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CHAPTER 7: TECNOLATINAS PROFILES

VivaReal: the fastest growing real estate marketplace in LatAm

 

Industry: Real Estate, E-commerce
Country: Brazil
CEO: Brian Requarth
Website: http://www.vivareal.com.br
HQ: Sao Paulo
Offices: Sao Paulo
Employees: 201-500

 

VivaReal is redefining the way Brazilians buy and sell homes. This real estate marketplace, allows users to easily find the kind of property they wish to acquire, rent, or lease in an intuitive and friendly interface, that features homes, apartments and offices in more than 1,000 cities across the country.

But, for this site, success didn’t happen overnight. Founded by Brian Requarth, an American who moved to Latin America after falling in love with a Colombian woman; Thomas Floracks, a German entrepreneur; and Diego Simon, a Brazilian entrepreneur who got the Brazilian operation started working alone in a small desk in Sao Paulo.

VivaReal’s history is really peculiar. A serial entrepreneur, Requarth had founded several companies in Colombia before, inspired by MercadoLibre’s success, venturing into the marketplace space. Originally conceived to disrupt the real estate market in Colombia, Mexico, and perhaps Brazil, the founders started their operations un 2009 split between Bogotá and Sao Paulo, and it wasn’t until 2011 the site begun to show traction, that they decided to focus all their efforts in one single country.

Getting started was tough, though. The co-founders initial plan, involved building traction among house-seekers, while building a consistent audience, and filling their listings with homes. This last task proved to be the harder, as real estate agents failed to find the value on a site that was new and lacked volume. Refusing to give up, the partners started publishing properties they found on realtors’ sites, which turned into several threats with legal actions. However, their ability to convince these agents that they would generate leads for them, rather than trying to steal their business, turned most of those potential suits, into the site’s first clients.

In June 2011, when the site was already starting to take off, the company faced a situation that almost forced it to shut down. The situation got to a point where the founders had invested all their money in the company, and they were left with only $87 dollars in the bank, which was most certainly not enough to afford the salaries of their 25 employees. At that point, they managed to close a deal with Simon Baker, an experienced investor in the real estate space, who saw huge potential in the project after attending one of its events.

This led to some changes. For starters, the company started investing heavily in content, something that allowed them to start getting users in the millions. Additionally, it massively simplified its business plan, lowering prices, and creating flat plans that allowed its clients to publish more paying less. After this, the business started to skyrocket.  

Today VivaReal has a database of more than 4 million properties published on its platform, and over 14 million monthly unique visitors, effectively leading the market in Brazil. The site has managed to raise $74.7 million dollars in 6 investment rounds from 19 different investors, including Kaszek Ventures, Monashees+, and Dragoneer Investment Group, among others.

But besides its astonishing growth rate and massive adoption both by the Brazilian audience and the real estate sector, which relies more and more on its site to find suitable buyers for their properties, VivaReal’s most impressive achievement is the great company culture the founders have managed to create.

With a team of several hundred employees spread among 16 different offices throughout Brazil, the company has managed to foster collaboration and a really open and transparent culture, which has turned it into a cherished company by its workers, and a highly desired place to work in the Brazilian tech scene.

Growing at a rate of 100% a year, VivaReal will most likely keep on helping more and more Brazilians find their dream home in an easy a user-friendly manner, and it is only a matter of time before it moves to fulfill its founders’ original dream and begin a regional expansion that will most likely place it among Latin America’s most recognizable brands on the web.

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