The real estate world across Africa is yet another industry being disrupted by tech, and is quickly moving to the online space. This is one startup sector which sees funding announcements galore. So Disrupt Africa decided it’s time to list our five African online real estate startups to watch.
Last week saw Ghanaian startup meQasa raise US$500,000 in funding from VC firm Frontier Digital Ventures to boost its bid to become Africa’s Zillow – so let’s start with them.
meQasa is a web and mobile based real estate platform, providing a free service which helps brokers, landlords and other real estate industry professionals conduct business efficiently online, while also simplifying the search experience for prospective tenants and buyers.
The startup is also a portfolio company of the MEST incubator in Ghana.
With the funding, meQasa has promised to ramp up the development of its mobile and web service experiences, and expand its sales and marketing outreach.
West African neighbour HutBay is based in Lagos, Nigeria, and provides an online real estate marketplace allowing buyers, sellers, renters and real estate agents to find and share information.
Launched in 2013, by June this year, Hutbay had over 1,400 agents on its platform, and over 5,000 listings.
The startup recently launched additional service Hutbay Movers, a directory of moving companies, and connecting movers with those who are about to move. The platform features custom pages for moving companies, allowing users to know more about each company, and provides tools to request a quote and review a mover.
Over in South Africa, online rental marketplace Ekaya has been going from strength to strength, securing multiple investments, and recently announcing its first expansion.
Based in the Western Cape, Ekaya is a graduate from the 88mph accelerator programme in Cape Town, and has raised angel funding from a raft of investors including Vinny Lingham, Justin Stanford, Daniel Guasco, Wayne Gosling, Sebastian Stoddart, Guilherme Steinbruch – and most recently Bill Paladino.
In June, the startup announced its first expansion – to Gauteng; and also added a new service to its offering, Ekaya VIP, which employs technology to allow prospective tenants to collect and submit all the information needed to apply for a rental property for a one-off fee of ZAR99 (US$8).
Kenya also has online real estate startups to take note of, such as BuyRentKenya, which shot into the limelight after being awarded the East Africa Property Award for Best Internet Marketing Portal at the end of 2014.
The startup says it is focusing on continuing to innovate, creating more tools to assist property seekers in finding their ideal home, and fostering heightened transparency and credibility in the market.
Also in Kenya, online house-hunting platform KejaHunt is gaining traction. KejaHunt provides a mobile and web application that helps users find houses without engaging agents.
Launched in March 2014, the startup already has over 7,000 users and 2,600 listings to date.
KejaHunt also won the UberPITCH event held in Nairobi in July, beating over 500 applicants to earn a place in the PIVOT East workshops and KES15,000 (US$150) in Uber credits.