Habi, a Property tech Startup Bags in $10 Million in Series A Round

Four years ago when Brynne McNulty Rojas moved to Bogotá, Colombia, she came across a fragmented real estate industry. It was lacking a central database for consumers to search or compare homes. Rojas was hit by the degree of the problem; however, she was also inspired by the opportunity.

What is Habi?

Rojas and her business partner Sebastian Noguera collected some of the biggest problems in the city’s real estate market, especially for middle-class buyers. They found a market where the average home took 14 months to sell; that figure fell to 10 months for middle-class homes. It was a market that was deficient in terms of price transparency. Sellers utilized analog tactics such as posting a sign in the neighborhood in a trivial attempt to intrigue buyers.

Encountering these problems, Rojas and Noguera developed Habi, a property tech startup with a two-fold approach. The startup founders created a centralized database of residential real estate prices and ongoing trends.  It was a multiple listing service, the information was used to make an automated pricing algorithm to buy and sell homes quickly and efficiently.

The company purchases, renovates, and then sells homes, making revenue off the margin. It also provides a tool that lets sellers estimate the value of their homes and a database that buyers can utilize to search for listings. The core of its business is automated pricing technology, which was created using data from its real estate, financial, and government partners.

“You can think of it as an MLS plus Opendoor model,” Rojas said in a recent interview. Opendoor is the U.S. based property tech startup supported by SoftBank.

Widening its Reach

The Bogotá-based startup has now managed to raise $10 million in a Series A round. The round was led by Inspired Capital, with participation from 8VC, Clocktower, Homebrew, Vine Ventures, and Zigg. The round consisted of angel investments from Flatiron Health and Looker. The company has bagged in $15.5 million to date.

Since the launch in fall 2019, Habi has risen rapidly. It has even picked up pace during a strict lockdown of the city during the COVID-19 pandemic. Transaction volume has amplified three times since March, Rojas noted.

Rojas said its data-driven approach is lucrative, enabling the company to sell a home three times quicker than the market average.

Currently, the company covers all of Bogotá. It is planning to utilize this fresh injection of capital to widen its reach. The plan is to reach Medellin this month and eventually to other Latin American markets, according to Noguera. Who previously ran the digital transformation at Banco de Bogota and co-founded Marqueo.

The founders also wish to eventually expand Habi’s services to become a “one-stop-shop for everything related to the home,” Rojas said. In the long term, this might mean connecting consumers with moving, storage, furnishings, and other services.