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Specialising in finding and renting properties in Cape Town, Ekaya started beta testing its website last year. In a press release today, the company announced three new big expansions, which they hope will help them in their crusade to fix a broken rental industry. Considering how much of a nightmare renting is, this can only be a good thing.
Ekaya will now be expanding its area of coverage to the whole of the Western Cape and Gauteng. After primarily serving Cape Town, and thus refining their systems while only operating in one city, Ekaya looks to be taking the rest of South Africa by storm. Melville states Johannesburg has always been on the card for them.
We get a lot of emails, tweets and Facebook messages every week asking us when we’re coming to Joburg.
This ambitious plan will be accomplished with the help of former Naspers exec Bill Paladino who’s joining an already robust panel of angel investors. Paladino’s previous experiences, including CEO of Naspers ecommerce Africa, director at Amazon, and board member of Property24, means he will bring a wealth of knowledge to the company and its future.
While the amount invested remains undisclosed, Ekaya’s passion and his experience in the industry will be like two peas in a pod:
The guys behind Ekaya are passionate about building great software that customers love. As a rental property owner myself, the value proposition offered by Ekaya is a total no-brainer for the tenant and landlord. The potential market for something as good as this is big.
In an email to Ventureburn, Melville reiterated how important it is to have Paladino on board. According to Melville, it’s not about the investment, which is only an extension of last year’s investments round, but about Paladino’s advice and guidance.
Ekaya’s roll-out to only two provinces right now gives them an opportunity to continually refine the website and adhere to local renting legislation.
Ruark Ferreira, Ekaya COO, is positive about the companies geographical expansion:
Johannesburg (Gauteng) is a huge market, and one that has been practically bashing down our door for access to Ekaya since shortly after we launched. I’m pumped to be bringing our offering to the City of Gold, at last!
Besides rolling out their services to new cities, Ekaya has added a new feature to the website, Ekaya VIP (Verified Information Pack). Built on technology previously used for online lenders, the system allows collecting and verification of a tenant’s identity. According to Melville, Ekaya VIP is the first of its kind and makes the entire application process a painless and easy-to-use system.Tenants collect and submit all of the required data and the system handles the rest with one click.
Tenants collect and submit all of the required data and the system handles the rest with one click. Prospective tenants can pay a one-off fee of R99, to store all of the submitted data, which in turn may be used with other property owners. From experience, this will be a welcomed addition for anyone who has tried to rent property in the past.
While helping prospective tenants, the software gives landlords a clear view of the risk factors involved with each tenant. From there they can filter out any applicants that don’t meet their requirements. Again, this is another welcomed addition and a step in the right direction for property owners.
At launch, Ekaya VIP will support ABSA, FNB, Standard Bank, and Nedbank, but will be working with more banks to bring on-board.