The 26th Property Portal Watch Conference was held in Madrid this past November; it was our largest event thus far, with 400+ C-Level leaders attending from 40 different countries around the world, among them, InfoCasas, a top online real estate portal that connects buyers, sellers, and renters with properties in Latin America. Ricardo Frechou, CEO at InfoCasas granted us an interview during the conference.
"We are a real estate portal that was born in Uruguay in 2014 and then expanded into Paraguay, Bolivia, and Peru", said Frechou. "In Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia we are leaders in the 'real estate portal' format and in Peru, we disembarked last year with a 100% transaction-focused model, we are not with a classifieds portal, but we enter with a new construction online sales model, it is where the company is going. We conducted this pilot experience in Peru, it went very well and now we are in the process of evaluation to open a new market or strengthen the four markets where we currently are, which amounts to nearly 40 million people," added Frechou.
OnlineMarketplaces: What do you consider the biggest innovation in your region and why?
Ricardo Frechou: There is something that we hold in advantage in South America or in emerging countries, it is the fact that we do not have the bureaucracy of very large companies already established and we can move into the direction of a 'good idea', for example, transactions are something that we are probably more accelerated or advanced in than they may be in already developed countries with great players. Today in our industry and in our market, there is a lot of innovation there is still no single way, but it is being tested in annual sales or rental or temporary rental transactions, there are a lot of innovations that are emerging right now, there is no clear winner.
OM: What are some new products, methods or processes that your company is implementing or will be implementing?
RF: A great innovation we've implemented in the past few months has been that we are centralizing all the communication driving it from Uruguay headquarters, and we are working with a Machine Learning communication tool we create a tool that can proactively initiate 60,000 conversations per day, to meet the needs of the people answering the buyer or who inquires about the property, internally between agents or between portal and agents, we are working hard on the tool, it is a Box center with Machine Learning.
OM: What do you consider to be one of the main issues of real estate portals today?
RF: One of the biggest challenges is the change of industry, the Protech which is one of the things that are fashionable, almost 40% of the risk funds are turned into Protech, there is currently a lot of innovation and there is no clear path, the portals continue what are classifieds in newspapers and now back is being a disruption, where nobody will end up, there are great players like the horizontals that are also watching our industry, so we are in the middle of a beautiful revolution.
OM: Is there one thing you would have done differently with your company, knowing what you know now?
RF: The truth is that we would change the scalar power, our company is based a lot on the culture of Performance and GrowHacking, but we really have it in our DNA so we set goals to grow more than 100% per semester, it is something that we were at the beginning more tabulated that we had to grow 40-50% per year. Today we notice that we can scale; we detect what have the variables that can be scaled, and so we accelerate a lot, we apply a lot of performance and grow-haking, then I would return to Ricardo and I would tell him, "you can accelerate faster".
OM: Can you share 3 tips for a startup company?
RF: Be cautious with the Excel … one tends to grow fast and the numbers in Excel are always attractive.
Have capital to survive the first year.
Try from day 1 to create a foundation of exponential growth philosophy, companies that are 5 years to show growth are over. We must show rapid exponential growth.
OM: What is your expectation with the conference?
We have attended this conference for a couple of years. We usually go to the one in Miami, then we came to the one in Europe. Our first focus is on networking, we meet many players from the industry, and the truth is that we have been establishing very good relationships… we get together, we talk, we see where each one is going and that is always good. We also learn about innovations. The truth is that I am a big fan of this type of conference, it is an event that we intend to continue attending.
Over 220 attendees are expected at our next event – the Asian Property Portal Watch Conference in Thailand. The Conference will be held in Bangkok from 26th to 27th February 2020. The conference will run for two days and will feature expert Industry Speakers, Innovative Companies at the forefront of the online real estate industry, and amazing Social Events around the conference that are perfect for networking.
We hope to see you there.
Join us February 26-27 for the Property Portal Watch Conference Bangkok 2020.