Apartment “equipped” with a marketplace is rented. This is JFL Living’s new business.
The leasing arm of the developer of Jorge Felipe Lemann is taking advantage of the crisis to unravel projects such as the launch of a marketplace and should add 1,000 properties to its base by the first half of 2022.
JFL Living, a holding company that includes Jorge Felipe Lemann, son of Jorge Paulo Lemann, among its partners, was created in 2016, to explore the long stay segment, which is not widespread in Brazil.
The idea was to build projects in prime areas of São Paulo and rent 100% furnished apartments, with furniture, appliances, cutlery and bedding, and equipped with services such as cleaning, laundry, breakfast and shared bikes. Everything under your management.
But there was no hurry. The plan was to launch the first project in 2021. The strategy was accelerated, however, due to the opportunities that arose with the 2015 crisis.
JFL Living already has two projects, which started early operations. One is VHouse, in the Faria Lima region, and the other is VO 699, in Vila Olímpia. In the portfolio, apartments range from 36 to 142 square meters and rents start at R $ 7 thousand.
Now, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, JFL Living decided to fix its own house. “We put our foot on the market ahead of schedule and ended up skipping stages,” says Carolina Burg, CEO of JFL Living and founding partner of the manager and holding company JFL. “We are taking advantage of the pandemic to develop and accelerate projects that were on stand-by.”
This homework involves the adoption of management systems, which are essential to give more control over the operation. But also for the launch of projects that go beyond the back-office.
The main one is a kind of marketplace. The manager wants to take advantage of its scale and relationship with suppliers to offer benefits and discounts on products and services to the residents of its projects.
The platform is online and has already been tested with pet shop, fitness and spa services. Now it is looking for agreements to embody this offer. In a second phase, the plan is to add resources such as the rent payment and provide a discount percentage to be spent on the marketplace.
The strategy involves an application that centralizes the relationship with residents and a visitation application, with augmented reality resources, which came out on paper due to Covid-19. “We sold an experience, not bricks, and it was difficult to replicate it without the face-to-face visit,” says Carolina.
By putting the house in order, JFL Living is managing to structure a database, which will be used to refine the management of each project and to create offers closer to the profiles of residents in their buildings.
According to Carolina, 60% of the renters are men. The age group is between 30 and 50 years old and the average rental time is 13 months. The scope ranges from companies that lease properties to their executives, foreigners or not, to students and people who live in other cities but who, due to work, spend long periods in the capital of São Paulo.
Part of these insights comes from a 24-hour store, opened at the end of 2019, inside the VHouse, which offers food and personal care products.
Equipped with cameras, sensors and artificial intelligence resources, the unit focuses on self-service and cashless concepts. Purchases are registered and debited to a resident’s account at Ame, Lojas Americanas’ fintech, a partner in the project.
Competition in the neighborhood
While trying to build a more finely tuned operation, JFL Living is no longer alone in the market that it has helped to pioneer. In just over a year of operation, Housi, the spin-off of the construction company Vitacon, has already gained ground.
With operations that mix up noble areas and more popular neighborhoods, Housi is also concentrated in São Paulo. But it has an expansion plan in progress for seven other capitals and already has partnerships to offer discounts to residents with more than 20 companies.
In addition to Vitacon’s own funds, Housi raised R $ 50 million from Redpoint eventures and R $ 57.4 million with the launch of a real estate fund at B3, earlier this year.
The real estate market consultant, Rafael Socelario, points out the advantages of both companies. “JFL Living started earlier and brought in experts from the United States,” says Socelario. “Housi, on the other hand, works with other developers and has a full pocket.”
But JFL Living is not standing still. The company plans four launches between the first semester of 2021 and the first semester of 2022. The buildings are located in prime areas of the South and West areas of São Paulo, which will make the company overcome a thousand apartments under management. Today, there are 450.
These new units will have the option of apartments up to 220 square meters. With the tendency to expand the home office in the post-pandemic, JFL Living is also studying the expansion of areas for meetings and work.
With these ventures ready, Carolina estimates that the company will have in its hands a portfolio valued at approximately R $ 800 million. “We have three plots under negotiation,” he says. “But with the pandemic, we will wait to understand the reflection of the price crisis.”