The number of listed properties on online property portal Lamudi has increased by over 1,000 per cent to 800,000 since 2013, with the company now present in 19 African markets.
Lamudi co-founder Kian Moini told Disrupt Africa the company had in two years of existence developed a comprehensive online database for house-hunters and become the largest and fastest growing property portal in Africa, in spite of a number of challenges.
The startup began this year by expanding to three more African countries and increasing its listings to more than 800,000 – up from 63,000 in 2013.
“Our global approach and international expertise set us apart from other properties websites. One key point of difference is our reach – no other player in the real estate industry has our reach across 19 African markets and 32 markets worldwide,” Moini said.
“We have teams on the ground in each market who benefit from high-level support from our headquarters in Berlin. In terms of the number of properties we offer, in Nigeria alone, Lamudi has as many listings as its top three competitors combined.”
Moini said Lamudi needed to overcome the fact that while searching for real estate online is a widespread practice in the developed world, it is less common in many emerging markets.
“In some of our countries, part of our challenge is convincing people of the value in incorporating the internet into their daily lives,” he said. “However, this is slowly changing as internet penetration rises. It is our job to educate people on the benefits of making online purchases and prove the reliability of listing your property online.”
He said though e-commerce in Africa is still young, it shows “huge potential”.
“Online shopping is growing rapidly across Africa as the IT infrastructure across the continent improves. The populations of many African countries are urbanising; as smartphone penetration increases, businesses are going mobile, using apps to reach out to the increasing number of consumers turning to the internet to make purchases,” Moini said.
“Each country in Africa has its own culture, and different rates of internet penetration; therefore, each country needs to be approached with an individual strategy. Whilst there are similarities, no two of our countries are exactly the same and the property markets tend to be at different levels of development. Therefore, we tailor our approach to each market we are present in. In Ethiopia, for example, the internet penetration is among the lowest in the world; the challenge therefore is to convince people of the value of using the internet to list their properties to sell or rent.”