Even in the United States, the process of finding and buying property, as well as securing a mortgage, is not an easy one. In Latin America, where real estate agents are often not officially licensed, countries use notaries instead of escrows, and mortgage rates can be staggeringly high, buying a property in Latin America can be much more difficult. Most Latin American countries lack an MLS (multiple listing service) so there is no central place to search for properties, no exclusivity for brokers, and prices for the same property can differ from broker to broker. It can be hard to know whether you are getting a straight deal when the process for researching properties and brokers is anything but transparent.
Even in countries such as Chile, which is one of the more developed real estate markets in the region, renting an apartment as a foreigner can be daunting. Local landlords usually require significant paperwork before signing a lease, including a cosigner, local employment documents, proof of local taxes, and other documents most foreigners do not have. Landlords may also require your monthly income to be triple or quadruple the monthly rent, meaning that renting many properties is out of reach even for well-paid locals.
In 2013, Vijay Kailas, a fellow Start-Up Chile entrepreneur and I started Andes Property to help foreigners buy, rent or invest in properties in Latin America to help provide more clarity into this market. In 2014, my fund, Magma Partners, made Adrian Fisher’s PropiedadFacil our first investment. Adrian has been involved in the real estate tech sector since 2012 in Argentina, Chile and now the US with PropertySimple, so we had significant experience in the real estate tech sector.
Because of a lack of information, low levels of competition in the Latin American real estate market and corruption in certain markets, potential property owners can take on risks when buying a property that they wouldn’t otherwise take on in the US, where we take many of our existing systems and platforms for granted.
I’m excited to finally be able to announce that our portfolio company PropertySimple closed a $3M round in the United States to help them continue to grow. I’ve been working closely with Adrian Fisher, PropertySimple’s founder and CEO, and team over the past year, helping them navigate their US market launch.
PropertySimple gives real estate agents the tools they need to compete in a social media powered world by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence. Their software as a service product drives leads and follows up on them for real estate agents and starts at $2500/month.
PropertySimple started out as PropiedadFacil, a Chilean property search portal back in 2012. PropiedadFacil was Magma’s first investment back in early 2014. They’ve gone through many ups and downs and pivots since we first invested. After building great technology in Chile but finding it hard sledding to get clients to pay for it, Adrian and I flew to the US to test out the US market. (more…)
I’m excited to introduce the Crossing Borders podcast (iTunes, Stitcher) where I share the stories of top entrepreneurs doing startups across borders and the investors who support them, with a focus on companies that have some relationship to Latin America.
Over the past 6+ years in Latin America, I’ve met entrepreneurs hailing from countries around the world doing business across borders. Some do business in Latin America. Others use Latin America as a base to target the US market.
They’re some of the most diverse, risk taking, trailblazing entrepreneurs in the world. But when I come back to the US, Latin American startups just aren’t on people’s radars.
They’re mostly stuck on stereotypes of corruption, narcos and failed states. They see Latin America as a monolith and couldn’t tell you the difference between Mexican, Chilean and Argentine food, much less the difference between each country’s business climate.
As Magma portfolio companies started to do business in the US and meet with US investors, they came across this same ignorance of Latin America and its entrepreneurs. US entrepreneurs and investors have slept on Latin America and are missing out on some of the most interesting entrepreneurs in the world. And some of the best stories. (more…)
Welcome to Crossing Borders with Nathan Lustig, where I interview entrepreneurs doing startups across borders and the investors who support them, with a focus on companies that have some relationship to Latin American.
My guest for episode 2 is my friend Adrian Fisher, CEO and Founder of PropertySimple, a real estate technology company with offices in Santiago, Chile and the United States. I’ve known Adrian for about five years now and PropertySimple was our first investment at Magma Partners back in 2014.
Adrian and I cover his journey from Scottsdale, Arizona to Argentina, Chile and then back to the United States, during which he learned to program, built technology for some of the biggest companies in the world with a 30 person outsourcing team based in Mendoza, Argentina and transitioned from a services company into a product company.
In 2011, Adrian was part of Startup Chile‘s first round, where he and his team built multiple real estate technology businesses including a rental payments system, a mortgage originator and more.
We’ll also talk about Adrian’s experience launching a product in Latin America and then transitioning to the US market and the strategies he has used for building a successful technology business from Latin America that targets the US market.
PropertySimple just closed a financing round of $3M from US investors and is growing it’s team in Chile and the US while scaling sales in the United States. I really enjoyed this conversation, so let’s jump right in!
If you liked this podcast, please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher and check out the first five episodes with other top entrepreneurs doing business in Latin America.