HomeBase raises $30M to help more people in Southeast Asia become property owners

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home baseThe Ho Chi Minh City-based proptech startup that helps people buy homes, announced today that it has raised $30 million in equity and debt (ratio was unknown). The company’s business model is similar to that of Divi Homes and ZeroDown in the United States and, in fact, Divi Homes co-founder and former CEO Brian Ma and ZeroDown’s Chief Operating Officer Troy Steckenraider III are investors in Homebase.

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Participants in this round included Y Combinator (Homebase participated in the accelerator program earlier this year), PartTech Partners, Goodwater Capital, Ace & Company, Amies Advisors and Foundational. It also included Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel and operators and executives from companies such as SoFi, Opendoor, Republic, Microsoft, Instacart, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Binance and others.

Returning investors of the round were Ma, StackenRider, VinaCapital Ventures and Darius Cheung, founder and CEO of 99.co, one of the largest property portals in Singapore and Indonesia.

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Homebase operates as a co-investor, buying properties with clients making a 20% deposit. Customers then pay a fixed amount to Homebase each month, or may decide to purchase the entire stock of the company. They can also choose to walk away from the deal and redeem their savings.

Customers have the right to have full use of the house, so they can live in it or rent it out. Contracts range from one to 10 years and people who buy homes to live in often choose 10-year contracts, while investors typically go for around three years, so they can see the property. How does the market appreciate before selling?

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Homebase will use its new funding to continue developing its proprietary technology, forging more partnerships with real estate developers and hiring. The company says it has doubled its workforce in the past year.

In terms of its technology, co-founder and COO Philippe Ann told Nerdshala, “It has a lot to do with how we improve the customer experience and make it more customer-centric? Buying a property in Vietnam right now is really painful. It’s like 100 steps, you have to sign in blue ink on paper, at the bottom of each page. We are thinking about how you make the experience of buying a home or investing in a one-stop shop where you all Some can do it digitally.”

He added that Homebase is also looking at developing asset valuation tools to help homeowners and passive investors assess the value of their properties.

Homebase’s customer base is split 50/50 between those who want a home and investors, including foreign buyers who cannot travel to Vietnam due to the pandemic and rely on Homebase to conduct transactions for them.

“The concept of owning your own home is quite culturally important and if you look at the economy, real estate is one of the most popular types of investment,” Ann said. “People are investing more and more in crypto and stocks, especially during COVID, but I would say that real estate still makes up a big part of people putting their money. And if you look at the historical track record of real estate in Vietnam Let’s see, it’s really good.”

Homebase cited research by real estate consultancy CBRE It showed that even during Vietnam’s COVID-19 lockdown during the third quarter, average land property prices increased 3% to 17% year-on-year. This is good news for those who already have a property, but it means that it is becoming increasingly difficult for first time buyers to pledge.

Homebase works with agents and developers as a value-added service that helps them score more deals. “For many agents, the biggest hurdle for them is that customers cannot immediately qualify for a mortgage due to constraints. Post-COVID, I would say banks have become even stricter in terms of criteria. Ever -Sometimes they require a 40% to 50% down payment.”

Having a homebase to buy a property on behalf of a client makes the process more efficient and as a result, agents sometimes offer discounts to buyers when they use the startup’s services, said one.

The company will continue to focus on Vietnam by expanding to more cities over the next few months (it currently operates in Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, Hanoi and Danang). It is also exploring other Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and the Philippines.

“Investors, even customers, reached out to us on social media and asked if we were available in their country, so I think there is a lot of demand from customers for these types of services which make the home more help make it accessible,” said one.

In a statement about its investment in Homebase, Siebel said, “We’ve seen a number of innovative proptech companies in YC from all over the world, and Homebase is one of those that are vastly superior and more customer-facing than existing alternatives.” focused solutions, and fundamentally transforms accessibility for aspiring homeowners.”

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