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Hostel.ng: Using Technology to Deliver Accommodation for Students on Campuses

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Property Technology (PropTech) is the use of information technology (IT) to help individuals and companies research, buy, sell and manage real estate.

Proptech uses digital innovation to address the needs of the property industry.
It also covers smart building
construction, space management and architecture.

Examples of proptech startups or companies in Nigeria are Eden life, Estate Intel, Rent Small Small, Spleet, Yahshud property, among many others.

Proptech is designed to streamline and connect processes for participants in all stages of the real estate market, including buyers, sellers, brokers, lenders and landlords.

Popular proptech technologies include virtual reality softwares that allow website visitors to virtually walk through properties, softwares for reporting repairs, splitting rent payments and crowdfunding new real estate projects.

A few goals of real property technology include reducing paperwork as well as making transactions quicker, more efficient, and more secure.

The current wave of proptech is driven by a range of new technologies available, such as artificial intelligence and big data, which has already disrupted other areas such as finance.

The application of these new technologies is furthermore shaped by social distancing requirements and regional lockdowns arising out of COVID-19 that have introduced changes in the way people are required to deal with real estate.

There are currently many startups trying to target every segment of the property market chain, attempting to disrupt and improve how the current market players (developers, buyers, sellers, renters, investors, and real estate professionals) design, construct, market, discover, transact and operate real estate.

Hostel.ng is Nigeria’s new property tech startup that promises to ease the difficulties students experience in their search for decent hostel accommodation in tertiary institutions.

The Founder/Chief Executive Officer of Hostel.ng, Davidson Okafor, said the platform is structured to save students from the antics of fraudulent persons posing as hostel managers.

Davidson disclosed that Hostel.ng was birthed out of his harrowing experience in securing hostel accommodation as new student in the university during an exclusive interview with TechDigest.ng

“It was so difficult finding hostel accommodation as a new student, even after finding the hostel I loved, I almost lost my hostel rent to scammers posing as a hostel managers. When I discovered that many of my friends in school had similar experiences then I realized how big the problem was and decided to solve it”.

He explained that the e-property platform will not only take address but it will also impact the economy in terms of boosting employment opportunities for the students and revenue for government.

“It will help create wealth for students helping them to sublease their rooms. We also make the lives of their sponsors easier by reducing the financial burden on them with our “rent now pay later” feature.

“Our solution will not only help students but also the hostels providers, making their lives a lot easier, selling more rooms which in turn generates more income for them”, Davidson added.

He disclosed that the platform is partnering with several public and private organisations, and is open to further collaborations with startups to enable students get access to dependable hostel providers and earn money to pay for their hostel accommodations.

“We have partnered with Kwaba for rent financing.
This partnership has allowed us make the lives of students more comfortable, enabling them to access more money to pay their hostel rents. Our partnership with Deexperience agencies in Anambra state will enable more students get access to better hostel providers.”

Currently, support for the Hostel.ng platform, comes from “Lagos Innovates’’ program of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund and mentorship initiative from Tomi Davies through his TVCLabs accelerator.

The lack of adoption for the products and difficulty in acquiring early funding are among the major challenges facing proptech startups in Nigeria.

There is also the need to for relevant government authorities to streamline and harmonize regulatory framework to guide operations in the property nanagement sector and curb quackery.

Therefore, it is imperative for the creation of an all encompassing platform where the apex IT regulators, especially National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), land/housing authorities, financiers, and private investors and property management companies can synergise on the appropriate technologies to adopt.

In addition, government and financial institutions should do more in making early funding accessible for proptech startups in order to strengthen the capacity of the digital economy to address the shortage of decent housing and quality shelter for all.

Abbas Badmus is Staff Writer TechDigest

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