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One million homes plus with PropTech

One million homes plus with PropTech
November 02
03:40 2021

At some point, was a dream birthed about contributing one million houses to alleviate the challenges posed by the need for shelter of a population of over 200m people. This need had led to seeking out technology approaches to making possible the reality of succoring a million peoples housing need. In the foregoing, there is so much to learn and relearn, while so much opportunities await willing entrepreneurs.

On one hand, it is noteworthy that Indonesia successfully built one million housing units for her citizenry, while the other revealed that PropTechs are making way more numbers possible through aggregation of builders, buyers, sellers, funders and consumers (who rent). What can we glean from thriving organizations in the PropTech space? How are the best tech-driven Real Estate Service Providers (RESP) pursuing their passion of seeing millions of humans lead more satisfying lives? What comparative opportunities abound with 579 million (2016) people within a 24.71 million km² (North America) when juxtaposed with 206.1 million (2020) people living within 923,768 km² (Nigeria) of land area? Imagine what $500 minimum monthly spend does, when over 200m people ($1.2 trillion spend potential per annum) can have access to better buying options and living standards. Never forget that business is a game of numbers – human and value numbers. Could there ever be a superior solution to the over 17 million housing deficit in Nigeria? What opportunities abound with a drive to solving housing problems for Nigerians occupying a space about the land size of Arizona and Texas?

Some of these questions led the way in the search for possible technology solutions to housing related needs and requirements, while examining how other successful PropTechs are fulfilling such demands around the world. PropTech offers an innovative approach to real estate in which technology transforms the way people research, rent, buy, sell, and manage properties. The technology-connect cuts across different industries and benefits all parties involved developers, investors, and property management companies.

PropTech real estate startups are companies that are trying to make the real estate industry (especially in highly dense cities) better, more efficient, and easier to engage for all stakeholders. It is obvious that real estate is the largest asset class in the US, as we see new trends emerging across same industry. We hear of co-working and co-living space, which implies that the real estate market continuously innovates and re-engineers its options to meet customersdemand per time. Top companies among these innovation-driven numbers, include:

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Airbnb (https://www.airbnb.com/in its series G, with total raised: $6b, in 31funding rounds) is an online community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book accommodations through mobile phones or the internet; it is based in San Francisco California, United States with less than 200 employees and over 2.9 million hosts on Airbnb globally and 14,000 new hosts joining the platform each month in 2021. Can we create our version of this?

Zumper (https://www.zumper.com/ – in its series D, with total raised: $150.2m, in 6 funding rounds) is the largest private rental platform in North America, offering support to over 75m people every year find their next house. You will agree with me that these number of customers served could only have been possible through technology automations, especially with less than 500 employees.

Opendoor(https://www.opendoor.com/w/about – in its post-IPO Equity, with total raised: $1.9b, in 10 funding rounds) is a leading digital platform for residential real estate. In 2014, they set out to reinvent lifes most important transaction with a new, radically simple way to buy and sell homes. In only 7 years, they have rebuilt the entire consumer real estate experience and have made buying and selling possible on a mobile device. Like most tech companies, they have only 1,340 employees (October 2021).

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Hover (https://hover.to/ in its series D, with total raised: $127.3m, in 7 funding rounds) focuses on providing customers a near exact representation of the home space they could choose to reside. They use 3D technology to simulateinteractive models of all housing unitslisted on their platform with only 8 photos. This helps potential homeowners visualize themselves in thespace (from their comfort zones), rather than looking at photos of the property or the bugs of arranging a time for physical inspection thereby increasing their chances of closing a sale with almost zero human contact. 

Proportunity (https://proportunity.co/ with total raised: $172.7m, in 6 funding rounds and a mix of debt and equity) is a FinTech company playing in the real estate space. They recently raised a huge investment to fortify their dataanalytics and home-finance lending platform. They use Artificial Intelligence leveraging on algorithms to sift through enormous data and loan applications to offer value to home buyers. The London based startup prides itself as one of the only Help to Buycompanies availableto consumers. This definitely astronomically changes the narrative when applied to a country like Nigeria at such a time as this.

Houzen (https://houzen.co.uk/ with total raised: £1.5m, in its first funding round) is designed to match tenants with landlords in a stock-exchange-like trading platform. It makes use of an algorithm to find the right tenants through some defined criteria. Property owners have the ability to rent out in almost real time, like how we purchase airtime, which allows for queuing and no empty spots. Each deal is analyzed by AI, and verified by experts. It becomes obvious that this level of satisfaction will drive repeat business in any location across the world; as they say, Good thinking creates good products.

Reonomy(https://www.reonomy.com/companyin its venture series, with total raised: $128.4m, in 8 funding rounds) is connecting the world of commercial real estates with professional insights, while empowering top brokerages, financial institutions, and commercial service providers with useful data and solutions.They help professionals and organizations gain deep understandingand appreciation of the market, findopportunities, and streamline research processes through the use of technology.

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Furthermore, I strongly believe that, with the number of housing deficits in Nigeria towering well above 17 million, a good understanding of technology, plus the right kind of funding, the above-mentioned people-centered PropTech real estate service provision approaches are very reproducible in Nigeria and Africa. Imagine what amount of good all these contribute to better human living standards for what it is worth in once of benefit. What experience could one create for the teeming Nigerians with housing needs? What solutions could be leveraged on to create better access to professional information and market insights? What funding channels can become accessible with the proper documentations in place? Who should be on the think-tank team helping to channel engagements in ways that really count? Entrepreneurs (especially Techpreneurs) need to grow into mastery of what they do, as they drive their pursuit with grace and tact.

In conclusion, it is noteworthy to recall how WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Google have never asked a lot of us for a dime of our monies; yet, for the massive value of what a human being is worth, they tower so high in valuation for their pursuit of meeting real human needs in sustainable ways, while in the process creating virtual markets. Humans are truly invaluable and meeting one of their biggest need, shelter, drastically improves their economy and the GDP of Nigeria. Two can play the game as I invite you to a world of teeming opportunities in commercial real estate. I am open to conversations around implementation strategies and thank you for your time investment, yours in tech, Olufemi Ariyo.

Email: [email protected]

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1 Comment

  1. Boluwatiwi Ayo-Opaleke
    Boluwatiwi Ayo-Opaleke November 02, 10:59

    This is a brilliantly thought through and pieced article. Well done Olufemi.

    As is with every laudable project, we must start with a dream and a yearning to add value.

    The possibilities are endless and it is sure to be beneficial to all stakeholders if embraced and approached purposefully.

    I sure hope that this conversation will continue and that it’ll attract just the right mix of persons/professionals required to make it a reality.

    Well done again and Best Wishes.

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