By Kylie Madry
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Colombia's TuHabi became the country's first property technology "unicorn," or company with a $1 billion valuation, after announcing a fresh $200 million funding round earlier this week.
The company is just the second Colombian startup to reach unicorn status, following delivery application Rappi, which hit $1 billion valuation in 2018.
The property technology, or proptech, startup allows buyers to sell their home through a website and receive payment within 10 days, cofounder Sebastian Noguera told Reuters. He added it often takes a year and a half on average for homeowners in Mexico and Colombia to sell a home and receive payment.
"So imagine, that makes selling a home almost impossible."
TuHabi, short for "Tu Habitacion" or "Your Room" in Spanish, buys homes directly and sells them through local brokers. Due in part to a lack of easily accessible sales records in Mexico and Colombia, TuHabi uses an algorithm to calculate a home's value.
TuHabi was founded in Colombia in 2019 and expanded to Mexico two years later following a $100 million funding round. So far this year the firm has bought two Mexican real estate companies: Tu Canton and the parent company of Propiedades.com, Okol.
The startup will use the majority of its so-called Series C funding to focus on its Mexican expansion, said Noguera, and will primarily buy properties.
TuHabi faces competition in Mexico from startup Flat.mx, which also buys homes in 10 days or less.
Noguera said the latest funding round was led by SoftBank and U.S. venture capital firm Homebrew, with buy-in from Mexico's Grupo Financiero Banorte.
TuHabi declined to specify what investors will receive in return for their cash injections.
The plans follow SoftBank's posting a record $26.2 billion loss in its Vision Fund investment arm on Thursday as rising interest rates and political instability caused whiplash in tech shares.
(Reporting by Kylie Madry in Mexico City; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Matthew Lewis)