Mexico is experiencing something of a PropTech boom at the moment. It's a big, largely homogenous market with a lot of problems that Latin American entrepreneurs like Jorge Combe believe can be solved with data.
Combe co-founded Mexico City-based DD360 in 2017 after working in capital markets with real estate developers. The company works in both FinTech and PropTech and recently built out its B2C marketplace and appraisals platform, Monopolio.
We asked Combe (pictured below) a few questions to find out more about the opportunity that exists around providing data and transparency in the Mexican market...
We aim to solve two main challenges: as a fintech company - becoming a more efficient and value-added lender for our clients (both b2b and b2c), and as a proptech company - directly connecting participants through a seamless and personalized AI-driven marketplace.
Since our founding, DD360 has consistently achieved solid earnings. Our financial products outperform traditional bank alternatives, allowing the profits from our fintech branch to subsidize proptech products for end users.
This unique advantage permits us to provide clients with industry insights, information, pricing, appraisals, and other services derived from the marketplace at no cost.
We have engaged in discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, from the most prominent portals in Mexico to niche marketplaces. What we are observing is an inclination to employ familiar technology for more of the same.
However, we have yet to encounter compelling strategies for building an ecosystem that leverages new technologies to bridge demand and supply. Additionally, there is a noticeable trend towards increasing prices to achieve profitability. This situation has escalated to the point where the Mexican Association of Brokers has issued a statement against these predatory practices.
Gathering this data has proven more challenging than ideal, but we have largely mastered the process. Our value prediction models rely on what should be publicly available cadastre records. However, in Mexico, this information is either digitized or not at the discretion of each county.
Once obtained, our data science team merges it with listings for sale and rent, our internal database of ongoing real estate developments, and models for indicators such as walkability, transit, security, depreciation, and appreciation.
Through our fintech operations, which involve funding developers and end customers, we recognized the challenges in bridging these two groups. While some players attempt to connect them, they often neglect the natural intermediary, the brokers.
The broker's role is vital. By incorporating listings and broker-centric features, we aim to streamline the process and empower all participants, without charging fees. We envision Monopolio becoming an ecosystem tool that adds value throughout, from supply creation to demand fulfilment, leveraging data and technology to enhance efficiency and establish fair pricing.
This trend is widespread across various startup sectors. Mexico boasts the largest Spanish-speaking population in Latin America (130 million people), with 90% owning phones and engaging online. These factors make Mexico an attractive prospect for any company aspiring to establish a billion-dollar enterprise in the region.
We commenced as a b2b enterprise in real estate due to the identification of issues with traditional financial options for builders. Banks were slow in approving credits, managing tranches, and lacked technological innovation. Leveraging our expertise, we swiftly delivered a competitive product. Moreover, b2b is a concentrated domain with a handful of significant players, enabling us to deeply understand them and devise solutions as a swift and efficient financial partner.
Although we are only starting in the b2c sphere, we believe our unique proposition can contribute significantly to the Mexican market. We provide mortgages to individuals typically excluded from the conventional financial system or seeking flexible loans, a critical concern for real estate investors and first-time buyers. Our mortgages and the Monopolio platform aim to ensure equitable access to wealth creation through real estate, offering fair loans and unbiased information. There is an entire generation needing these products.
We are reinforcing our fintech products by introducing a platform that assists developers in managing operational progress, financial needs, and the sales pipeline. Our current focus centers on aiding developers in harnessing cutting-edge technologies.
We are on the brink of unveiling AI-powered tools to simplify the uploading of available properties and inventory management. For instance, we can enhance renders, convert them into layouts and 3D models, and soon provide virtual reality tours. Our objective is to offer these plug-and-play tools to brokers and developers.
The most common request is to be integrated into our platform! The broker, developer, and end-user community is enthusiastic about updating or uploading their property information to Monopolio. We are even testing a crowdsourcing tool that enables users to propose edits to properties they are familiar with, along with another tool for developers and brokers to directly upload their information.
We envision a future dominated by AI-powered superagents, capable of assisting consumers across various searches, tasks, and issues. As part of this vision, we have introduced our own WhatsApp RE Agent, named PAM. PAM can locate listings, address real estate queries, and provide assistance across different search scenarios.
We also believe in the unrestricted flow of information and a world where free products empower consumers to directly access the best financing, appraisals, brokers, renewals, and fair prices.