‘With ‘LiveVend’ platform, Nigeria will go far in closing the country’s housing gap’
John Oamen, a real estate and construction expert with over a decade experience recently ventured into property-technology by co-founding arguably Nigeria’s first real estate and construction price delivery platform, LiveVend. In this interview with Modestus Anaesoronye shares his thought on his career journey, the technology platform, opportunities in real estate and what is there for Diaspora Nigerians. Excerpt:
Let us meet John Oamen
Family comes first, so I would say I am a full-time husband to a wonderful wife and father to an amazing set of twins. For many years I have been associated with Construction Finishing and my first personally owned company is Faultless Finish Limited. This is the segment of the construction industry where I made a name and carved out a niche. Most clients engaged our services counting on meto deliverprecision detailing with an understanding of international standards. Since November 2019, I have come to be more closely associated with LiveVend and CutStruct Technology. I bring 10+ years of experience in Construction, Home Improvement and Estate Management. I am Co-Founder of the LiveVend App and Co-Founder/ CEO of CutStruct Technology Limited.
What is the one major mantra you live and work by?
For many years, business was mostly about delivering what the client wants and generating profit. I have had to challenge this thinking and elevate my position of what business means. I found like minds with similar mindsets on business during my time at Lagos Business School, people committed to problem-solving much more than profit-taking. A business that would stand the test of time must be truly solving a well-defined and properly articulated problem. This forms my core and drive today in business. Leading a team of brilliant minds, we are solving big problems, delivering value and yet still making a profit.
Tell us about LiveVend real estate platform.
LiveVend is the flagship product from the team at CutStruct Technology Limited, a company committed to solving construction needs the “Technology-Way”. LiveVend is extending the value of every naira spent on a real estate project. Every project, no matter how small, is threatened by price inflations by middle-men and fraudulent vendors. LiveVend provides for the safety of budgets and the sanity of planning knowing that you are getting value with every expense. LiveVend is demystifying project planning, opening it up, enhancing transparency on every project.
LiveVend is the first purpose-built Price Discovery platform on the continent of Africa offering daily price updates for Real Estate and Construction products. It isn’t just about pricing but also about price movement and the actionable intelligence we are able to gather and share with our subscribers which include: Private Home Developers; Real Estate Professionals; Commercial Home Developers; Government Agencies; International and Local Investors in the Construction and Real Estate Industry.
What gap did you see in the Real Estate and Construction industry that you think this platform will try to close?
I found that there were so many loopholes in the procurement of building materials for projects. Regardless of project size, money is lost daily on procurement price padding and related issues. Therefore, part of our objective at LiveVend is to foster transparency in the construction industry by providing the daily pricing of construction materials to different stakeholders in the value chain and the diaspora community is a major beneficiary. You no longer have to fall victims of being cheated by friends, family and contractors while working on your real estate projects.
Another gap is data. We have a lot of plans around building a more data-driven sector that is beneficial to all stakeholders in and around the sector. Data provides construction companies with knowledge that can be used to improve planning. Better planning means more accurate budget estimates and a better understanding of timelines and costs.
We are tackling these and this is just the beginning, as so much more is planned to roll-out within the year.
How will this help in reducing the housing deficit in Nigeria?
How far can each Naira go? I am confident to say that without LiveVend not very far. We are at the centre of sustainable project delivery. By improving the reach of every budget as we eliminate the influence of fraudsters and those who inflate purchase orders, people are able to build more, build better and build with less strain. We are solving a procurement gap and in-turn answering a sustainability question. Every budget created for a construction build or renovation project can only achieve so much if it is constantly buffeted by losses from procurement loopholes. We are addressing this in part with LiveVend.
You said during the launch of this platform that, this will help Diaspora Nigerians invest in the real estate industry, how does it work?
Our Diaspora brothers and sisters are a key part of solving our housing deficit as a Nation. Many of them have projects they have started in absentia here in the country, building country-homes in their communities as well as commercial projects in the cities. They send money regularly for purchases to be made for those projects to be completed. They do these blindly, unable to confirm pricing for building materials given to them by those they trust. There are many more in the Diaspora who have similar plans to build in Nigeria but are yet to start for fear of being cheated. LiveVend caters to these groups, providing them with access to real-time data for accurate pricing of the various stages of disbursement of funds.
So, how long have you been in operations now, and what impact have you made so far?
We have been in operation for 2 months now as a company. Ordinary home users have sent us a lot of positive feedback of saving money and getting direction from LiveVend for renovation projects. Some have mentioned that LiveVend has made planning easier for them to prepare for their building project. Industry experts have embraced LiveVend as a valuable tool to help them extract pricing rather than be bothered with market surveys.
We do know that no one institution does business alone, who are your partners in this project?
We have an extensive team of experts working on the LiveVend app and supporting the parent company. Externally we have a few research companies who help us with data mining and aggregation.
In this New Year, as an expert in the field, how would you recommend for people to approach real estate and construction?
Real estate is looking like the way to go this year. Portfolio investments are yielding less profit this year and so people are looking for other creative ways to make profit. Real estate is a viable option to venture into. However, I would advise that they do their feasibility studies and understand the terrain they are venturing into so that they can ensure that their objectives are met. LiveVend is here to help them meet their needs and we are developing more innovative solutions this year to ensure that the real estate sector is supported towards the growth it is about to have. For those who want to invest in real estate this year with less hassles, rest assured that they have a dependable ally in LiveVend.