Nigerian property technology startup, Rent Small Small has been selected to join the prestigious Techstars Toronto accelerator. This development which comes when the startup is celebrating its third anniversary makes it the first proptech startup selected to the accelerator from Africa.
The Techstars Toronto Accelerator Program provides early-stage startups from across the world with mentorship and funding. It also provides them access to the Techstars Network for life.
The Toronto regional startup ecosystem aims to match startups with mentors that will help with transforming early-stage startups into scalable and thriving businesses, capable of attracting investors, talent and capital for additional growth and prosperity.
Revolutionalising home rental through tech
Founded in October 2018 by Tunde Balogun, Rent Small Small is providing an easy way for people to access rental properties most of which are furnished. The startup achieves this by serving as an intermediary to help people find properties for rent within 48 hours.
Housing can be very scarce in a city like Lagos where roughly 20 million people are crammed into 1,381 square miles of space. This usually leaves accommodation seekers vulnerable to the exploitative tendencies of landlords and agents. This is where a service like this comes in handy.
Rent Small Small which prides itself on leveraging technology to revolutionise the property rental market in Nigeria, offers users a flexible pay-as-you-stay rental method; monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually. This is very much unlike the current trend of paying 1-2 years of rent upfront which landlords demand.
Landlords also get to rent out their apartments to tenants who have been properly verified. This is because Rent Small Small subjects intending tenants to diligent verification which includes a check of their IDs, referees, employment status, and income proofs.
The company also says it is helping Nigerians eliminate discrimination and unnecessary charges in the rental process. It says it has helped renters save N550m on legal and agency fees and provided over 12,000 monthly stays across 18 locations in Lagos State alone.
Solving this problem, which according to the Managing Director of the Toronto regional startup ecosystem, Sunil Sharma is also a challenge in Canada, is exactly why Rent Small Small was selected into the accelerator for this year.
When we met the team at RentSmallSmall, we immediately understood the problem that they are solving and even saw the parallels with our own situation here.Sunil Sharma
“If there is one industry that has captured the attention of Canadians it is real estate, and our belief is that our immediate network of property experts, landlords and tech and real estate investors will be of great value to Tunde and his team looking to make housing available to more people across Africa,” Sunil said.
On why it took his startup all of 3 years to decide to seek accelerator-ship, funding and other forms of support, Rent Small Small CEO, Tunde Balogun, said this is the perfect time to join Techstars accelerator for the next growth phase of the company.
He said the proptech has stayed away from institutional investors for the past 3 years because they wanted to figure out a model that truly solves the rental problems and which the team could scale.
“Now that we have good traction and our solution is loved by both Landlords and Tenants, we need strong mentorship for our next growth phase. We believe that participating in the Techstars Toronto Accelerator at this time is right for us. Its network, skills and resources are what we will be able to leverage as we expand,” he said.
The 13-week accelerator program will begin on 18th October. It will end with a demo day pitch to investors affiliated with Techstars. It also provides entrepreneurs with invaluable skills, resources and connections to a wide pool of global talent and investors.
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