Nigerian startup Spleet, which operates a monthly home rental subscription platform, is in the process of raising a funding round to allow it to meet demand.
Founded in August 2017 from the need to find rentals with flexible payment options in Lagos as opposed to the usual one or two year upfront payment options, Spleet allows homeowners to rent out rooms to vetted individuals, while also helping people easily find places to stay.
“The housing deficit in fast-paced cities in Africa like Lagos is a major problem. Homes are increasingly vacant, but citizens and tourists are increasingly squatting or affected by premium and rigid rental requests,” Akintola Adesanmi, chief operations officer (COO) of Spleet, told Disrupt Africa.
“It’s bad enough that the cost of living is high, but added to it is an upfront rental demand that makes life somewhat unbearable for those who can’t fulfil the request. Even those who can for the moment find it difficult to uphold and fulfil these obligations in the future.”
Spleet is one of a number of Nigerian startups to have realised the need to provide flexible payment options, with the added perks of security and furnished units in prime locations, with Fibre amongst its competitors. The problem is big enough to be tackled by a number of platforms, Adesanmi said.
“The accommodation deficit problem has created such a huge vacuum that a holistic approach gives room for various players to aggressively try to reduce the deficit, and in the process revamp the narrative for costly upfront payment,” he said.
This is borne out by Spleet’s numbers so far. Its beta version was only launched last August, but it has already partnered with seven homeowners to provide 31 unique rooms to its members for monthly and quarterly subscriptions. Its average room occupancy is 98 per cent, and it has booked over 600 nights.
Revenues are made by charging a premium on monthly and quarterly rental subscriptions, as well as a standard percentage fee for every night booked through the platform.
With a waiting list of 700 potential members, the startup is now fundraising in order to help it meet demand. Adesanmi said it has already raised a portion of its equity round and was looking to close that round by the end of the first quarter in this year.
“In our first year, we struggled with supply because the demand was overwhelming. We hope to meet this demand in year two with adequate funding and strategic partnerships,” he said.
Spleet currently only operates in Lagos, and Adesanmi said the primary initial goal is to ensure a strong share of that market. The long-term plan, he said, was to expand to other major African cities, as the problem of paying rent upfront is not one that is confined to Lagos.