Quinto Andar: Eradicating Real Estate Bureaucracy through Digitizing
Brazilian residents-to-be have to wait 30 days to settle in a home. Guarantors, deposits, extensive paperwork, notaries - it all used to be part of the homeownership package. While the world swayed with technology, Brazil’s real estate business still struggled to catch the wave.
Luckily, Andre Penha and Gabriel Braga were there to digitalize the bureaucratic real estate choreography. Struck by the failing market, they took matters into their own hands and introduced the ultimate real estate platform, Quinto Andar.
Via a designated app, Quinto Andar aids the process of owning or renting a home in Brazil. From closing the deal to signing a contract between a tenant and a landlord - it’s all done exclusively online! Its electronic signature carries the same value as the physical and leads every Brazilian to their dream home!
No great success ever came from a comfort zone - here is how Andre and Gabriel built up Quinto Andar to become a $4 billion-worth real estate leader!
Andre Penha was born and raised in Brazil. Andre’s childhood was a balance between education and entertainment. Even as a child, he loved gaming, and took special interest in how games worked. Games aside, Andre was a bright kid with a special gift for numbers and algorithms. When the time came to decide on his career path, computers, maths and calculations were his first and only desire. Gabriel Braga was also born and raised in Brazil. He, on the other hand, never looked for a hero to save him but dreamed of being one himself. He loved to do something more with his skills and contribute to society in a valuable manner. His greatest forte were numbers, calculations, and equations. This later led him to become a superb business administrator aiming to recuperate the failing Brazilian economy.
A Citizen of the World
To commence his career path, Gabriel decided to dive headfirst into the business world. In 2000, he enrolled at University Federal de Minas Gerais to study Business Administration. Gabriel was a rockstar at his vocation and set up ambitious goals for himself from the get-go. When he was just a junior, the faculty offered him a student exchange program in collaboration with the HEC Liege University in Belgium. Gabriel saw it as a perfect opportunity to satiate his nomadic thirsts and packed his bags, heading for beautiful Belgium.
Following his return from the program, Gabriel enrolled in a Master's program at his home university. There, an entrepreneurial opportunity presented itself to him so he decided to quit his studies halfway and found a startup instead, carrying all entrepreneurial knowledge with him.
Breaking the stereotypes of business is a bold challenge Gabriel embraced. After quitting his studies, he registered at the Stanford University of California to continue where he left off, this time focused on entrepreneurship, design, and venture capital.
In 2004, Gabriel joined as an associate at Biominas Brazil, where he spent a few years. Prior to his Quinto Andar success, he also worked as the managing partner in Semeia, Brazil, the startup he had quit his studies for. Little did he know at the time that this startup would pave Gabriel’s path to utter success and business glory.
The Computer Whizz
When he first started his career, Andre decided to become fluent in computer science and engineering. Therefore, he enrolled at Universidade Estadual de Campinas, in the computer engineering department. When he was just a junior, he became an intern at Bosch where he learned some of the ins and outs of running a business. This blew a wind of opportunity in Andre’s back, and soon after his internship, he decided to found his first startup company called Overplay.
Andre graduated from university in 2003. That same year, he enrolled in the master's program to sharpen his knowledge in computer science. Andre acquired his Master's degree in 2007, which was his ticket to basically every related job he wanted. He started working as a director at Abragames, a Brazilian Association for game development. Andre remained in the director's chair for four and a half years before he began looking for career opportunities elsewhere.
With still a fresh gaming mind and focus, Andre soon founded and later managed Tectoy Group's game studio in Campinas, Brazil. Even after he became a founder, Andre still felt like he had been missing a key puzzle piece in his business story. Eager to solve the puzzle and make a difference, he enrolled at Stanford University.
The Missing Link
When Andre first set foot at Stanford University, he met Gabriel and befriended him at once. In the beginning, the duo didn't realize they were to become part of a bigger plan. Clashing two genius minds into one breakthrough concept led Andre and Gabriel to design and develop Quinto Andar.
The story of the platform first began when Gabriel Braga moved to São Paulo. What seemed to bug Gabriel enough to create the platform was the lack of reliable real estate information on the market. A home hunter at the time himself, Gabriel simply couldn’t find any appropriate housing to rent or buy. Given the flawed online real estate offering, he had to go house to house to evaluate each property. However, the real issue arose when the process demanded a guarantor or someone that could vouch for Gabriel’s financial ripeness. With the guarantee also came extensive paperwork, and neither concept appealed to Gabriel.
Despite Gabriel’s personal struggles to find a home, the real estate market was flawed in other ways, too. Andre, who had also wanted to rent a suitable property, found the agency process too demanding, complex, and annoying. As a result of various delays and inconsistencies, Andre didn't receive any news on his rental - for months.
Andre and Gabriel first discussed the lack of real estate service whilst both were still at Stanford University. Inspired by the university’s reputation, business opportunities, and encouragement, the duo decided not to leave the Brazilian real estate market sunk deeper, but create a suitable platform that would make renting and buying a home a piece of cake.
Rewriting the Rules of Bureaucracy
If you wanted to rent a house in Brazil in the early 2000s, you’d have to wait over a month until you could finally settle in. Cutting the wait short, however, Quinto Andar was envisioned as a platform that would digitize the entire real estate drill. To make it happen, the company employed digital signatures carrying the same legal value as physical signatures. To ease the process of finding a guarantor, Quinto Andar also concluded a deal with an international insurance policy called BNP Paribas. The latter spares future tenants from running deposits, searching for guarantors, or submitting other bonds.
The core product of the company is its app. That's the hotspot where landlords and tenants get together to arrange additional meetups or disclose a deal. Additionally, the company offers photographers at the landlord’s service. The photographers are arranged to take pictures of any property pitched on the app. The main purpose of the app is to spare the tenants and landlords time in doing unnecessary administrative tasks. It also served as a provider of verified and reliable information for any property of interest.
Quinto Andar was officially founded in 2013, in São Paulo, Brazil. To facilitate the process of owning or renting a home in the country, landlords on Quinto Andar are able to check the credit history of each tenant they have, thus ensuring they are financially capable to pay regular rent. Once the process is completed, a real estate deal is signed.
Moving a Stone Uphill
Initially, Quinto Andar’s founders struggled to land investors. Not because their idea was a failure, but because it sounded too good to be true to Brazilian homebuyers and renters. However, the founders were stone-set to keep pushing the platform forward, a journey that took them approximately three additional years.
Their bad luck finally expired in 2016, when Kaszek Venture invested $7 million in the company. That same year, the venture poured an additional $12.6 million into the platform. Following Kaszek Venture, seven other lead investors financially supported the idea of Quinto Andar as well. These included Ribbit Capital, General Atlantic, Ruane Cunniff, Qualcomm Ventures, and QED Investors, among others.
Thinking Ahead of the Game
With 750 employees, most of whom are women, Quinto Andar aims to become an internationally recognized platform battling the bureaucracies of the real estate market. In March 2021, the platform purchased Casa Minera, one of their most prominent real estate competitors, and estimated its platform worth at a staggering $4 billion.
With Quinto Andar, what used to take months on end to own or rent a home in Brazil is now done from a few hours to a few days. By digitizing the market in a way unseen before, Andre and Gabriel transformed themselves into mogul trailblazers whose vision is always a step ahead of the latest real estate market trends!