One of the biggest challenges plaguing Nigeria has been the issue of housing deficit. This becomes more problematic with the economic situation that has resulted in pushing a large number of people from the rural and suburban areas, into the core urban areas. As a result of this, getting adequate housing has become a rat race for the large number of people living in major cities.
SmallSmall began operations in 2018, providing tenants with the convenience of better managing their finances by paying rent on a monthly basis, as well as providing them the relief that comes from not dealing with real estate agents.
“Homeownership can improve the economic status in one way or another because it generates passive income for people to meet other needs. So we want to play a part in that and help young people in their journey from renting to investing to eventually buying real estate,” Balogun said.
To further improve on its operations, SmallSmall, a property management startup based in Nigeria, has raised $3 million in equity and debt financing to expand its operations and develop fresh housing solutions to its users.
The funds were raised from a number of investment companies, including Oyster VC, Asymmetry Ventures, Vivaz, and Niche Capital. Other participants in the fundraise include Sean Fannan of Chartboost, Adam Meghji of Universe, Jimmy Ku of Flutterwave, Samir Goel and Wemimo Abbey of Esusu, Jason Njoku of Iroko, and Tunde Kara of Vendease.
Also, being the first African proptech startup to be accepted into the Techstars Toronto Accelerator Program in 2021, SmallSmall received $120,000 as part of its pre-seed investment.
With the newly raised $3 million, which includes $2 million equity and $1 million debt, SmallSmall plans to develop more products to easy property business for both tenants and landlords. The startup will also be expanding outside of Lagos and Abuja, into major Nigerian cities like Port Harcourt, Enugu, and Jos, before the end of Q1, 2023.
SmallSmall was previously knows as RentSmallSmall, before going through a process of rebranding. The startup claims it provides over 25,000 properties each month across Lagos and Abuja, and has a rent default rate of less than 7%. It also claims to have succeeded in saving tenants over $1.2 million in broker fees, as well as saving property owners over $1.5 million in damages.
Speaking on the funding, Sunil Sharma, the managing director of Techstars in Canada said:
“Techstars Toronto was proud to be an early investor in SmallSmall as we saw enormous inefficiencies in the experience that renters face when getting accomodation in Africa. With the early traction and multi-aspect business model, Techstars decided to make a follow-on investment and join the latest funding round.”