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SA’s HouseME secures follow-on funding for expansion

South African rental management platform HouseME has secured a “multi-million rand” follow-on funding round from current shareholders to scale its property portfolio and expand into new markets.

Formed in 2015 and available to the public by the end of 2016, HouseME is a digital platform that connects prospective tenants to landlords with full automation of the letting agency process, and fair and transparent rental pricing – all for a fraction of traditional estate agency fees.

Having raised angel funding in August 2015 and September 2016, HouseME completed a seed round in January 2017. It has now secured further funding from the same investors to the tune of several million rand as it continues to pursue growth and its rental book increases in size.

“We have a mixture of institutional and angel investors, all excited to the see technology disrupt the status quo,” Ben Shaw, HouseME chief executive officer (CEO), told Disrupt Africa.

HouseME recently launched a new pricing mechanism, the PlaceME Tool, which allows tenants to place efficient, transparent offers on prospective rentals, while the startup claims its payments system has approximately 15 times better rental collections than South Africa’s market average.

Shaw said the latest funding will be spent in a very structured manner, with 70 per cent of it dedicated to scaling HouseME’s property portfolio.

“Above-the-line customer acquisition has improved by two time in last six months, we are doubling down on this,” he said. “Retention of properties is already over 80 per cent and we aim to improve to less than 15 per cent annual churn.”

A further 20 per cent of the funding will be spent on unit profitably enhancement. HouseME plans to develop a home-wallet platform with multiple product and service plug-ins. It also plans to roll out financial services shortly. The remaining 10 per cent will be used to scope expansion into new markets, and prepare for its Series A round.

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