Lagos-based real estate classifieds startup ToLet.com.ng announced on Tuesday that it has closed a $1.2 million series A funding round from Frontier Digital Ventures.
“The new funds raised will be used to improve the platform’s technology offering to both property seekers as well as that used by listing agents. The rest of the funds will be channeled into improved marketing efforts and aggressive expansion across Nigeria over the next 12-18 months,” says To Let’s Chief Executive Officer, Fikayo Ogundipe.
ToLet.com.ng was founded in 2012 as Estanode.com with a collective personal savings of $400 from four Obafemi Awolowo University fresh graduates – Fikayo Ogundipe, Sulaiman Balogun, Dapo Eludire and Seyi Ayeni. The company received $230,000 in seed funding from Jason Njoku’s technology company accelerator Spark.ng in 2013. Estanode.com then rebranded itself to ToLet.com.ng. The real estate classifieds startup has quietly grown into one of the leading and most-recognizable online property portals in Nigeria.
“Our Agents are much happier to stick with us because, unlike competitors who use subscription models, we collect commissions, which essentially makes our service a performance-based one and ensures ‘we don’t get paid unless our agents get paid’. The commission fee is the model locally operated among Nigerian real estate agents. Our research showed that Nigerian real estate agents prefer the model of sharing commissions on closed deals as against paying subscriptions that don’t have guaranteed returns”, says Co-Founder Sulaiman Balogun.
Spark.ng Co-Founder Bastian Gotter, commenting on the fresh investment says: “We are very excited to welcome Frontier Digital Ventures (FDV) to the ToLet.com.ng family, as a long-term and very knowledgeable partner. We believe this new fundraise gives the ToLet management team the capital to scale, and as well serves as validation for what they have achieved already. We are looking forward to seeing ToLet.com.ng win big and change the real estate industry in Nigeria.”
Speaking about the raise, Shaun Di Gregorio, FDV’s Founder and CEO says: “We are super excited to be making this investment into ToLet.com.ng, and look forward to being part of helping fuel their next stage of accelerated growth. We have full confidence in the ability of the founding team to continue with the awesome job they have already started and we look forward to the consolidation of their position as the number one property classifieds portal in Nigeria.”
From inception till date, ToLet.com.ng has facilitated over $8 million in transaction value and currently boasts of roughly 20,000 listings from a growing number of over 3,500 real estate agents.
Frontier Digital Ventures (FDV) is a Malaysia-based investor in leading classifieds companies in emerging markets. Last year, FDV invested $500,000 in Ghanaian real estate classifieds startup MeQasa and has made several investments across frontier markets, including Panama’s general classifieds Encuentra24.com and Pakistan-based property website Zameen.