Egyptian startup Hommect, launched in October of last year, is taking home design online having launched a crowdsourcing platform connecting homeowners with designers.
The aim of Hommect is to provide a community where homeowners and home designers can find each other, interact, and manage projects together.
Designers are able to showcase their work and receive reviews and ratings from customers. Homeowners, on the other hand, can post projects and receive offers from several designers, choosing their favourite according to their style, budget or timeframe.
The company may be new, but there is palpable experience of the industry within the founding team. May Mahmoud, Mai Emam and Zeina Hussein met studying architecture at the University of Alexandria. While Emam worked for three architectural firms in the years after graduation, Mahmoud went into the world of technology and informatics. Hussein went off to engage a passion for interior design.
These varying skillsets and experiences are now married in Hommect, which is based on the co-founders’ learnings as they moved along their different career paths.
“We as architects and interior designers have experienced difficulties in getting projects and reaching clients. We also know a lot of talented designers who face the same problems due to their limited personal relationships,” Mahmoud told Disrupt Africa.
“On the other hand, we’ve noticed that the process of finding a good designer is hard as well for homeowners, and according to the surveys we’ve conducted we knew that more than 90 per cent of homeowners reach designers through personal relationships. They never know if they have the best designer for their needs.”
Hommect aims to address these issues, offering a platform to help designers and homeowners to find each other, and work and communicate together.
After initial difficulties, the startup took off after winning seed funding and six months of mentorship at the Injaz Egypt startup competition, while it also ran a successful crowdfunding campaign on the Tennra platform.
It makes revenues from a membership scheme, whereby users pay a certain amount of money for different types of membership on the platform, be it freelancer or business. It also takes commissions on projects obtained through the platform, with designers charged by task or stage, according to the scale of the project.
“The company has plans to expand and reach the Middle East, Hommect’s team is focusing on the business model to make it easy to expand quickly, and that may open opportunities for franchising,” Mahmoud said.