BusinessDay

Venco secures $670,000 to scale embedded finance for multi-property developers

Zrosk Investment Management has led a $670,000 pre-seed investment in Nigerian-based Venco, a technology company that provides solutions to enhance living experiences in residential and commercial communities in Africa.

Venco said it will deploy the funding round to scale its all-in-one technology platform that manages collections, service charge administration, utilities vending, visitor access, and other services associated with multi-unit property developments across Africa.

The funding round was oversubscribed and had participation from Voltron Capital, Decimal Point Ventures, Fast Forward Fund, Tayo Oviosu (CEO of Paga), Odun Eweniyi (COO of Piggyves), Oo Nwoye, Desigan Chinniah, Dakar Network Angels and Viktoria Business Angel Network.

Venco which was co-founded by Chude Osiegbu (CEO), Reagan Mbitiru (CTO), and Uzochukwu Alor (COO), automates collection and reconciliation of all dues and payments in communities resulting in improved receipts and better margins for property owners. Its self-service tools make processes such as visitor control, issue and emergency management as well as utilities-vending more seamless. Residents are able to build an economic profile based on their financial transactions on the Venco platform. They can also access a range of embedded financial services, including insurance, credit facilitation for rent, service charges and household spend along with many other services.

“The manual nature of many processes associated with life in residential and commercial communities in Africa presents many issues that we believe technology can fix. Beyond this, we also want to leverage technology to deliver new services and experiences that will transform how people live in Africa’s growing cities and create better value for everyone across the board. Our goal is to deliver technology solutions that will enhance living experiences across the continent, and we are excited to have raised these funds to support that mission,” said Chude Osiegbu, CEO of Venco.

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The company has chosen Nigeria and Kenya as the markets where the new funding will go into building out its credit delivery infrastructure for rent and household spend, as well as its expansion into other cities and countries on the continent.

Venco claims it has recorded over 200 percent growth over the last 9 months and is currently in six cities and more than 12,000 property units across Nigeria and Kenya. Since January 2022, the company has processed over $10 million in transaction value via its platform. Venco is also partnering with ecommerce platforms to enable easier access to merchants within and around the community, energy companies to ensure reliable energy metering and collections, and other service providers to improve the overall experience in these communities.

The company is hoping to make a significant footprint in the multi-property development market which is becoming the preferred mode of delivering residential and commercial real estate. It is estimated that 80 percent of Nigeria’s 2.5 million households that earn more than $1,000 per month live in multi-property communities. This category of Nigerians spend 25 percent of their income on rent and 50 percent is spent on other household needs. The needs include consumables, utilities, internet data, cable TV, and other services

With growing urbanisation across Africa, multi-property developments have emerged as the preferred mode of delivering residential and commercial real estate. Of the 2.5 million households in Nigeria that earn more than $1,000 per month, 80 percent live in multi-property communities. 25 percent of their income is spent on rent and 50 percent is spent on other household needs, including consumables, utilities, internet data, cable TV, and other services. This market for household spend represents a $22.5 billion opportunity in Nigeria and $100 billion across Africa.

However, with the process of managing various aspects of life in these communal developments being largely manual and paper-based, there are many inefficiencies that negatively impact residents’ experience and profitability for property owners. For example, the default rate on service charge collection for multi-property developments in Africa can be as high as 60 percent, which means that property managers are either out of pocket or forced to operate on insufficient funds. Even when payments are collected, the manual process means reconciliation is error-prone and theft is common.

“The team at VENCO is building a platform that allows for the validation of the GDP of the African household. Not only does a platform like VENCO allow for significant improvement in the experience of African residents, facility managers, and property owners, but it could also potentially unlock at scale the sort of financial services the African consumer really needs. We view VENCO as both a SAAS and a financial inclusion play with a potential for strong multiplicative impact across the continent. We are excited to support the VENCO team in achieving their vision,” said Samson Esemuede, Managing Director, and Chief Investment Officer at Zrosk Investment Management.