- In 2021, Clikalia’s €460m Series B broke records as one of the biggest rounds in Spain.
- CEO Alister Moreno told Insider about their success and why he isn’t worried about the housing bubble bursting.
- He cited good commercial traction, international expansion and digitization as key factors.
This is an edited and translated version of an article originally published on April 12, 2022.
In 2018, Alister Moreno and Pablo Fernández founded the proptech start-up Clikalia. In December 2021, it raised €460 million in venture capital funding, which is one of the largest venture capital rounds raised by a Spanish startup, TechCrunch reported.
Proptech startup beat Spanish fast delivery startup Glovo in the €450m Series F round in March 2021.
Clikalia is a platform that allows users to quickly sell their properties using the iBuyer business model, a digital real estate buying method popularized by US companies like Opendoor.
The company makes an offer to sellers within 24 hours and purchases the property within 7 days
Alister Moreno, CEO of Clikalia, told Insider that after the property is purchased, Clikalia will take care of any renovations or moves, using the agreements it has in place with trusted companies.
If the property needs furniture, Clikalia also has agreements with suppliers, including Ikea, he said. Clikalia then puts the property back on the market.
“Our goal is to allow people to buy homes like they buy products on Amazon today. You look at them on the Internet, add them to your cart and with one click you buy them. You can almost do it already via Clikalia,” Moreno said.
The idea seems to have convinced investors. Fifth Wall, Luxor Capital and Deutsche Bank led the mammoth funding round in December 2021.
In February 2022, the company also completed a €75 million Series C funding round, with the funds earmarked for continued growth in Mexico. This round was led by Fifth Wall and SoftBank Vision Fund 2.
The funding is the result of the company focusing on digitization, profitability and international expansion, Moreno said.
The startup also acquired Inmho in 2021, a property management company, giving it access to more than 250,000 residential units, TechCrunch reported.
“We are suspicious of companies that burn a lot of cash without knowing if they will generate business. For us, the first thing was to be profitable. From there, we spent to grow, but always below what generated us,” Moreno said.
He added that this allowed the company to pass its biggest test yet: the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During the pandemic, we had enough money to run our business model. We didn’t have to do ERTE,” Moreno said, referring to Spain’s furlough scheme, “and we kept buying and to sell houses because the market continued.”
He added that the company is not worried about the bursting of a real estate bubble: “In the real estate market, there are cycles of ups and downs. For these to affect a real estate company, the assets have to spend at least a year in the portfolio. The average of our assets is three months. During this time, a drop or a rise in prices is not so noticeable,” Moreno said.
The company’s “proprietary” technology enables this rapid buying and selling process, TechCrunch reported, where data about a home, including costs and market value, can be quickly analyzed.
The company has embarked on an ambitious international expansion plan
Moreno spends much of his time in Mexico, a country of strategic importance to Clikalia due to its size and proximity to the United States. Fifth Wall, one of Clikalia’s main investors, is headquartered in Los Angeles.
He added that the experience in Mexico has helped Clikalia understand that while the real estate market may look similar wherever you go, customers always want something different.
Moreno said one thing the company’s analysis recently highlighted, for example, is that houses with light-colored doors aren’t selling in Mexico.
“We asked our Mexican colleagues, and they told us it was a cultural issue. In Mexico, the color of a house’s door should be dark,” Moreno said.
Moreno added that Clikalia is now looking to expand into Portugal and France.
“The Portuguese market is important for us because it has the same digitization and transparency needs as the Spanish market,” said Moreno.
Although Moreno was confident in Clikalia’s plans to “enter new markets,” his strategy was relatively risk-averse. He told Insider, “We want to come in bit by bit.”
Moreno added, “Our goal is to conduct extensive research in each country in which we plan to expand.”