetize a fanbase and build a social fabric across multiple platforms. The thought being that if the platforms own the audience then you are at their mercy.

BitClout has taken an aggressive growth strategy here, turning that model on its head. The startup has pre-populated the BitClout network with 15,000 accounts after scraping information from popular public Twitter profiles. This means that BitClout users can buy shares of Kim Kardashian’s social coin or Elon Musk’s without those individuals ever having signed up for a profile or agreeing to it. This hasn’t been well-received by all of those who unwittingly had accounts set up on their behalf including many crypto-savvy users who got scooped up in the initial wave of seeding.

The startup’s founder says that this effort was largely an effort to prevent handle squatting and user impersonation but he believes that as the platform opens, a sizable pre-purchase of creator coins reserved for the owners of these accounts will entice those users to verify their handles to claim the funds.

Perhaps BitClout’s most eyebrow raising quirk is that the platform is launching with a way to invest into the platform and convert bitcoin into BitClout, but at launch there’s no way to cash out funds. The project’s founder says that it’s only a matter of time before this is resolved, and points to Coinbase and the Winkelvoss twin’s status as coin holders as a sign of future exchange support to come, but the company has no specifics to share at launch.

While the founders and investors behind the project see a bright future for social currencies on the blockchain, many in the decentralized community have been less impressed with BitClout’s early efforts to achieve viral adoption among creators in a permission-less manner.

“BitClout will make a great case study on how badly crypto projects can mess up incentive engineering when they try to monetize social networks.” Jay Graber, a decentralized platform researcher involved in Twitter’s bluesky effort, said in a tweet. “Trust and reputation are key, and if you create a sketchy platform and mess with people’s reputations without their consent it is not going to go well.”

If BitClout comes out of the gate and manages to convert enough of its pre-seeded early adopter list that there is value in joining its closed ecosystem version of a social token then it may have strong early momentum in an explosive new space that many creators are finding valuable. The concepts explored by others in the social currency space are sound, but this particular execution of it is a high-risk one. The network launches tomorrow morning so we’ll see soon enough.

If the question is #bitclout the answer is yes.

— Jordan Belfort (@wolfofwallst) March 20, 2021

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