Bringing Tech to Latin American Real Estate — Why We Funded EmCasa

Dorm Room Fund
Jan 29 · 2 min read

As the son of a real estate agent, Gustavo Vaz grew up in the Brazilian real estate ecosystem. He saw firsthand how extremely stressful buying and selling a home was. For most people, this transaction is among the most important in their lives, but their experience is plagued by unprofessional and outdated brokerages, information asymmetry (made worse by no MLS listings like in the US) and high commissions. Over recent years, the US has experienced a real estate tech boom: Redfin, AppFolio, Zillow, Opendoor, Compass, the list goes on. However, the largest Latin American economy, Brazil, has not seen such massive transformation.

So, when Gustavo decided to attend Harvard Business School (HBS), he was focused on bringing innovation to his home market of Brazil. Gustavo was an unusually experienced student entrepreneur. Prior to HBS, Gustavo served as Global COO at EasyTaxi, a ride-sharing app with operations in 30 countries. He managed more than 1,000 employees, a feat that few students have accomplished. Moreover, Gustavo has surrounded himself with an impressive C-suite of executives with prior startup and real estate success in Brazil.

A Next-Generation Full Service Brokerage

With his strong supporting cast, Gustavo founded EmCasa, a tech-enabled real estate brokerage. We are enamored with EmCasa’s offering relative to the status quo. EmCasa has a more capital efficient model without physical offices. The company offers 3D, virtual reality touring so that prospective buyers have a better sense of the home before a formal visit and sellers do not need to host unlikely buyers. Additionally, EmCasa leverages its wealth of proprietary data to provide property valuation and location recommendations. Moreover, EmCasa can supply a broader suite of services, including mortgage financing offers.

Not surprisingly, EmCasa’s superior offering led to immediate traction. Their number of listed homes, GMV, and revenue are growing at a healthy clip, and the unit economics are increasingly attractive.

We are excited to support EmCasa in scaling a tremendous business. The market opportunity ahead is enormous with more than $10 billion spent annually on real estate commissions in Brazil, with many other monetization paths available including mortgage financing leads and other Latin American countries (where Gustavo led EasyTaxi’s expansion).

Though rare for Dorm Room Fund to invest in businesses with primary operations outside the US, EmCasa is a special company, and we’re proud to be building something great with them!

Dorm Room Fund

Written by

Built by students and powered by @FirstRound, we provide our founders with a strong network of investors, access to world-class mentors, and a $20,000 check.