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Proptech Africa launches to disrupt property market

Proptech Africa launches to disrupt property market

Property technology (proptech) start-up Proptech Africa launched in October 2019 in Johannesburg and as a continent-wide association, aims to reinforce Africa's proptech ecosystem.

Proptech Africa founders believe proptech can be likened to the proliferation of mobile phones and mobile money technology in Africa, and represents another major wave of tech innovation.

"... especially at a time when more institutional-led investments are flowing into Africa's real-estate sector," says Kevin Teeroovengadum, one of the founders of Proptech Africa and an expert in the property sector with over 20 years' experience.

Teeroovengadum says an estimated US$4.6-billion is said to have been invested in proptech worldwide in 2018.

PropTech Africa's two other founders include Sean Godoy and Wayne Berger, who launched the SA PropTech Association earlier this year.

Godoy, founder and director of property-focused advisory and training solutions company Divercity Property Solutions, says: "We are looking forward to linking up SA PropTech to PropTech Africa. I had the privilege recently of participating as a panel speaker at the African Real Estate Conference and Awards (AFRECA) in Lagos, Nigeria where I met a number of young, up-and-coming start-ups. There's no doubt that we can expect to see lots to come from Africa's proptech scene."

Berger, managing director of iShack Ventures, a venture builder developing disruptive technologies in the real estate, FinTech and edutech sectors,says: "What's inspiring about proptech is that it encourages an outsiders' perspective, which is shaking up what has traditionally been a rather static bricks-and-mortar industry."

Berger has helped create innovative proptech businesses in South Africa, such as big data-enabled proptech management and communication platform SmartBuilding as well as leading independent commercial property portal Instant Property.

Godoy says while the sector is still in the early stages of development and there is not enough data to determine the full value of the space, knowledge of South African firms experiencing successful fundraising rounds is exciting.

"An innovative rental platform recently raised R20m in funding from local and international sources, which is an exciting example of this activity," he adds.

Aside from its objective to strengthen ties between stakeholders within the proptech ecosystem, Proptech Africa will promote the sector to the property industry and related stakeholders as a whole in order to raise awareness and drive growth on the continent.

The start-up is relying extensively on its app to evaluate its initial success in the market.

Berger says the app has an African PropTech start-up directory and it is free for start-ups to list.

"These start-ups can then be found by industry players looking for relevant solutions for their real estate business," he continues.

The start-up is planning several awareness campaigns in the next year.

Teerovengadum adds: "We are planning several PropTech Africa events within the next year in places such as Nairobi, Lagos and Mauritius. Our ambitions are to see PropTech Africa enabling collaboration among the continent's proptechs, as well as providing a platform for them to exchange information, experiences, and present ideas, among many more activities. This will be done via the likes of our app as well as our regular events and sessions."

"We are seeing incredible proptech ideas being conceived by the younger generation across the continent. We're excited to see what's happening on the ground and to help support Africa's future tech giants," he says.

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