South African online student accommodation marketplace DigsConnect has entered into an agreement with the world’s largest student accommodation site, Student.com, enabling the startup to expand its presence to approximately 30 new countries and 400 new cities in the next six months.
Launched in 2018, the DigsConnect platform allows landlords, estate agents and property managers to post their property listings, with students then searching and filtering through these listings to find accommodation that suits their needs, and also find other students to live with.
The startup, which raised ZAR12 million (then US$830,000) in March 2019 and earlier this month secured a ZAR3 million (US$200,000) grant from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, has to date connected more than 65,000 landlords and tenants, and is now expanding internationally via a partnership with Student.com.
DigsConnect chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder Alexandria Procter said the primary growth regions for the startup included the United States (US), Europe and Asia-Pacific.
“Growth in the Northern Hemisphere is important due to the academic calendar – with international operations, we’ll be able to take advantage of the academic seasons in both September and again in January, our own South African peak period. This diversified geographic representation gives us multiple seasons a year, allowing us to bring in revenue year-round and have continual feedback cycles to continually improve our product and services,” she said.
Luke Nolan, CEO and founder of Student.com, said he was excited to watch the partnership come to life.
“Our global network combined with the reach and experience of DigsConnect in South Africa will create a strong foundation for growth, especially as South Africa is such a popular student destination,” he said. “More than anything, this partnership is built from the Student.com and DigsConnect culture; we share the same vision and live the same values – it’s exciting to partner together to help even more students globally.”