Following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, economic uncertainty heightened when global stocks and bonds lost more than $30 trillion last year. The notoriously volatile crypto market also suffered a heavy blow that resulted in the loss of over $2 trillion.
According to the CEO of alphabloQ, Trevor Kimani, all this came at a time when he and co-founder, John Mbui had grown very concerned about the challenges of preserving wealth for their loved ones.
“The stock market crashed, investment schemes across Kenya and Nigeria failed, and people were losing their hard-earned money,” said Trevor. “John and I had been professionals for over a decade; earning more, and starting our own families. But we struggled to find secure investment options. We honestly had no idea where to put our money.”
It wasn’t long before Trevor and John recognized their struggles weren’t peculiar to them alone, and an opportunity in real estate could present a solution for Africans everywhere. Unlike stocks and cryptocurrencies, real estate is regarded as a stable asset class that generates compounding returns over time.
Despite the overwhelming economic crisis, real estate delivered some of the best returns on investment platforms and is even predicted to grow in some regions on the continent this year. The only challenge, however, is that investing in Africa’s real estate sector is mostly accessible to high-net-worth individuals and not the average African. Extremely high interest rates for loans, and other factors such as mistrust and limited investment options create a significant barrier to entry into real estate investment.
alphabloQ is changing that narrative by providing a platform that enables Africans to invest in fractional shares of real estate properties. “You can invest as little as $100 and are entitled to a percentage profit based on the asset’s value. Income generation is automated and overseen by alphabloQ on your behalf,” said Trevor.
With a thorough understanding of the market, the company’s objective is to provide investors with the most beneficial real estate opportunities available. alphabloQ collaborates with third-party valuers to guarantee the value of their properties and deliver on 8-10% return for investors. The company also concentrates on properties that can generate quick cash flow, such as those that are fully built or close to completion, thereby reducing investment risks.
Trevor and John worked together at Anvil Shield Holdings, during which they gained valuable insights into the African financial and technological landscape. The founders believe that these skills are relevant on a global platform, and applying them to an industry with limited technological adoption is invaluable.
“Drawing on our fintech expertise, we recognised the benefits of breaking down large and costly value chains to create more affordable and efficient solutions,” explained Kimani. “We discovered that this same principle could be applied to the real estate industry. So we decided to digitize real estate assets, allowing them to be broken down into smaller, more affordable segments so that everyone could invest in them. Instead of having to save for a decade to own a piece of land or obtaining a loan that may take years to pay off, individuals can now purchase a fraction of a real estate property with ease.”
Investing in real estate through alphabloQ is a straightforward process. After registering and submitting KYC details, clients are granted immediate access to a listing of available real estate properties. Additionally, customers receive regular updates on market trends, giving them the chance to take advantage of new and valuable opportunities in the market.
alphabloQ prioritizes security and customer satisfaction. In addition to vetting their employees and property developers, ratings are visible to guide clients through their investment decisions. Once a fraction of a property is purchased, alphabloQ’s proprietary technology enables investors to view real-time management details for the property. “You will receive updates on any issues like electricity, neighborhood security, late rent from tenants, and so on,” said Trevor. “The system is fully transparent, providing information about any issue, the cost of repair, how long it will take, whether it has occured before, and whatever else you need to know.”
alphabloQ currently works with several brokers and real estate developers, alongside an impressive number of investors on their waiting list. Founded in 2022, alphabloQ is also one of the 12 startups chosen for the ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator, a Lagos-based program focused on building early-stage proptech and fintech startups across Africa.
“We’ve got a very big appetite,” said Trevor. “Our short-term goal, in maybe the next five years, is to scale across the whole of Africa. After that, we are looking towards Asia.”
The future of real estate is a crucial consideration, particularly in densely populated cities such as Nairobi and Lagos. However Trevor believes that the future of real estate investments lies in a democratized Pan-African approach.
“Platforms like alphabloQ will provide liquidity in real estate investments,” he explained. “Buyers and sellers will have the flexibility to transact regardless of their location, and investors will have the opportunity to invest in real estate irrespective of their budget.”
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