Oamen: Competition Very Healthy in Proptech Space

5 months ago 93

CutStruct Technology Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder, John Oamen, successful this interrogation with This Week In Tech, Oamen speaks astir the digitalisation of the proptech assemblage and the relation LiveVend is playing successful Nigeria’s operation market. Excerpts:

You precocious launched Nigeria’s archetypal operation and existent property operation app, LiveVend. What is it about?
With exertion products, your archetypal minimum viable merchandise (MVP) is mostly trash. Then successful investigating for construction, operation beingness cycles are 12, 14, 18 months, 24 months. It is not similar the fintech merchandise that you tin trial successful 3 days, truthful we person been retired determination for 3 years. We started retired focusing connected B2C, terms discovery. We person besides been tracking the terms of operation materials since inception, possibly astir 3 to 4 months successful and that was publishing for free, ensuring that radical nary longer person to beryllium cheated by their painter, plumber, oregon whoever they called erstwhile they  wanted to bargain worldly due to the fact that they conscionable didn’t know.

Prior to now, if idiosyncratic wants to overgarment a country oregon remodel her space. She called a guy, negotiated, and sometimes thanked the idiosyncratic for the small discount fixed due to the fact that determination was truly nary root of information wherever you would find his prices. So, we started by tracking those prices, publishing them for free, and we were looking to acceptable up a marketplace similar Jumia but specifically for construction. During COVID-19, we realised radical became a spot much conscious of their spending arsenic cipher knew wherever the satellite was going but what we besides realised was that unwittingly, the B2B broadside of operation flourished.
Dangote sold much cement successful Covid twelvemonth than helium did the twelvemonth prior. We were locked down for astir six months essentially, truthful we thought astir it arsenic a concern that if you wanted to survive, you’re going to person to pivot, determination our absorption from B2C to B2B. So, what we did was that we utilized that play to physique an MVP, for procurement and operation companies. We’re blessed to person a fewer operation companies trial with us. They paid truthful it was a paid trial which we utilized for astir 14 months. After that, we learnt a batch of lessons, realised however benignant of crappy that level was, and past we started fundraising.
The operation of the fundraising circular is what was announced. Recently. What we did was that from the archetypal cheque we got, we started gathering the level which we launched connected the 14th of November. We person presently onboarded implicit 184 operation companies.

What is the quality betwixt CutStruct and LiveVend?
I’ll privation you to look astatine it similar Apple and Iphone. In our case, CutStruct is simply a institution and the merchandise nether it is LiveVend. As a company, we started gathering the level immediately. The crushed we separated it is because, time we mightiness privation to spell into logistics and not privation to telephone it LiveVend but ‘live logistics’, which volition beryllium different merchandise and privation to telephone it ‘live logistics’. It volition beryllium different merchandise nether CutStruct.
CutStruct was coined from cutting costs successful operation costs with the usage of technology. So, the sanction cutstruct exertion means that we acceptable retired to trim the inefficiency successful operation and trim costs successful operation with the usage of technology.

What spread were you trying to span erstwhile you launched LiveVend?
I volition accidental opacity successful terms and similar I said, radical not being capable to cognize what the prices of operation materials are and the inefficiencies successful the process of procurement. For instance, if radical privation to bargain worldly and you privation to find the close price, you person to telephone similar 10 antithetic radical to comparison their prices oregon terms, which tin beryllium inefficient. Issues similar goods having problems successful transit and who to enactment the blasted on? These are lapses we effort to cover.
For us, we wanted to bring transparency and efficiency, that’s the spread and the problem. Eighty per cent of operation projects are recorded to spell implicit budget. Eighty per cent of the clip operation projects volition spell implicit fund and implicit time, it’s due to the fact that of things similar this.

Why are proptechs lagging down fintechs successful the exertion space?
One of the reasons is that there’s a deficiency of spot successful that abstraction and radical don’t needfully spot technology. They consciousness it is manual, this is however we bash it and bash not spot technology. The different happening is, it is simply a analyzable space. So, exertion unsocial cannot lick the occupation there. It requires heavy penetration into the manufacture from radical who cognize the industry. It is not everybody that tin bash proptech due to the fact that you request to recognize exertion to adjacent beryllium capable to deliberation of however to physique solutions astir there. What I foretell is that with the successes of companies similar ours, Spleet, tiny technologies property intel, determination volition beryllium an upspring of a batch much prop tech businesses and adoption volition benignant of summation due to the fact that radical volition privation to effort it.

Trust is built and earned by having small wins. The information that we present person 2 proptech companies that person raised effect rounds successful millions of dollars and are capable to bash more,can either marque oregon interruption us. I besides deliberation that volition springiness emergence to different proptechs that are coming behind. Today, determination are truthful galore fintechs due to the fact that the archetypal fewer fintechs succeeded and that’s however immoderate marketplace opens. Somebody gets successful there, is the archetypal mover, succeeds and it becomes much attractive, much radical present statesman to leap in, past you person a flow. We present person investors asking america for different proptech companies that we tin urge due to the fact that they are present looking successful that space. I foretell that successful the caller year, there’ll beryllium a batch much raises, businesses successful proptech, adjacent radical similar america volition commencement to person competition. Honestly, I deliberation it is precise steadfast for the abstraction to person competition.

How bash you vet vendors connected your platform?
We person a verification partner, Verify me. They assistance america verify basal things similar CAC registration, code verification, the goods these radical sell, the measurement of the goods that they sell, and the prime of the goods that they sell. So, we cognize each our vendors and we bash this periodically, conscionable truthful that erstwhile radical move, we’re capable to prime up connected it quickly. We’re besides talking to apical tier vendors, vendors who are self-acclaimed, we are definite that we’re bringing the close harvest of vendors to our buyers, and we’re enabling them to person harmless transactions.

With the incessant fluctuation successful forex successful Nigeria, however has it impacted concern successful the proptech sector?
Well, I deliberation it has brought to carnivore much than ever earlier the request for ratio and I deliberation portion of the successes we recorded are truly due to the fact that radical are present looking for solutions more. There are factors that they tin bash thing about, similar ostentation and terms alteration successful dollar. If you’re a existent property developer, you tin bash thing astir the dollar rates, but what you tin bash is marque definite that each dollar counts, each Naira you walk counts astatine being much efficient. In a sense, it has impacted our concern positively adjacent though it’s not needfully a affirmative thing. Three to 5 years ago, if I was talking astir LiveVend, developers wouldn’t person taken maine seriously, things were moving, radical didn’t caput the waste.

But now, radical are opening to question measures to beryllium much businesslike to marque definite they’re getting worth for money. Also, with prices changing, radical request to beryllium capable to spot the impact. So, you had a program to physique a house, and this was going to outgo you N100 million. At that time, cement was N3500 per bag. How bash you cognize the caller outgo erstwhile cement becomes N5000. You request a level that tin amusement you what the outgo to implicit it changes to and Cost to implicit (CTC) is simply a operation term. A level that tin amusement you your CTC arsenic prices changes, helps you to beryllium agile, particularly if you’re selling this property. If you request to reappraisal pricing for your buyers, you’re wide connected what you are dealing with.

With the expanding complaint of cybercrime successful Nigeria, what would you accidental astir the adoption of cyber information successful Nigeria? Is determination thing we tin bash amended arsenic a country?
The planetary cybersecurity risks are becoming higher everyday. Due to summation successful sophistication of attacks, companies indispensable continuously find ways to forestall themselves from cyber attacks. A large interaction of cyberattack connected startups is connected a company’s reputation. We person seen people/corporates who writer companies that person exposed their information to cyber criminals.
In Nigeria, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) oversees cybersecurity and information protection, and it has established regulations and guidelines requiring organisations that process idiosyncratic information to beryllium unafraid successful collecting, processing, and retention of that data, and to execute information information audits annually. In May, hardly days aft launching successful Nigeria, MoMo Payment Service Bank suffered a breach that led to $53 cardinal successful losses. Some worst cases person not been reported officially.

In mitigating these attacks, we should guarantee that each services deployed connected the net are moving connected the latest versions of the services that they are deployed on. This is due to the fact that these services marque regular updates to screen identified threats and if you bash not update, it makes you susceptible to that threat.
Also, if you cannot spend to prosecute a cyber information adept successful your organisation, person a regular cyber information appraisal done connected each your systems astatine circumstantial intervals. Always guarantee that unit is trained connected however to place cyber threats and however to study them. To debar tally successful with the regulators, ever guarantee that you are moving with the cyber information regulations needed by your big country.

What would you accidental your top situation has been truthful far?
I deliberation it is the information that existent property is typically a laggard plus class. It is typically the past to follow thing overmuch little technology. People are stuck successful the aged ways adjacent erstwhile they spot a solution. They are utilized to doing things a definite mode and determination is simply a batch of fraud going connected successful the system. Those radical benignant of propulsion backmost against america due to the fact that they consciousness similar our strategy is going to bring transparency, determination is besides immoderate level of gatekeeping. Our level brings astir transparency and efficiency.
In a nutshell, our biggest challenges are the aged mindsets and the gatekeepers who privation to proceed moving their covert operations.