Ajar, a Kuwait-born proptech startup that is now headquartered in Dubai has closed its Pre-Series A, it announced today. The startup did not disclose the size of the investment but said that it has now raised $7.5 million to date. We’ve learned that the latest investment a multi-million (USD) round. It came from newly-launched investment firm SBX Capital, existing investor 500 Startups, and Seed Partners. Ajar has previously raised money from BECO Captial and Sharq Ventures.
Founded in 2016 by Shaheen Al Khudhari, Ajar had originally started as Ajar Online to help landlords collect rent from their tenants but has since expanded to add different products and now offers a suite of solutions to help real estate companies, landlords and property managers and manage their properties. The startup claims to have over 35,000 units across Kuwait and the UAE.
The platform that allows property owners and managers to manage the entire leasing cycle of their properties also comes with insights and reports for them.
It now also operates a property classified platform Find Ajar that allows users to rent and buy properties in Kuwait.
Ajar has seen an increase in interest from landlords in the region due to Covid-19 as making payments with cheques and cash has become difficult for the tenants.
“During the Covid-19 lockdown, it quickly became very clear to landlords that going digital was the way forward. Rent collection for those who depended on cash and cheque payments completely stopped, affecting the majority in the market. Landlords saw Ajar as an opportunity to not only go digital, but to also gain insights on how the industry was minimizing losses, what tactics worked, and what didn’t. We became our clients’ advisors,” said Shaheen Al Khudhari, Founder & CEO of Ajar, in a statement.
The startup that has been eyeing expansion into Saudi, Egypt & Bahrain is accelerating its entry into these markets as it has been witnessing an increase in demand due to Covid-19, “Our strategy is to enable anyone – from a landlord with one unit, to a real estate company with 10,000 units – to create an account online and immediately start automating their real estate management, wherever they may be,’ explained Shaheen.
Saoud AlHumaidhi, Founder & CEO of SBX Capital, said, “With the world moving towards complete digitization, it makes perfect sense for SBX to bet on real estate, the biggest asset class in the region. We are very excited about the prospects of the MENA property technology market and intend to support Ajar for the long-run, seeing it as a publicly-listed company and regional real estate powerhouse.”
Sharif El-Badawi, Managing Partner MENA, 500 Startups, said, “Ajar is solving a real market problem, and has managed to rally a strong team of passionate innovators to carry its vision. The past few months have only been a testament to the startup’s resilience, and we are excited to see Ajar rise as a leader in PropTech.”