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There is an immense pent-up demand in the real estate sector. Millions of people with bad credit, as well as informal workers and students – who are able to rent a house but cannot prove their income – end up constrained by sector red tape. It’s an audience ignored by many, but these consumers caught the attention of a businessman from Campinas, a city 275 miles away from São Paulo.

Towards the end of 2017, Caio Belazzi discovered that the lower-income housing market, especially rental, was not being well served, and saw that as a great business opportunity. He then founded and became CEO of Alpop, a credit fintech focused on popular-based housing.

The startup was born from another company Belazzi created 16 years ago, called Caiena – an on-demand software development company. Alongside other founders, and with an initial bootstrapped investment of 4 milion Brazilian reais ($867,000), he started Alpop‘s operation.

Social security number – and nothing else

The fintech acts as a “best friend” of real estate agents and tenants. While agencies manage the entire lease agreement, Alpop takes care of the entire financial management, including billing the tenant.

The company created its own method of analysis to onboard users, which employs qualitative metrics to evaluate individuals who would not be accepted by other real estate insurance firms.

“The real estate agencies are accredited by the platform and only need to send the CPFs (the brazilian equivalent to social security number in the US) of potential tenants. Then we run a thorough analysis based on 22 alternative parameters, which is completed in under five minutes. We draw very specific profiles that show us the risk levels based on these parameters”, Belazzi said.

If the tenant fails to pay the bill on time, the startup’s automatic billing system sends an alert (a “hey, stranger” of sorts). According to the founder, in order to guarantee payments to real estate companies in case of a delay on the tenant’s part, Alpop has a reserve fund estimated at 1% of the total of invoices issued each month.

“We move something around 1.6 million Brazilian reais ($350,000) of receivables monthly, a number that grows from 15% to 20% each month. We aim to increase the real estate sales funnel, always protecting our tenants’ rent payments throughout the contractual term”, he said.

Caio Belazzi, founder and CEO of Alpop

Popularity on the rise

Present in 60 cities across 15 Brazilian states, Alpop currently works with 92 real estate agencies, and has been growing at a fast pace. The fintech ended 2021, its first year of operation, with an increase of more than 1,400% in its active customer base.

Currently, there are 1,300 active lease contracts in the company’s portfolio. In terms of gross revenue, Alpop grew 600% and for the next 18 months it expects a 16-fold increase. To support this expansion, the firm is set to hold a first round of funding soon.

In addition to the good financial results, the Campinas-based startup also celebrates its first place in the ‘Mithub Estate Fintech Challenge’, a national award that recognized the company as a technological highlight in the real estate and civil construction market in 2021.

“Our competitive advantage lies in knowing the market and delivering credit products at cheaper rates compared to traditional real estate financing. We are building the largest popular credit network in Latin America”, Belazzi pointed out.

(Translation by Leandro Miguel Souza, editing by Angelica Mari)

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