Ronald Nyakairu came up with the idea of Terrace Properties in March and spent 3 months working on developing the site talking to market experts (Agents, Brokers, Mortgage professionals) before it was launched in June. Though still making updates daily in a move to improve the site, he says he has hopes the site will make significant revenue and create jobs for youths in Uganda. He was recently joined by partner who is trying to help improve the startups revenue model.
He also hopes to increase the team in the near future.
Here is the rest of the interview Nyakairu had with TechMoran.
What inspired you to launch Terrace Properties?
The lack of information for Buyers to make informed decisions and the difficulty for Sellers to find tenants. I heard of several friends and relatives who had to wait 8 months for their 1st tenants, even though they were using the “big” Real Estate companies. They often asked me to setup websites for them but I did not see the value of single websites. So I created a marketplace for buyers could interact with sellers/agents directly and exchange information.
How many listings does Terrace Properties have so far?
Over 100 listings in just 3 months, and we are looking to reach 500 by January 2014.
Yes, there is always competition in business, though we have a unique value proposition compared to our competitors. We also expect new entrants, as the East Africa property market is getting international attention.
How different is Terrace Properties from others-say Jomayi, Canaan Properties etc?
We are not Real Estate Agents, rather we look to work with agents like Jomayi, Knight Frank and National Housing as well as other developers to increase people’s awareness of available property in Uganda and increase their exposure.
Briefly describe how Terrace Properties work?
Real Estate Agents register on our website (wwww.terracesproperties.com) and begin listing there properties. It really is that easy and only takes 5 minutes. Terraces Properties the validates a Agents account before their properties appear on the portal, this is to protect our clients and create trust in the market.
How many agents and houses on site?
We have 30 Agents and over 100 listings on the website, though there is still room for improvement as Agents on average have over 20 active listings at any given time. So the challenge is to get these properties uploaded.
How do you fund the operation?
We are self-funded through savings. We are looking to grow organically before we look into expansion. We are currently starting a 3 month advertising campaign which will boost our unique visitors to over 200 per day.
Are there paid users?
Currently it is free to list for Agents and individuals. We have a few paid advertisers and manage several Agent profiles for a nominal fee. The market is still new and so a pay wall will limit our growth capability. Other websites have tried to introduce a pay wall but have been met by resistance from Agents.
How is Uganda’s tech scene going?
Increasing Internet penetration rates are fueling tech startups across Uganda in various industries. The main challenge is building trust amongst the public, to use and adopt Internet business. A lot of Ugandans trade on Facebook, so there is appetite. The next horizon is mobile, especially after the success of Mobile payments.