Investments

Egypt’s Sakneen raises $1.1 million seed to make buying and selling homes easier

Cairo-based property tech startup Sakneen has raised $1.1 million in a seed round led by Algebra Ventures, it announced in a statement today to MENAbytes. The round also included ‘major participation’ from Sarwa Capital and Foundation Ventures. It was also ojoined by US-based real estate private equity firm Hem + Spire, Saudi-based investment firm Nakhla VC, and angels from Google, BlackRock, and McKinsey.

Founded in late 2019 by Ramy Khorshed and Hussein El Kheshen, Sakneen makes buying and selling homes easier through its property portal. The users looking to buy a home can use the website to browse through different options on the platform and filter them using property type, location, price range, finishing type, delivery date, and a few other details.

Ramy Khorshed, the co-founder and CEO of Sakneen speaking to MENAbytes about how they’re different from other players in the market said that they’re not a listings platform, “Similar to how Zillow built up their database from publicly accessible data and overlaid MLS data on top of it, we curate our content to manage quality and prevent duplication. This means that sellers compete over positioning rather than over listings.  With the high-quality data, we can provide our sellers with high quality, actionable analytics, and buyers with a better home searching experience.”

Sakneen’s focus on buying and selling homes also helps it ensuring the quality of listings, “Our plan is to be the best at the verticals we compete in and we’re careful with our go-to-market not to dilute quality. This started with primary homes and new builds which we aggregate ourselves and will extend into other verticals as we add the capacities needed to offer differentiated experiences,” explained Ramy, answering a question about why they don’t have properties for rent on their platform.

The startup that was part of Y Combinator in 2020 seems to have made a lot of progress since its graduation from the accelerator. In addition to its website for home buyers, it has also built an internal inventory management system to aggregate and manage listings. It has also built an agent-facing application for iOS and Android.

Sakneen’s most exciting (and ambitious) product, Sakneen Financing, however, is still in the works. As the name suggests, it will enable people to request home loans. They’re not sharing a lot of details around this but having Sarwa Capital (which happens to be one of the leading players in Egypt’s debt capital markets) on their cap table will certainly help.

“Our incredible tech team is actively working on several new features that will be launched over the next few weeks, in addition to a couple of completely new products we’re excited to release shortly afterward,” said Hussein El Kheshen CTO & co-founder of Sakneen.

In the last few months, Sakneen also won partnerships with some really big names including Coldwell Banker Egypt, which the startup says is the largest real estate brokerage of Egypt, “In terms of traction the demand for our services, we’re starting to find early signs of genuine product-market-fit,” noted Ramy, speaking to MENAbytes.

Without sharing the specifics, he also said that revenues in one of their verticals has been doubling month-over-month since they started monetizing.

“From the outside, this looks like a red-ocean low margins space but I think that couldn’t be further from the truth. Customers – both buyers and sellers – are extremely underserved and the more operational experience we get the more tempting it is to cover more and more of the value chain since there appear to be many low-hanging fruit opportunities in terms of things that could be done better. There are entire business lines that serve the real estate industry globally that simply don’t exist in Egypt for one reason or another,” added Sakneen’s CEO.

Omar Khashaba, a Principal at Algebra Ventures that led the round agrees with Ramy, “Trying to find a home online today is often a frustrating experience, plagued by inaccurate listings and overzealous brokers. We believe Sakneen can meaningfully differentiate itself by re-inventing the search experience and managing the supply side in novel ways. Ramy and Hussein are both world-class founders with the right skill sets and domain expertise. We’re very excited to be part of their journey.”

Sakneen plans to use the latest funds to expand its team by ‘hiring world-class talent’ and continue developing differentiated solutions for home buyers and sellers.

Zubair Naeem Paracha
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