Proptech on the rise

When one thinks of startup sectors in Africa, proptech doesn’t necessarily spring to mind. To date, the lions share of investment has gone into fintech, agritech, healthtech and to a lesser degree off-grid tech (think solar). According to investment platform, Partech, 60% of all deals in 2020 where from the 4 above-mentioned sectors.

Needless to say, investment at both country and sector level is still fairly concentrated. But that is changing. Our recent article titled, “Best of the rest” looks at how Ghana is fast emerging as a contender to the current big 4 startup powerhouses of Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Egypt. The same applies at a sector level.

In our recent interview with VC, Zach George, he opined that in order for Africa to flourish as a startup ecosystem, fintech needed to be the precursor to the emergence of other startup sectors.

“Africa needed to have a strong and stable financial and regulatory environment for people and businesses to pay and get paid. Once that was sorted, then you could look at creating companies that solve problems in other sectors.”

Proptech is one of these emerging sectors. There are currently over 200 proptech startups across the continent with the growth on an upward trajectory. On Thursday 23rd September SESO Global and Proptech Africa hosted the first African Proptech Pitch Series.

Kweku Essien, partner at Mansa Capital, played host to the event which ran over Zoom. There were three startups pitching their ideas to an esteemed panel of investors which included Zachary Aarons from Metaprop, Satoshi Shinada from Kepple Africa Ventures and Ibrahim Sagna, Global Head at the African Export-Import Bank.

Chukwuemeka Ndukwe, kicked proceedings off with a high tempo pitch for his startup, Cofundie. Coming out of Ghana, the company identifies high-quality and institutional-grade real estate projects for retail investors. Cofundie earns revenue by taking a percentage of profits from the sale of a home or from the rental income generated.

Next up was Zak Omarjee out of South Africa with startup Crowdprop. It’s South Africa’s first regulated property crowdfunding platform. Another compelling offering to retail investors who can now own a piece of a real estate investment portfolio. They offer properties in both South Africa and the UK and the investment lockup period is 3-5 years.

Last up was Josemaria Agulanna from myyinvest, a fractional real-estate investing platform out of Nigeria. For at little as $10 you can own a fraction of a commercial or residential property with returns purported to be as high as 50%. The investment lock up period varies depending on the type of investment.

The startups had only 5 minutes each to deliver their pitch and all three co-founders did a great job at conveying both the customer and investor value propositions. After each pitch there was a 5 minute Q&A where the investors could get further clarity on the respective business offerings.

Like many pitch contests no investments were made in the session, but rather it was a great way to bring a greater degree of awareness to the African proptech ecosystem along with increasing the networking opportunities. Onwards and upwards for African proptech 🙌

In the news

🇿🇦 South African agritech startup HelloChoice has secured investment from Standard Bank in exchange for 25% equity. The investment will allow the startup to continue to grow its agricultural produce marketplace on both the supply and demand side.

🇸🇳 Senegalese delivery startup, Yobante Express, an online marketplace that connects local couriers with local commerce has raised a $1.2 million bridge funding round.

🇲🇦 Moroccan healthtech startup, DataPathology, has raised $220K to help it transform the pathological diagnosis system and augment services provided to both practitioners and patients.

🇳🇬 Nigerian startup, Infibranches Technologies, which helps solar energy providers manage their operations and receive payments, has banked $2 million funding from All On, an impact investment company backed by oil company, Shell.