REALTY Africa Zimbabwe’s platform went live at the beginning of this month becoming the first crowd-funding entity to offer property crowd-funding in Africa, businessdigest has learnt.
Crowd-funding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, usually through the internet.
Realty Africa Zimbabwe country representative Lindah Mbidzo told businessdigest this week that by going live, property developers could now apply on the platform.
“As Realty Africa, going live means that we are now taking applications from property developers and basically funding projects on the platform,” Mbidzo said.
She said the Diaspora Construction is the second product on the platform. Mbidzo said the platform allows those in the Diaspora to build property in the country through a service that is transparent without needing the assistance of a third party.
Mbidzo revealed that they will soon add two new products which are namely the Micro Finance Crowd Funding and Realty Africa Connect, which will connect landowners to land developers.
She said Realty Africa has signed a service agreement with audit firm Deloitte, as an independent third party, which will perform the checks of the project viability and integrity on the property developer while Imara Fiduciary will act on behalf of the investors and issue the securitised participating shares.
Mbidzo said Realty Africa Zimbabwe will have the first multi-currency crowd funding platform in the world. She said funds will be held in original currency till the project has been fully funded before conversion to local currency.
She said the major challenge Realty Africa has faced is that the concept of crowd-funding is not well-known in Zimbabwe. Mbidzo is however confident that crowd-funding will grow exponentially in the country as more get to understand the concept.
The product comes in at a time when the economy is hard hit by a debilitating liquidity crunch coupled with depressingly low foreign direct investment.
Realty Africa is led by entrepreneurs, Patrick Chella from Zimbabwe and Erik van Eeten from Netherlands.
By the end of this year, the crowd-funding industry is set to account for more funding than venture capital globally, according to research firm Massolution’s annual report.
With an estimated market value of US$34 billion in 2015, crowd-funding has become a fast growing phenomenon since its valuation of US$880 million in 2010.
The World Bank estimated that crowd-funding would reach the US$90 billion mark by 2020.