Mexican proptech Casai acquired its third company in Brazil. The short-term rentals startup is buying LoopKey, an access control company in Brazil, which provides an entry management system integrated with electronic locks. The deal amount was not disclosed, but Casai says it will invest $2 million (R$ 10 million) in LoopKey’s research and development.
Casai recently turned three years old. In Brazil, it has operated since May last year, focusing on smart accommodation and experience for guests. “Part of that experience was making sure that when they go to sleep they feel secure. After looking at the market we realized that LoopKey was the best technology for access control for smart locks and Pedro [Salum, LoopKey’s co-founder] and I started talking about a partnership, as Casai was a very big buyer of their locks in Brazil,” said Nico Barawid, Casai’s CEO and co-founder.
The smart lodging startup has been using LoopKey’s solution for hardware and software of access control in Brazil since then, and Barawid said it made sense to integrate even further with the acquisition. Now, Casai plans to extend LoopKey’s technology throughout the rest of the region. According to Barawid, Casai plans to offer more solutions similar to LoopKey, so that it can be not only a solution for guests but also for real estate partners as well.
Since its launch in Brazil, Casai says it has grown more than fourfold, driven by the acquisitions of the Brazilian real estate company Q Apartments in São Paulo and the Santa Catarina property management firm Roomin, in addition to the partnership with Six Stays, a São Paulo specialist in corporate housing. Barawid says Casai is well-funded for these acquisitions. The company received funding of more than $53 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Monashees, Kaszek, and TriplePoint Capital. “We only pursue acquisitions if the team is a good fit for Casai and also if it is a city where we are excited to continue investing,” says the CEO.
Barawid is also an investor himself for other startups in the region. “There are so many issues where technology can play a part in Latin America, not just hospitality, not just access control, but if you look at any sector in the economy there is a huge opportunity for technology. I’m excited to back entrepreneurs that have the hunger, the intelligence, and also the willingness to solve those issues with technology.”
Currently, Casai is present in six cities in Mexico and Brazil with more than 1,400 units in its portfolio.
“It’s not only the lock. It’s the whole system that manages the locks,” explains Pedro Salum, LoopKey’s co-founder, and CEO. Salum founded the startup alongside Daniel Sandoval in 2014, with researchers and students from the University of Brasília. In 2018, the company launched its platform for access control that combines hardware and software in the cloud. In the last 12 months, LoopKey processed more than 3.8 million accesses throughout hospitality players in Brazil.
LoopKey’s hardware for locks is produced with a China-based team and then imported to Brazil. Now, LoopKey’s engineering team in Brasilia joins Casai, and part of the investment will be to develop the Brasilia tech ecosystem as a pipeline for great engineers, according to Barawid.
Yet, LoopKey will remain a separate entity from Casai, and its products will continue servicing its customers.
According to Salum, even though Loopkey will maintain its operations with current customers, also with Casai’s rival Housi, Casai won’t have access to LoopKey’s user data. “We want to be the first hospitality operating system for real estate partners in Latin America”, added Barawid.