THE RISE OF EGYPT PROPTECH START-UPS
Some start-ups, such as Osoule.com and Liza, are launching platforms to export Egyptian real estate to the rest of the world by putting properties up for sale online. Nawy, another Egypt-based online real estate start-up, uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to customise property recommendations to its clients. It raised USD 5 million in its latest funding round earlier this year.
Others are working on digitizing real estate services or ancillary, but key, aspects, such as payment and financing options, like the startup Boyot. Boyot allows the tracking of customer payments in real time and provides other e-financing options to ease cash flow issues and expedite the collection process. Boyot has raised a six-figure pre-seed round of funding from a Kuwaiti firm and is looking to open an office in Kuwait in 2022.
Proptech startups in Egypt are seeking to bridge the gaps that have always existed in the real estate sector. For example, mortgage options were not always available for pre-owned properties in Egypt as banks prefer to finance new property purchases. Nawy is introducing a mortgage service to close that financing gap by allowing payments in instalments for resale properties.
VIRTUAL REAL ESTATE TOURS
Developers as well are working hard to digitally transform their offerings. The New Administrative Capital project allows potential purchasers to take virtual tours of residential units, similar to metaverse virtual reality technology. State Waves Egypt is set to launch its first real estate expo that deploys metaverse technology in September 2022 – it has invested EGP 525 million in the virtual construction of 80 participating projects.
DIGITAL AND DATA CHALLENGES
There’s certainly no dearth of innovation or aspiration on the Egypt proptech scene but one of the challenges seems to be an inconsistency in tech. On the one hand, there are virtual reality walk throughs, and on the other there’s relatively basic tech being used on some of the startup platforms, at least at the user interface point. Another issue from the perspective of foreign investment in the real estate sector is the lack of accurate and comprehensive information of the kind investors prefer when making an investment decision. Property may be listed on online platforms, but it may not actually be exported if there’s a perceived lack of transparency or clarity. For foreign investors unfamiliar with the Egyptian real estate market, accompanying thought leadership on how and where to invest and the legalities of property ownership would probably aid in boosting investor confidence.
But, according to experts Egypt has always been an attractive and highly profitable investment destination, particularly for investors in the Middle East. And at the current rate of digital transformation, these teething problems should be easily resolved.
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