Our company has recently been spotted in the Brazilian media as the entrepreneurial skyline rises. First, Valor Econômico published an article based on an interview with our CEO, Brian Requarth. More recently, Veja, the Brazilian leading weekly magazine (considered the Time Magazine of Brazil), included VivaReal in a piece on the gaining momentum of foreign startups in the country. Here is an abridged version of both articles in English.
Valor Econômico: In Spite of US Crisis, VivaReal Thrives in Brazil and Latin America
(Adapted from the article published on the 18th of November, 2011)
The American entrepreneur Brian Requarth has found in Latin America, particularly in Brazil, an alternative to the US real estate crisis for his company VivaReal. Founded in 2007 in San Francisco, California, the company has then focused in developing the largest portal for purchase, sale and leasing of properties for the Spanish-speaking market.
Recently, the company received a second round of investment from high profile angel investors, enabling it to tackle the Latin American markets. Among the investors were Greg Waldorf, creator of eHarmony; Chamath Palihapitya, former vice-president of Facebook; Dave McClure, member of the US 500Startups fund and Wenceslao Casares, member of the Meck investments fund of Chile.
“I’ve always had an interest in maintaining business in Latin America, but the investors were not willing to run the risk” says Requarth. However, as soon as the real estate market bubble burst in the second quarter of 2008, the plans for VivaReal and its investors did change. Requarth went forward with business in Latin America, which continued to grow despite the crisis, with websites in Mexico, Colombia and Brazil. The investors seemed more open to bet on Brazil, which had already obtained the necessary level of investment and also showed sustainable economic growth.
The Brazilian subsidiary was founded towards the end of 2009. It’s corresponding portal went into action in early 2010. In order to swiftly attract the announcements of property owners, real estate brokers and constructors, the company initiated it’s operations in Brazil with an aggressive price strategy. In little less than a year, the portal went on to manage an offer of over 220,000 properties in all the country.
According to Brian Requarth, the number of property announcements in Brazil has now grown between 20 to 25% a month. “In Brazil, there’s more than two million properties on sale. There’s a market potential to expand within the country.” Requarth tells us.
Veja: Foreign Entrepreneurs Betting for Brazil
Brian Requarth, American (VivaReal.com.br)
The 31-year-old American CEO settled in São Paulo a few months ago. Born in California, he always nurtured a taste for the Brazilian culture. Aware of Brazil’s economic growth and with the increasing interest for entrepreneurial investments in the country, he decided to bring his already fruitful business covering the US, Colombia and Mexico, to the Brazilian market: a portal where people go to buy, sell and rent property. Two performance differentials stand out as key to the portal’s success: an exclusive portal for international customers and a Facebook plug-in for comments on the properties. In his words: “I came to Brazil for the first time in 2001. I had finished a course in Argentina, where I met the Brazilian Diego Simon, my current business partner. I spent some days in Rio, Salvador and Foz do Iguaçu. During that time I thought I should start something out here”. In 2007, the entrepreneur returned to Brazil to study the market and after two years he launched the Brazilian version of his startup. “In the beginning the angel investors didn’t want to hear about Brazil. Now they are paying great attention to it”, says Requarth.
Excerpt from the article published on the 31st of December, 2011