South African startup Thomani has launched a real estate investment platform aimed at allowing individuals to take their first steps on the property ladder.
Launched this year via a data science programme at AlphaCode, Thomani is aimed at individuals that earn too much money to qualify for South African government housing subsidies but too little to access bank capital.
It allows these people to invest in property regardless by becoming part of a community that co-invests for as little as ZAR5,000 (US$350) at a time. Thomani makes revenues from commissions and property management fees, and handles rental collection from tenants.
Co-founder Shaka Ramulifho said the existing real estate industry in South Africa was only catering for part of the market, and Thomani was trying to fill the gap.
“The concept of a property stokvel has existed for generations. Thomani makes it safe to co-own property because we remove the risk of being jointly or severally liable because the stokvels owns the property,” he said.
The bootstrapped startup launched in March and so far has had only a small amount of listings, but Ramulifho said it had received almost 200 signups and was in the process of signing up real estate agencies in Johannesburg.
“Our beachhead market is in Gauteng. We plan to expand to the rest of the country by the rest of the year,” he said.