Nigerian startup VENCO has seen strong growth of its platform, which helps property owners, property managers, and residents to run their communities sustainably and with minimal stress, and is now targeting continental expansion.
Co-founded by Chude Osiegbu (CEO), Reagan Mbitiru (CTO) and Uzochukwu Alor (COO), VENCO is an all-in-one technology platform that manages collections, service charge administration, utilities vending, visitor access and other services associated with multi-unit property developments across Africa.
“Our all-in-one technology platform helps property owners, property managers, and residents to run their communities sustainably and with minimal stress. Our solutions simplify everyday processes from managing collection, reconciling payment, visitor access to issues management, utilities vending, and other estate management processes associated with multi-unit property developments across Africa. Our services reduce the cost-of-service delivery and increase transparency, efficiency and convenience for the end users,” Osiegbu said in a recent media interaction.
“Residents can now build an economic profile based on their financial transactions on the VENCO platform. They can now access a range of embedded financial services including insurance, credit facilitation for rent, service charges, household spending and more.”
The idea for VENCO came about in 2018 in Port Harcourt, when the chairman of the estate Osiegbu lived in at that time requested his technological expertise to help with managing some of the challenges on the estate.
“The initial plan was not to commercialise the solution. However, after moving to Lagos and experiencing and hearing about similar challenges on estates across Lagos, I thought the solution could be useful for solving a real problem in Africa, he said.
That has certainly proven the case. The startup has recorded over 200 per cent growth over the last nine months and is currently in six cities and more than 12,000 property units across Nigeria and Kenya. Since January 2022, it has processed more than US$10 million in transaction value via its platform.
Osiegbu said there are serious demands for solutions like VENCO’s. “As urbanisation increases across Africa, multi-property developments have emerged as the preferred mode of delivering residential and commercial real estate. Of the 2.5 million households in Nigeria that earn more than US$1,000 per month, 80 per cent live in multi-property communities,” he said.
“Twenty-five per cent of their income is spent on rent and 50 per cent is spent on other household needs, including consumables, utilities, internet data, cable TV and other services. This market for household spending represents a US$22.5 billion opportunity in Nigeria and US$100 billion across Africa.”
The process of managing various aspects of life in residential and commercial communities is mainly manual and paper-based, however, resulting in inefficiencies that negatively impact residents’ experience and profitability for property owners.
“For example, the default rate on service charge collection for multi-property developments in Africa can be as high as 60 per cent, which means that property managers are either out of pocket or forced to operate on insufficient funds. Even when payments are collected, the manual process means reconciliation is error-prone and theft is common,” Osiegbu said.
This is the gap VENCO – which monetises via subscription fees – is solving.
“Leveraging technology to deliver new services and experiences that will transform how people live in Africa’s growing cities, creating a better value for everyone across the board and enhancing the living experience across the continent,” he said.
The startup raised a US$670,000 pre-seed funding round back in December, led by Zrosk Investment Management with participation from other strategic investors like Voltron Capital, Decimal Point Ventures, Fast Forward Fund, and Paga CEO Tayo Oviosu. Further expansion is on its mind.
“We are currently operating in Nigeria and Kenya and are exploring opportunities to scale across the continent,” Osiegbu said. “With more residents on the continent opting for communal living, we aim to expand into more communities and offer more benefits to our users through new product offerings and significant improvements to the experience across our platform. The ultimate goal is to be present in every household.”