Lessons from Egypt’s Real Estate Market

The founders of Sakneen, Ramy Khorshed a Hussein El Kheshen, spoke to WAYA about the challenges facing the real estate sector in Egypt, and consequently their business, in light of their one-year experience in the market.
Lessons from Egypt’s Real Estate Market

Within just one year of its launch, the real estate platform Sakneen has raised $1.25 million in seed funding round, from Algebra Ventures and Sarwa Capital in addition to other angel investors. The funding followed the startup’s graduation from the Y Combinator program in August 2020
Established in late 2019, Sakneen aims to make the home-buying experience an easier and faster one, amid the ever-increasing options and capabilities.

The company has also made several partnerships. In November 2020, it announced with Coldwell Banker Egypt, the largest real estate brokerage company in the country, a strategic partnership to develop unique digital capabilities and offerings for sellers and buyers.

The founders of the company, Ramy Khorshed and Hussein El Kheshen, spoke to WAYA about the challenges facing the real estate sector in Egypt, and their future plans.

What were the main obstacles that Sakneen faced?

Ramy Khorshed, Co-founder and CEO:

“We faced several difficulties while entering the real estate field. The the lack of a clear vision for its development in the region coupled with people doubting our ability to make a change, especially in light of competition between different companies. But having a specific and clear vision helped us, and also our desire to develop Sakneen to compliment the requirements of the market, to create a distinctive product and provide good services to customers.”

What distinguishes Sakneen from other platforms?

Hussein El Kheshen, Co-founder and CTO:

“Sakneen is characterized by multiple options that distinguish it from other platforms, such as the possibility of filtering the search according to the value of the provider, the monthly installment, etc. You have the option to evaluate the offered units through virtual tours, and the availability of full data about the offered unit, thus facilitating the purchase and decision-making process.”

What is it that attracted investors to Sakneen?

Ramy Khorshed, Co-founder and CEO:

“I believe it is the increasing growth in the Egyptian real estate market, and thus investors found a good opportunity to invest in this sector. That is in addition to being convinced of our project idea and its exquisite execution, especially in light of the decline in Internet services in this sector.”

What were some mistakes that Sakneen has made in this past year?

Hussein El Kheshen, Co-founder and CTO:

“We were so focused on attracting investors on the expense of customers. In the process of learning that the hard way, we found that the greater the confidence of our customers, the greater the interest of our potential investors. There are also mistakes on the product side, represented in focusing on creating new features to the extent that distracted us from developing the basic service we provide to customers, hindering the development process.”

What is missing in the real estate market in Egypt?

Ramy Khorshed, Co-founder and CEO:

“In my opinion, the problems are, first of all, in the client’s confidence in the data he gets, and thus his ability to make a proper decision, especially with clients’ fear of a misleading intermediary. Also, the quality of the data displayed online is of great importance, so that the customer inspects the prospective unit from the comfort of his his home. I think the sector will improve through the technology that we provide, which helps the customer make a good decision. The second problem is the lack of real estate financing. This reflects on the people’s tendency to own immediate ownership, pay in cash, or deal with a developer and receive the unit in the future, and therefore there are no options for customers to buy in installments.”

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