Hostel.ng: Using technology to provide student accommodation on campus

student hostel

Real estate technology (PropTech) is the use of information technology (IT) to help individuals and businesses find, buy, sell and manage real estate.

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

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

Proptech is designed to streamline and connect participants’ processes at all stages of the real estate market, including buyers, sellers, brokers, lenders and owners.

Popular proptech technologies include virtual reality software that allows website visitors to virtually browse properties, software to report repairs, split rent payments and finance new real estate projects.

Among the goals of real estate technology are the reduction of paperwork as well as the speed, efficiency and security of transactions.

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

The application of these new technologies is further shaped by social distancing requirements and regional lockdowns resulting from COVID-19 which have introduced changes in the way people are required to manage real estate.

There are currently many startups trying to target all segments of the real estate market chain, attempting to disrupt and improve the way current market players (developers, buyers, sellers, tenants, investors and property professionals real estate) design, build, market, discover, negotiate and operate real estate.

Hostel.ng is the new Nigerian real estate tech start-up that promises to alleviate the difficulties faced by students in their search for decent hostel accommodation in tertiary institutions.

Hostel.ng founder/CEO Davidson Okafor said the platform is structured to save students from the antics of fraudulent people posing as hostel managers.

Davidson revealed Hostel.ng was born out of his harrowing experience finding hostel accommodation as a new college student in an exclusive interview with TechDigest.ng

“It was so hard to find hostel accommodation as a new student, even after I found the hostel I liked, I almost lost my hostel rent to scammers posing as for hostel managers. When I discovered that many of my friends at school had had similar experiences, I realized the extent of the problem and decided to solve it”.

He explained that the e-property platform will not only be taken into account, but will also have an impact on the economy in terms of boosting job opportunities for students and revenue for the government.

“It will help create wealth for students by helping them to sublet their rooms. We also make life easier for their sponsors by reducing their financial burden with our “rent now, pay later” feature.

“Our solution will not only help students, but also hostel providers, by making their lives easier, selling more rooms, which will generate more revenue for them,” Davidson added.

He revealed that the platform is in partnership with several public and private organizations and is open to new collaborations with startups to give students access to reliable hostel providers and earn money for pay for their hostel accommodation.

“We partnered with Kwaba to finance the rent.
This partnership has allowed us to make students’ lives more comfortable, giving them access to more money to pay their rents. Our partnership with Deexperience agencies in Anambra State will give more students access to better hostel providers.

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

Lack of product adoption and difficulty in securing early stage funding are some of the major challenges facing proptech startups in Nigeria.

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

Therefore, it is imperative to create a comprehensive platform where apex IT regulators, especially the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), land/housing authorities, financiers, private investors and property management companies can synergize the right technologies to adopt.

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

Abbas Badmus is TechDigest Technical Writer

Linda G. Ibarra