Nigerian proptech speleoth gets $2.8M led by MaC VC to enhance its asset management products

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For the average person living in Lagos – Nigeria’s most populous city, with over 20 million people – apartment hunting is an extreme sport. Not only is rent expensive—low- to moderate-income housing can cost between $1,000 and $5,000 annually—but renters must pay a year, sometimes even two, before moving in.

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Landlords in the city, like anyone in Nigeria, have been adamant about accepting rent in this way for decades because they find the monthly payment unstable; For them, annual up-front fees reduce administrative costs and the potential for tenants to default. But in reality, renters are put in the precarious position of finding their first lump sum for the first year’s rent and then saving some money from their salary for the following rent.

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Dolapo Adebayo faced this problem while looking for an apartment after returning to Nigeria from the UK. Used to – discussed on Speelet, a platform that it partnered with provides apartment owners with the option to list their properties and renters to pay rent monthly, quarterly and biennially.

While Adsenmi worked in Nigeria’s banking and fintech space for years, his family’s real estate background inspired him to set up a startup in proptech. The relationship also supplied Spielt with a significant network of landlords, which when it went live required many of the units to be listed; The pitch for landlords was that the spit would bring in proper KYC in the rental process and allow them to verify tenants and automate the collection of rent.

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“Our solution on the tenant side was a no-brainer. It was the landlords who needed convincing, but it helped that we already had a network of landlords,” said CEO Adesanmi on the company’s takeoff in an interview with TechCrunch “So instead of going out and raising venture capital, we decided we were going to bootstrap because we could convince some landlords to list their homes on this platform that we built and some of their problems.” was taken away.”

The founders bootstrapped Split for 18 months before operating a $265,000 family-and-friends round. The process allowed the four-year-old startup to establish good unit economics and significant traction before scaling up, Adasenmi said. It also became clear that there was great demand for its subscription-based product – it has had more than 68,000 unfulfilled requests since launch – even though apartments listed on its platform could be pricey to the average renter in Lagos. Many of Spielt’s customers are medium to high income earners (paying between $200 and $1,000 monthly). For them, paying premiums on monthly or quarterly rent results in cumulatively less savings than on annual rent.

Spilet’s growth has caught the attention of investors. This March, the company announced a pre-seed investment of $625,000. Then in July, it became the first African startup to be included in New York’s MetaProp accelerator. It is now announcing the completion of a $2.6 million seed funding led by Mack Venture Capital, a Los Angeles-based early-stage VC firm. The round also welcomed Noemis Ventures, Plug and Play Ventures, Assembly Funds, Azim Capital, Francis Fund, its pre-seed, MetaProp VC, and existing investors from Hoaqu Fund and proptech operators such as Eduardo Campos of Yuca and Paulo Buchuchar and Majed Charoui did. Why Insurami?

The investment will see Spelet scale across its products: leading residential rent management and rent financing solutions. The rent financing solution, called Rent Now, Pay Later, gives renters access to no-collateral loans of up to 3 million (~$6,000) with a monthly interest of around 3.5% for rent payments. Spelet has beta-tested the product since December — built behind Payroll Access — with a handful of users who pay a month while the company finances the remaining 11 months. Its non-performing debt ratio recorded during this period is 1.2%, Adasenmi said.

Regarding the BNPL product, the CEO said, “If you think about the more developed countries that have rent data, they use it either for mortgages or school loans or things like that because you don’t get that rent. You can verify yourself with the data. “So we’re getting a lot of that type of data. We’ll probably build a repository of that data so that our customers can take advantage of that data to access other goods and services.”

Speelet is also expanding its residential rent management offerings to include Collect, a service that automatically receives and verifies rent payments on behalf of landlords, a tool that helps landlords and real estate agents Lease agreements enable adequate background checks on tenants before they are offered. ,

PropTech has processed more than $3.5 million in rents since its inception and involved more than 35 individual and corporate landlords; The latter lists multiple housing units at once. Spielet also holds over 1,000 tenants, and while this may sound small, it is worth noting that their average lifetime value is 26 months.

Over the years, proptech, unlike fintech, has not seen exploding growth in Africa despite the need for innovation in the sector as much as real estate as in financial services. But recent activity suggests that growth in the African proptech space is imminent. One, startups are building solutions similar to those in other emerging markets, such as Quintounder in Latin America, Haspy in the UAE and NoBroker in India. Second, accelerators like Techstars are creating dedicated programs for such startups on the continent, while MetaProp is accepting more African proptech startups into its program.

Eventually, these different activities will fuel competition in the space. The relatively early proptech category has similar providers — for example, Rent Small, Kwaba and Muster — in the spiel plays — and it expects to increase its significant market share and outpace competition following the growth. “I think one of the things that kept us grounded was that we didn’t come to solve this problem as financial professionals. Proptech is infinitely different from fintech, and the beginning is always slow,” Adesanmi said of Speight’s competitive advantage. “If you look at Airbnb, and other global players, even QuintoAndar, they started slowly before blitzscaling. For us, we took a growing cash outlook.” Took no to develop. We got a business model in place just before we started developing the approach, and bootstrapping made us execute well and understand the landscape better.”

As Spelet prepares to test new markets early next year, Marlon Nichols, general partner at Mack Venture Capital, said his firm is proud to partner with the proptech company because it “brings forward a comprehensive solution.” continues to effectively serve both sides of the housing market, and raise the right amount to combat homelessness in Africa.”

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