ToLet.com.ng, a Lagos-based real estate classifieds start-up has raised a $1.2 million Series A round of funding from Frontier Digital Ventures. Frontier Digital Ventures is a Malaysia-based investor in leading classifieds companies in emerging markets. Last year it invested $500,000 in Ghanaian real estate classifieds start-up MeQasa and has made several investments across frontier markets including Panama’s general classifieds Encuentra24.com and Pakistan based property website Zameen.
ToLet’s Chief Executive Officer, Fikayo Ogundipe explained that 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 channelled into improved marketing efforts and aggressive expansion across Nigeria over the next 12-18 months.
The company was founded in 2012 as Estanode.com by Fikayo Ogundipe, Sulaiman Balogun, Dapo Eludire and Seyi Ayeni. It received $230,000 in seed funding from Jason Njoku’s Tech company accelerator Spark.ng in 2013, and subsequently rebranded to ToLet.com.ng. Since then, the real estate classifieds start-up has quietly grown into one of the leading and 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.
According to Forbes, from inception till date, ToLet.com.ng has facilitated over 8 million dollars in transactions value and currently boasts of roughly 20,000 listings online from a growing number of just over 3,500 real-estate agents.