La Haus is bringing US tech services to Latin America’s real estate market

The alchemy for a successful startup can be hard to parse. Sometimes, it’s who you know. Sometimes it’s where you go to school. And sometimes it’s what you do. In the case of La Haus, a startup that wants to bring US tech-enabled real estate services to the Latin American real estate market, it’s all three.

The company was founded by Jerónimo Uribe and Rodrigo Sánchez Ríos, both graduates of Stanford University who previously founded and ran Jaguar Capital, a Colombian real estate development firm which had built over $350 million worth of retail and residential projects in the country.

Uribe, son of the controversial Colombian President Daniel Uribe (who has been accused of financing paramilitary forces during Colombia’s long-running civil war and wire-tapping journalists and negotiators during the peace talks to end the conflict) and Sánchez Ríos, a former private equity professional at the multi-billion dollar firm Lindsey Goldberg were exposed to the perils and promise of real estate development with their former firm.

Now the two entrepreneurs are using their know-how, connections, and a new technology stack to streamline the home-buying process.

It’s that ambition that caught the attention of Pete Flint, the founder of Trulia and now an investor at the venture capital firm NfX. Flint, an early investor in La Haus saw the potential in La Haus to help the Latin American real estate market leapfrog the services available in the US. Spencer Rascoff, the co-founder of Zillow also invested in the company.

“Latin America is very early on in its infancy of having really professional agents and really professional brokerages,” said Flint.

LaHaus, with a product that guides homebuyers through every stage of the process with its own agents and salespeople selling properties sourced from the company’s developer connections.

“The average hone in the US sells in six weeks or less,” said La Haus chief financial officer Sánchez Ríos in an interview. “That timing in Latin America is fourteen months. That’s the dramatic difference. There is no infrastructure in Latin America as a whole.”

La Haus began by reaching out to the founders’ old colleagues in the real estate development industry and started listing new developments on its service. Now the company has a mix of existing and new properties for sale on its site and an expanded geographic footprint in both Colombia and Mexico.

“We have a portal… that acts as a lead generating machine,” said Sánchez Ríos. “We aggregate listings, we vet them. We focus on new developers.”

The company has about 500 developers using the service to list properties in Colombia and another 200 in Mexico. So far, the company has facilitated over 2000 transactions through its platform in three years.

“Real estate now is turning fully digital and also in this market professionalizing,” said Flint. “The publicly traded online real estate companies are approaching all time highs. People are just prizing the space that they spend their time in… the technologies from VR and digital walkthroughs to digital closes become not just a nice to have but a necessity. “

Capitalizing on the open field in the market, La Haus recently closed on $10 million in financing led by Kaszek Ventures, one of the leading funds in Latin America. That funding will be used to accelerate the company’s geographic expansion in response to increasing demand for digital solutions in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.

“Because of Covid-19, consumers’ willingness to conduct real estate transactions online has gone through the roof,” said Sánchez Ríos, in a statement. “Fortunately we were in the position to enable that, and we expect to see a permanent shift online in how people conduct all, or at least most, of the home-buying process. This funding gives us ample runway to build the end-to-end real estate experience for the post-Covid Latin America.”

Joining NFX, Rascoff, and Kaszek Ventures are a slew of investors including Acrew Capital, IMO Ventures and Beresford Ventures. Entrepreneurs like Nubank founder David Velez; Brian Requarth, the founder of Vivareal (now GrupoZap); and Hadi Partovi, CEO and founder of Code.org also participated in the financing.

“We backed La Haus because we saw many of the same ingredients that resulted in a fantastic outcome for many of our successful companies: A world-class team with complementary skills; a huge addressable market; and an almost religious zeal by the founders to solve a big problem with technology,” said Hernan Kazah, co-founder and managing partner of Kaszek Ventures. 

La Haus is bringing US tech services to Latin America’s real estate market

The alchemy for a successful startup can be hard to parse. Sometimes, it’s who you know. Sometimes it’s where you go to school. And sometimes it’s what you do. In the case of La Haus, a startup that wants to bring US tech-enabled real estate services to the Latin American real estate market, it’s all three.

The company was founded by Jerónimo Uribe and Rodrigo Sánchez Ríos, both graduates of Stanford University who previously founded and ran Jaguar Capital, a Colombian real estate development firm which had built over $350 million worth of retail and residential projects in the country.

Uribe, son of the controversial Colombian President Daniel Uribe (who has been accused of financing paramilitary forces during Colombia’s long-running civil war and wire-tapping journalists and negotiators during the peace talks to end the conflict) and Sánchez Ríos, a former private equity professional at the multi-billion dollar firm Lindsey Goldberg were exposed to the perils and promise of real estate development with their former firm.

Now the two entrepreneurs are using their know-how, connections, and a new technology stack to streamline the home-buying process.

It’s that ambition that caught the attention of Pete Flint, the founder of Trulia and now an investor at the venture capital firm NfX. Flint, an early investor in La Haus saw the potential in La Haus to help the Latin American real estate market leapfrog the services available in the US. Spencer Rascoff, the co-founder of Zillow also invested in the company.

“Latin America is very early on in its infancy of having really professional agents and really professional brokerages,” said Flint.

LaHaus, with a product that guides homebuyers through every stage of the process with its own agents and salespeople selling properties sourced from the company’s developer connections.

“The average hone in the US sells in six weeks or less,” said La Haus chief financial officer Sánchez Ríos in an interview. “That timing in Latin America is fourteen months. That’s the dramatic difference. There is no infrastructure in Latin America as a whole.”

La Haus began by reaching out to the founders’ old colleagues in the real estate development industry and started listing new developments on its service. Now the company has a mix of existing and new properties for sale on its site and an expanded geographic footprint in both Colombia and Mexico.

“We have a portal… that acts as a lead generating machine,” said Sánchez Ríos. “We aggregate listings, we vet them. We focus on new developers.”

The company has about 500 developers using the service to list properties in Colombia and another 200 in Mexico. So far, the company has facilitated over 2000 transactions through its platform in three years.

“Real estate now is turning fully digital and also in this market professionalizing,” said Flint. “The publicly traded online real estate companies are approaching all time highs. People are just prizing the space that they spend their time in… the technologies from VR and digital walkthroughs to digital closes become not just a nice to have but a necessity. “

Capitalizing on the open field in the market, La Haus recently closed on $10 million in financing led by Kaszek Ventures, one of the leading funds in Latin America. That funding will be used to accelerate the company’s geographic expansion in response to increasing demand for digital solutions in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.

“Because of Covid-19, consumers’ willingness to conduct real estate transactions online has gone through the roof,” said Sánchez Ríos, in a statement. “Fortunately we were in the position to enable that, and we expect to see a permanent shift online in how people conduct all, or at least most, of the home-buying process. This funding gives us ample runway to build the end-to-end real estate experience for the post-Covid Latin America.”

Joining NFX, Rascoff, and Kaszek Ventures are a slew of investors including Acrew Capital, IMO Ventures and Beresford Ventures. Entrepreneurs like Nubank founder David Velez; Brian Requarth, the founder of Vivareal (now GrupoZap); and Hadi Partovi, CEO and founder of Code.org also participated in the financing.

“We backed La Haus because we saw many of the same ingredients that resulted in a fantastic outcome for many of our successful companies: A world-class team with complementary skills; a huge addressable market; and an almost religious zeal by the founders to solve a big problem with technology,” said Hernan Kazah, co-founder and managing partner of Kaszek Ventures. 

Volkswagen sinks another $200 million into solid-state battery company QuantumScape

Volkswagen said Tuesday it has invested another $200 million into QuantumScape, a Stanford University spinout developing solid-state batteries as the automaker bets on a next-generation technology that will unlock longer ranges and faster charging times in electric vehicles.

Volkswagen’s relationship with QuantumScape, which had early backing from Kleiner Perkins and Khosla Ventures, actually stretches back to 2012. The two companies formed a joint venture in 2018 to accelerate the development solid-state battery technology and then produce them at commercial scale.

Volkswagen made an initial $100 million investment into QuantumScape in September 2018. The additional $200 million aims to accelerate that joint development work, according to Thomas Schmall, chairman of the board of management of Volkswagen Group components, which has end-to-end responsibility for batteries.

The companies have plans to set up a pilot plant for the industrial-level production of the solid-state batteries. Volkswagen said plans for this pilot factory will be “firmed up” sometime this year.

Two years ago, Volkswagen set a target to establish a production line for these batteries by 2025.

Today’s electric vehicles used lithium-ion batteries. A battery contains two electrodes. There’s an anode (negative) on one side and a cathode (positive) on the other. An electrolyte sits in the middle and acts as the courier that moves ions between the electrodes when charging and discharging. Solid-state batteries use a solid electrolyte, and not a liquid of gel-based electrolyte found in lithium-ion batteries.

Developers claim that solid electrolytes have greater energy density, which translates into squeezing more range out of smaller and lighter battery. Solid electrolytes also are supposed to be better at thermal management, reducing the risk of fire and the reliance on the kinds of cooling systems found in today’s EVs.

The cost of solid-state batteries has been a difficult hurdle to overcome. And yet the promise of this technology at commercial scale has prompted a number of automakers to pursue it. BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and Toyota are just a handful of automakers investing in the research and development of solid-state battery technology.

Volkswagen sinks another $200 million into solid-state battery company QuantumScape

Volkswagen said Tuesday it has invested another $200 million into QuantumScape, a Stanford University spinout developing solid-state batteries as the automaker bets on a next-generation technology that will unlock longer ranges and faster charging times in electric vehicles.

Volkswagen’s relationship with QuantumScape, which had early backing from Kleiner Perkins and Khosla Ventures, actually stretches back to 2012. The two companies formed a joint venture in 2018 to accelerate the development solid-state battery technology and then produce them at commercial scale.

Volkswagen made an initial $100 million investment into QuantumScape in September 2018. The additional $200 million aims to accelerate that joint development work, according to Thomas Schmall, chairman of the board of management of Volkswagen Group components, which has end-to-end responsibility for batteries.

The companies have plans to set up a pilot plant for the industrial-level production of the solid-state batteries. Volkswagen said plans for this pilot factory will be “firmed up” sometime this year.

Two years ago, Volkswagen set a target to establish a production line for these batteries by 2025.

Today’s electric vehicles used lithium-ion batteries. A battery contains two electrodes. There’s an anode (negative) on one side and a cathode (positive) on the other. An electrolyte sits in the middle and acts as the courier that moves ions between the electrodes when charging and discharging. Solid-state batteries use a solid electrolyte, and not a liquid of gel-based electrolyte found in lithium-ion batteries.

Developers claim that solid electrolytes have greater energy density, which translates into squeezing more range out of smaller and lighter battery. Solid electrolytes also are supposed to be better at thermal management, reducing the risk of fire and the reliance on the kinds of cooling systems found in today’s EVs.

The cost of solid-state batteries has been a difficult hurdle to overcome. And yet the promise of this technology at commercial scale has prompted a number of automakers to pursue it. BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and Toyota are just a handful of automakers investing in the research and development of solid-state battery technology.

Marietje Schaake is ‘very concerned about the future of democracy’

In the ten years she spent as a member of the European Parliament, Marietje Schaake became one of Brussels’ leading voices on technology policy issues.

A Dutch politician from the centrist-liberal Democrats 66 party, Schaake has been called “Europe’s most wired” politician. Since stepping down at the last European Parliament elections in 2019, she has doubled down with her work on cyber policy, becoming president of the CyberPeace Institute in Geneva and moving to the heart of Silicon Valley, where she has joined Stanford University as both the International Director of Policy at Stanford’s Cyber Policy Center, as well as an International Policy Fellow at its Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence.

I spoke with her about her top cyber policy concerns, the prospects of greater U.S.-EU cooperation on technology and much more.

Can you tell me about your journey from MEP in Brussels to think tank in academia?

There were a variety of reasons why I thought a third term was not the best thing for me to do. I started thinking about what would be a good way to continue, focusing on the fight for justice, for universal human rights and increasingly for the rule of law. A number of academic institutions, especially in the U.S. reached out, and we started a conversation about what the options might be, what I thought would be worthwhile. [My goal] was to understand where tech is going and what does it mean for society, for democracy, for human rights and the rule of law? But also how do the politics of Silicon Valley work?

I feel like there’s a huge opportunity, if not to say gap, on the West Coast when it comes to a policy shop — both to scrutinize policy that the companies are making and to look at what government is doing because Sacramento is super interesting. 

So from a policy perspective, what areas of tech are you thinking about most?

I’m very concerned about the future of democracy in the broadest sense of the word. I feel like we need to understand better how the architecture of information flows and how it impacts our offline democratic world. The more people get steered in a certain direction, the more the foundations of actual liberalism and liberal democracy are challenged. And I feel like we just don’t look at that enough.

Jane VC, a new fund for female entrepreneurs, wants founders to cold email them

Want to pitch a venture capitalist? You’ll need a “warm introduction” first. At least that’s what most in the business will advise.

Find a person, typically a man, who made the VC you’re interested in pitching a whole bunch of money at some point and have them introduce you. Why? Because VCs love people who’ve made them money; naturally, they’ll be willing to hear you out if you’ve got at least one money maker on your side.

There’s a big problem with that cycle. Not all entrepreneurs are friendly with millionaires and not all entrepreneurs, especially those based outside Silicon Valley or from underrepresented backgrounds, have anyone in their network to provide them that coveted intro.

Jane VC, a new venture fund based out of Cleveland and London wants entrepreneurs to cold email them. Send them your pitch, no wealthy or successful intermediary necessary. The fund, which has so far raised $2 million to invest between $25,000 and $150,000 in early-stage female-founded companies across industries, is scrapping the opaque, inaccessible model of VC that’s been less than favorable toward women.

“We like to say that Jane VC is venture for every woman,” the firm’s co-founder Jennifer Neundorfer told TechCrunch.

Neundorfer, who previously co-founded and led an accelerator for Midwest startups called Flashstarts after stints at 21st Century Fox and YouTube, partnered with her former Stanford business school classmate Maren Bannon, the former chief executive officer and co-founder of LittleLane. So far, they’ve backed insurtech company Proformex and Hatch Apps, an enterprise software startup that makes it easier for companies to create and distribute mobile and web apps.

“We are going to shoot them straight”

Jane VC, like many members of the next generation of venture capital funds, is bucking the idea that the best founders can only be found in Silicon Valley. Instead, the firm is going global and operating under the philosophy that a system of radical transparency and honesty will pay off.

“Let’s be efficient with an entrepreneur’s time and say no if it’s not a hit,” Neundorfer said. “I’ve been on the opposite end of that coaching. So many entrepreneurs think a VC is interested and they aren’t. An entrepreneur’s time is so valuable and we want to protect that. We are going to shoot them straight.”

Though Jane VC plans to invest across the globe, the firm isn’t turning its back on Bay Area founders. Neundorfer and Bannon will leverage their Silicon Valley network and work with an investment committee of nine women based throughout the U.S. to source deals. 

“We are women that have raised money and have been through the ups and downs of raising money in what is a very male-dominated world,” Neundorfer added. “We believe that investing in women is not only the right thing to do but that you can make a lot of money doing it.”

Stanford Partners With Life Sciences Marketplace Quartzy For Campus Lab Supplies

Stanford_Arches2.tif Quartzy is a lab supplies marketplace often used among life scientists at various universities, but particularly at Stanford. The academic institution made that relationship official today. Quartzy will now be deployed in labs across Stanford campus to save the university cash on lab supplies. The Quartzy marketplace launched out of Y Combinator four years back to provide an easier way… Read More

The Interdependency Of Stanford And Silicon Valley

stanforddish There was a time when Stanford University was considered a second-rate engineering school. It was the early 1940s, and the Department of Defense was pressed to assemble a top-secret team to understand and attack Germany’s radar system during World War II. It’s hard to imagine Stanford passed over as an innovation hub today — Stanford has outpaced some of the biggest Ivy… Read More