Ten Questions With... Antonio Darszon, co-founder & CEO of Netta

September 13, 2022
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The Latin American real estate marketplace industry is booming, and there's always room for new players looking to stamp their vision on the industry. One such example is Netta, a Mexican startup launched in September 2021 by Antonio "Nono" Darszon and Julio Pradera.

We caught up with Nono to ask him ten questions about Netta. Here's what he had to say:

 

Hi Nono. What is the current state of the Mexican Rental market?

Hi. According to the National Household Survey of 2020 (ENVI), there are approximately 5.8 million rental properties in Mexico.

Unfortunately, being a landlord in Mexico is a messy experience:

  • Lack of rental contracts (46% of properties don’t have them - ENVI)
  • Lack of basic accounting tools (79.5% of Mexican adults don’t track their expenses according to CONDUSEF)
  • Lack of property management systems and most importantly, financing methods.

People assume that landlords have easy access to credit, but in Mexico that’s not always the case (only 27.5% of adults access debt in a formal setting according to CONDUSEF).

 

The real estate portals in Mexico and their traffic according to Similarweb

 

What problem does Netta solve?

Netta is the one-stop shop providing landlords with a clear digital ledger, help with collection and with maintenance requests. On the financing side, we have launched our “netta adelantos” product, which gives landlords the chance to get an advance on their rental income for a fixed % fee.

We aim to bridge any liquidity needs and help landlords keep their tenants if a repair is needed. We also want to avoid tenants knowing their landlords have debt, which is why the “adelantos” product works well under the property management umbrella.

 

 

What is Netta’s USP?

We are going after a lower-income demographic than our competition, which fits into our mission of having as much economic impact as possible.

We offer the best property management and financing tools for the do-it-yourself landlord who wants to be in control. Nobody will take better care of your rental property than yourself, but we want to make the experience more enjoyable and less stressful.

 

 

What is it about the Mexican real estate market that makes Netta’s product attractive to landlords?

What makes this product attractive for landlords is that they pay a much smaller fee to Netta (2%) than they would to a traditional property management company (~10%), but they keep control of their property. It sounds counterintuitive, but in this section of the population, few of them use property management companies and many don’t trust them.

 

 

What is Netta’s biggest challenge?

Cash is our enemy.

Many landlords still collect their rent in cash, which limits Netta's target market. However, we believe that the decline in cash usage, increasing financial technology adoption and stricter legislation are moving things in the right direction.

 

Headshot White

Antonio Darszon (pictured) founded Netta in September 2021

Who is more important to market to—landlords or tenants?

Both. The project started with a tenant focus, where we wanted to build a record that gave tenants credibility that led to financial inclusion.

But when we launched we realized that our focus needs to be on the landlord first, since they are the ones who decide whether to use the product or not.

Our goal is to build a platform that is fair, objective, and transparent, which does not benefit one party more than the other but helps both sides achieve their goals.

 

 

We spotted that Netta has its own marketplace for vacant rental properties. Is that something you monetize or just something that’s nice to have?

For now, it's nice to have. We noticed that a large part of the interest we were attracting came from landlords with unoccupied properties.

By offering them free access to the marketplace, we get them on our platform and hopefully manage their properties once they rent them out.

 

 

What is Netta currently working on?

Now that the “adelantos netta” is live, we want to improve our user experience and fully develop our digital contract integration, so both landlords and tenants can sign their contracts and contract renewals remotely.

 

 

What is the most common request from clients?

We recently conducted a survey with landlords in our target market that told us collection (>50%) and maintenance (~20%) were the landlords’ biggest pain points.

It’s funny because we’ve learned that property management is like selling a calculator, different people use/want different features, but they somehow expect them all to be readily available. 

 

 

How do you see the market evolving and what will you be doing to be ahead of the curve?

We believe that people will have even fewer possessions and more subscriptions in the future. We see rent as the biggest (and oldest) subscription people pay monthly, and we only see that increasing. According to a recent local survey, there was a 24% growth in residential rentals in 2021 in Mexico.

While it is unfortunate that it’s becoming harder and harder for people to own their own home, we think this can be an opportunity for younger tenants to get the flexibility and mobility they desire.

We believe Netta will be best positioned to grasp this trend, especially in the thicker part of the income pyramid.

September 13, 2022
Harvey is an experienced property journalist and copywriter. He has written about the property industry since 2015, starting at The Property Franchise Group in the UK, before moving to Spain to work for Spotahome. He has blogged for the private rented sector, ghostwritten for UK property experts and written case studies for franchise owners around the UK. Harvey joined Online Marketplaces as a News Editor in 2022.

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