How Proppy CRM and CASAFARI found each other and merged into one

Ricardo Santos and Paulo Fernandes, founders of Proppy CRM, now merged with CASAFARI

In 2006, while Paulo Fernandes was programming and Ricardo Santos was focusing on design, they were far from imagining that life would take them on a journey of entrepreneurship, challenges, and consequent success. The co-founders of Proppy CRM complemented each other professionally, and it was with this synergy that they decided to focus on the moon.

On the doorstep of one of the biggest economic crises in living memory in Portugal, they created Moonshapes. They had in their pocket a portfolio of happy clients and an experience that turned out to be very enriching: they participated in the creation of the first 100% online real estate CRM for agents, e-properties, a pioneer in 2007.

“At first, the real estate market was not our focus, we just wanted to build websites and advise companies to take the first step towards digital”, Ricardo recalls. However, the “desire” was already there, and so was the business opportunity. They were highly sought after by professionals who asked for an online system with an international focus, while the competing tools, at the time, were limited to the Portuguese market.

As their best clients demanded, Ricardo and Paulo started creating websites focused on real estate transactions. Automatic export and update of the feed on more than 100 international listing portals became one of the company’s USPs (Unique Selling Points). This differentiating service increased the popularity of Proppy CRM among international clients and partners.

Meanwhile, word-of-mouth marketing was giving results. Paulo recalls with emotion that in the first phase of growth, “more and more clients came to us with new challenges to implement, and we felt ourselves growing, with the need to hire new staff for new areas of expertise”.

They began by conquering Lagos, then the entire Algarve. The next step was obvious: they wanted to reach the whole country. The product they had in their hands was a good one: the Rightmove portal itself recommended this automatic updating system. It was from here that Moonshapes planted their flag on the map. They needed a name, and Proppy was born in 2013.

The first major change in the mindset of the co-founders was approaching. Among more than 300 national and international applicants, Proppy CRM was chosen to be part of a program promoted by Beta-i, the Lisbon Challenge, focused on accelerating startups, through 3 months of mentoring, coaching, and networking with investors.

“A lot of work, focus and the right mindset” were the foundations for the company that was growing the team and increasing the number of customers in spite of the 2008 crisis.

“We knew that, above all, partnerships elevate the product, so we always aim to surround ourselves with the right partners”

Paulo Fernandes, co-creator of Proppy CRM

It was during a real estate event in 2018 that he approached CASAFARI founders for the first time after hearing them talk on stage. Sometime after, founders of Proppy CRM visited the CASAFARI office in Bairro Alto for a coffee and stayed for a 10-hour brainstorming session. After realization of the full alignment on the future of real estate technology, companies came to a decision to merge.

“It happened naturally. We were looking for a real estate CRM partner with a focus on the same market segment that would be open to developing the most advanced service with us. Paulo and Ricardo had the right product and, most importantly, the same big vision to make real estate transparent and efficient.”

Mila Suharev, co-founder and co-CEO of CASAFARI

In February 2020, signatures were formalized and a month later, a pandemic locked the country and the world at home. In these wanderings, Proppy was no longer a rookie. Paulo stresses that “even in pandemic times, we merged and grew together”. The bond between the teams and the relationship of trust was always evolving.

“For the CRM to be stronger, we could only ally with good partners, with similar values and make the product more robust, both in technology and business structure”

Ricardo Santos, co-creator of Proppy CRM

In turn, Nils Henning, co-founder of CASAFARI, reinforces that

“A real estate CRM is an integral part of a global solution for real estate, making CASAFARI services more complete”.

With joined forces, we are accelerating our expansion across Europe. Always with our feet on the ground and our dreams on the moon.

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