the first Spanish investment of the Santander startup fund

It has taken almost 6 years for Banco Santander’s investment vehicle, Mouro Capital – formerly Santander Innoventures – to have its eye on a Spanish technology company. For an amount that has not been made public (but does not exceed $ 15 million), Mouro has entered the capital of Clikalia; a Series A round, which includes debt to accelerate the company’s growth. This operation joins two previous ones that add up to more than 8 million euros.

Founded in 2017 by Francisco Alister Moreno, Clikalia operates in one of the sectors that for the structure of Banco Santander could make sense in a short space of time. Focused on the proptech sector, Clikalia focuses on the agile sale of homes by digitizing processes. According to their data, they are able to sell a home within 7 days. How? The company purchases the home directly from the seller, to later put it up for sale on the market at a higher price after renovation. A model inherited from the United States that, among other things, is capable of providing immediate liquidity to the ecosystem.

With more than 500 operations behind it, the objective of the technology company is to expand its business model to more cities in Spain and Latin America –For which it changed its name in early 2020–. A system that is based on the search for small margins, but based on the risk of assuming the cost of the process.

Does this operation mean that Clikalia will be integrated into the structure of Banco Santander? Sources close to the operation suggest that there are ideas of joint work, but for now the objective is focused on developing a strategic relationship of digitization and new businesses. Focused mainly on the bank’s apartment sales area: Altamira Inmuebles. “Given that Santander is very focused on the real estate needs of its clients and their financial cycle, we believe that Clikalia can drive transformation and new business opportunities in Europe and Latin America,” they said in a statement.

Clikalia: a future operation

Mouro Capital, based in the United Kingdom, has been part of the Banco Santander ecosystem from the first moment of its foundation. Not so much his interest in the technologies of the entity’s country of origin.

The iZettle card payment company, which was later acquired by Pay Pal; the Kabbage loan dealer, acquired by American Express. Creditas, Ripple, Trulio, Upgrade … Since its foundation, the investment eye of the fund has been focused on the United States –mainly on San Francisco– and Israel, in companies focused on the core activity of the financial institution. Not so much so the acquisitions of the bank itself that have gone shopping in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. This same year, Santander Consumer acquired Ebury and –both Spanish–.

However, in September of this year, Mouro Capital made a 180º turn. In addition to its name change, the fund announced that it was doubling its investment capacity with 400 million dollars. They also pointed out that Mouro –although being highly linked to Banco Santander’s activity– would be endowed with much greater independence. A point that would guarantee the search for a much broader investment portfolio than usual in its history of operations.

Likewise, the investment in Clikalia continues to be in the line of interesting operations for Banco Santander. The real estate sector has long been one of the most attractive in Spain. With the arrival of the pandemic, the more than possible arrival of a financial crisis and an active future in the real estate market, Banco Santander is already laying the foundations for the coming years in which a fall in house prices is forecast, as well as renewed buying interest. A process that thanks to the coronavirus is already forecast to be highly focused on the digitization of real estate operations, to which only proptech technology had reached during the March lockdowns.

There has been so much interest in digitizing home sales in recent months that not only Clikalia has attracted capital from a large entity. Housfy, which operates in the same sector, announced the closing of another Series A round for 3 million euros with Seaya Ventures, Torch Capital, DN Capital and Cathay behind. An operation that they defined as express and that had the objective of taking advantage of the pull in growth that Covid-19 had caused for the digitization of the sale of real estate.