Five Questions With: Capitalizarme | Contxto
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A blend of fintech and proptech, Capitalizarme is a real estate marketplace that has just raised US$6 million in a round led by Angel Ventures. The financing will be used to develop in Mexico, where they see “a tremendous opportunity.” Emerged in Chile in 2014, Capitalizarme is today one of the top startups in that country, and its investors include the founders of Cornershop. The platform lets people invest in real estate online and bundles them with financial products. Gabriel Cid, founder and CEO, answered Contxto’s questionnaire.
1. In simple terms, what problem does Capitalizarme solve?
The middle class is looking to improve its financial situation through investments, which can be seen with the spread of fintech companies in the last few years. And we are in the safest investment segment. The riskiest is trading cryptocurrencies, where you instantly know if you lose or win, and investing in real estate assets is the safest. These are assets that historically give good returns associated with very low risk. Many people do not know how to improve their financial situation, so we spend much time on financial education. Not only teaching about real estate assets but also about the different types of assets to invest in. We recommend that part of the portfolio always has a safe asset, which protects them against crises or the ups and downs of risky markets, and we teach them how to invest in real estate assets.
2. How is it different from others that have tried this idea before?
I don’t know of any other startup that has tried this idea in Latin America. In the US, there is a unicorn called Roofstock, a marketplace where people can invest in what they call single-family rentals. In Latin America, there are many brokers with a lot of publicity and investment but, as a marketplace, there is none. We are adding a financial layer to the marketplace. For example, you can pay a downpayment in up to 70 installments. And we are delivering real estate assets such as apartments with guaranteed leases for up to six years. We also have insurance for non-payment of rent. It is something brokers do not have, and we deliver it as a financial by-product, so we operate on a much more fintech than proptech side.
3. What accomplishment of the company are you most proud of?
I am proud to have shaken up the real estate world in Chile, where more than 40% of apartment sales are for investment today. Thousands of people invest in apartments and have a very good return in terms of capital gain and profitability. This has been the case since 2014 when Capitalizarme was created. Even though all those transactions did not involve Capitalizarme, we are proud to have changed the industry, where there was no talk of investment in 2014, and today it is the primary commercial trend for real estate developers, along with plots of land. We are proud to impact those people who were able to acquire real estate that I am sure is an excellent investment for their future.
4. Tell us a Latin American startup you admire.
What a difficult question… I deeply admire Mercado Libre. I love its history. I love Marcos Galperin as founder and as CEO. I love Hernan Kazah, who today leads Kaszek Ventures with Nico Szekasy. The beginnings of Mercado Libre teach us a lot about resilience because it was tough for them when they started. And what they have achieved is fascinating. The size of the company they are today and how their culture and their impact on society are so profound.
5. What is the next step for the company?
Full Mexico. We closed a US$6 million bridge round, where all the focus is on the Mexican operation. In Chile, we are the undisputed leaders: we will have 15% of the market in Chile, and we are growing at 100% annually. So today, all the effort is focused on Mexico, where we see a tremendous opportunity.
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