Nigerian real estate classifieds start-up ToLet.com.ng has raised US$1.2 million in funding from Malaysia-headquartered VC firm Frontier Digital Ventures, which will be used to improve the platform and expand across Nigeria.
The Lagos-based startup was launched in 2012 as Estanode, but rebranded as ToLet.com.ng after raising seed funding from Spark.
It has now raised a Series A round of US$1.2 million from Frontier Digital Ventures, which has invested in a number of African classifieds startups over the course of last year, including Mozambique’s Propertymaputo, Ghana’s MeQasa and Tanzania’s Kupatana.
“The new funds raised will be used to improve the platform’s technology offering to both property seekers as well as that used by listing agents. The rest of the funds will be channelled into improved marketing efforts and aggressive expansion across Nigeria over the next 12-18 months,” said ToLet.com.ng chief executive officer (CEO) Fikayo Ogundipe.
The platform differs from its competitors in that it does not use a subscription model. But rather collects commissions on completed sales. So far, ToLet.com.ng has facilitated over US$8 million in transaction values, while has around 20,000 listings online.
“The commission fee is the model locally operated among Nigerian real estate agents. Our research showed that Nigerian real estate agents prefer the model of sharing commissions on closed deals as against paying subscriptions that don’t have guaranteed returns,” said co-founder Sulaiman Balogun.
Shaun Di Gregorio, founder and CEO of Frontier Digital Ventures, said his company was excited to make the investment into ToLet.com.ng and looked forward to being part of helping fuel its next stage of accelerated growth.
“We have full confidence in the ability of the founding team to continue with the awesome job they have already started and we look forward to the consolidation of their position as the number one property classifieds portal in Nigeria,” he said.
Spark co-founder Bastian Gotter said he was happy to welcome Frontier Digital Ventures on board as an investor, saying it was a “long-term thinking and very knowledgeable partner”.
“We believe this new fundraise gives the ToLet management team the capital to scale, and as well serves as validation for what they have achieved already. We are looking forward to seeing ToLet.com.ng win big and change the real estate industry in Nigeria,” he said.