A Latin American short-term rental startup just raised $48 million in a Series A led by a16z. Here's the deck it uses to pitch institutional landlords it looks to partner with.

  • Casai, a Mexico City-based short-term rental startup, announced Wednesday that it has raised $48 million in debt and equity in a round led by Silicon Valley-heavyweights Andreessen Horowitz.
  • This round is the largest Series A fundraise in Mexican history. 
  • Casai CEO and cofounder Nico Barawid walked Business Insider through the deck the company uses to attract new landlords to its service.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Mexico City-based short-term rental startup Casai has raised a $48 million Series A round, the largest Series A in Mexican history. 

The round is led by Silicon Valley-heavyweights Andreessen Horowitz, and also includes new funders Liquid 2 Ventures, Tom Stafford, a managing partner at DST Global, and the founders of other prominent Latin American startups.

The round is a mix of $23 million in equity and up to $25 million in debt financing from Triple Point Capital. 

Previous funders Kaszek Ventures, Monashees Capital, and Global Founders Capital have also returned for this round, after participating in the company's 2019 $5 million seed round. 

The company, which has almost 200 units in Mexico City and has launched an office in Sao Paolo to support a 2021 expansion to more of Latin America, brings boutique hotel style and operation to the short-term rental space. While companies that do this are attracting a lot of attention in the United States, like Sonder to Zeus Living, the sector is less common in emerging markets like Mexico, according to CEO and cofounder Nico Barawid.

Before starting Casai last year, Barawid worked in Silicon Valley, most recently as head of international business at Nova Credit, which imports credit scores and financial histories across borders. Barawid traveled a lot for his job, and found that emerging markets often had wide variations between the quality of short-term rentals, with some lacking amenities that frequent travelers come to expect, like WiFi.

Barawid's original concept, creating a more repeatable short-term rental experience in an emerging market, came to fruition when he met his co-founder and COO of the company, María del Carmen Herrerías Salazar. Salazar was previously a financial planning manager at Grupo Presidente, one of Mexico's largest hotel operating companies. 

"I was craving this from a consumer angle and I wanted to buy it, and she was thinking about it from an operating angle," Barawid said.

The company launched last year, and early on had to face the pandemic and its effect on the global travel world, which shuttered short-term rental startup Lyric and put stress on Zeus Living. Barawid said that the company's occupancy rate fell from 100% in February and early March, but is now higher than 80%. 

Read more: Vacation homeowners are turning properties into quarantine havens by beefing up amenities to include protective masks and large cases of wine

He also said that the company has seen reservations start to trend longer, a substantial increase in domestic travel, and the majority of customers booking directly. Previously almost all of their bookings came through channels like Airbnb.

Barawid shared the company's partnership deck, which they present to landlords that they'd like to partner with. The company both rents directly from landlords and has entered into revenue-share agreements, an increasingly popular trend in short-term rentals and its office cousin, coworking, where landlords share in the potential profits and in the potential losses of Casai.

Barawid said that landlords are very traditional in Latin America and can be hesitant to work with new partners, so the deck highlights the experience of the company's executive team, commitment to design, and the investors that have backed it.

"They want to know that their real estate will be a safe source of yield for them, and they see that by seeing we can effectively take care of them," Barawid said.

Read below to see the company's pitch to major landlords. 

Casai's deck is design-heavy to signal to landlords the importance the company places on how its units look.

This pitch is familiar to those paying attention to the short-term rental space. The difference is the markets that Casai is focusing on.

The deck is interspersed with images of Casai interiors. Barawid said that the company's apartments have been utilized by fashion photographers to stage shoots.

This slide highlights the customers that Casai is looking to attract.

Barawid said that Mexico's real estate industry is more conservative than America's. This slide is to educate landlords of the opportunity in short-term rentals.

Casai looks to marry the consistency of a hotel with the home-like locations of short-term rentals.

Casai sources most of its furniture and fixtures from local artisans.

An example of how Casai designs their apartments.

This page shows why customers would use Casai versus other options and shows landlords why a partnership could drive revenue for them.

Casai's value proposition lies between boutique hotels, a smart home, and an apartment.

More images of Casai units.

This slide makes the case that after a challenging period in the travel industry, Casai and other short-term rental companies are in a good position as travel recovers.

Another slide showcasing Casai's design.

Barawid said this slide was one of the most important slides, as it showed potential partners that they were 'the right team to execute on a challenge.'

This slide has a similar goal, using the company's impressive list of funders to give potential partners' confidence in their ability to manage property well.

This slide highlights the ways the company gives back to its local community.

This slide showcases the app Casai uses to manage guest stays.

And this slide showcases smart home controls in the home.

The company also offers in-app local recommendations and a 24/7 remote concierge team.

Casai's focus on interior design is again highlighted in conjunction with its partnership with local artisans.

In fact, art that the company displays can be purchased by guests by scanning a QR code under the art.


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