Sakneen Team (Source: Sakneen)
The property portal is on a mission to transform home-buying and selling in the region
Sakneen, the online portal that helps homebuyers search for properties, has raised $1.1 million in a seed funding round from global and local investors, key financial service providers and prominent angel investors spanning Egypt, MENA, the US, and Europe.
The oversubscribed seed round was led by Egypt’s Algebra Ventures with major participation from Sarwa Capital and Foundation Ventures. Among the investors was Hem+Spire a US based real estate private equity firm, Nakhla VC a Saudi based fund, and a number of angel investors from Google, BlackRock, and McKinsey among others. This comes on the heels of the start-up’s graduation from the Y Combinator program in August 2020, bringing their total funding to $1.25M.
In November 2020, Sakneen and Coldwell Banker Egypt, the largest real estate brokerage firm in the country, announced a strategic partnership to develop unique digital capabilities and offerings for both sellers and buyers.
“With the latest strategic investment from Sarwa Capital, the publicly listed financing group behind Contact Credit & ContactCars, we have firm backing by industry leaders and are well positioned to launch products across different verticals and delight our customers with new and unique experiences”, added Ramy Khorshed, CEO & co-founder of Sakneen.
The company was founded in late 2019 by Ramy Khorshed and Hussein El Kheshen with the vision of making the struggle of buying a home an easier and more enjoyable experience. As the real estate industry continues to develop, home buyers are finding it increasingly difficult to make one of the most important investment decisions of their lives due to the ever-increasing choices and possibilities. Sakneen.com is their guide to the right decision.
“It’s a multi-billion dollar opportunity in a region with strong demographics and growth. Also the very low technology penetration and lack of publicly accessible data creates a huge information asymmetry. Early adopters of data-driven tools have a tremendous opportunity and I think that’s what our backers are excited to help us deliver on”, said Ramy Khorshed CEO & co-founder of Sakneen.
Ramy Khorshed and Hussein El Kheshen
“Our incredible tech team are actively working on several new features that will be launched over the next few weeks, in addition to a couple of completely new products we’re excited to release shortly afterwards”, said Hussein El Kheshen CTO & co-founder of Sakneen.
“Sakneen brings unique efficiencies to the real estate market, which despite heavy VC funding, hasn’t seen enough disruption. Trying to find a home online today is often a frustrating experience, plagued by inaccurate listings and overzealous brokers. We believe Sakneen can meaningfully differentiate itself by re-inventing the search experience and managing the supply side in novel ways. Ramy and Hussein are both world-class founders with the right skill sets and domain expertise. We’re very excited to be part of their journey”, said Omar Khashaba, Principal at Algebra
mediaReach OMD Nigeria Appoints Stephen Onaivi as New Managing Director
mediaReach OMD Nigeria Board of Directors has confirmed the appointment of Stephen Onaivi effective January 1st, 2024. Onaivi will become the managing director of the nation’s foremost media investment and management agency, known for its thought leadership and innovativeness. The Regional Chief Executive Officer of Omnicom Media Group West & Central Africa (OMG WeCA), Alaba Fadero, announced Onaivi’s appointment in Lagos.
According to Fadero, “Stephen’s appointment is the result of a careful succession planning and talent development program. He is expected to maintain OMD’s industry leadership and drive our regional growth strategy across the three critical global pillars of Client, People, and Capability.”
Onaivi is a homegrown, globally evolved professional who has been responsible for driving innovation across major brands, including Diageo, Airtel, Olam, Vodafone, Virgin Atlantic, Google, Uber, and GSK, to mention a few across the West and Central African region.
In addition to being the Managing Director of OMD Nigeria, he has a mandate to drive the OMD brand across West and Central Africa to enhance client value and ensure the seamless integration of OMD values, technology, and strategic processes.
Before his new appointment, Onaivi was the Managing Director of OMD Ghana, where he contributed to developing a multi-disciplinary, forward-looking media and advertising industry and serviced an array of national, multinational, and regional clients.
Reacting to his new appointment, Onaivi expressed confidence that the industry leadership and innovative strides of OMD Nigeria would be maintained under his leadership, stating, “We are proud of our thought leadership and pragmatic approach to providing value-driven services to our clients, and they should expect more with our team’s renewed commitment.”
According to Onaivi, key focus areas of OMD Nigeria will include innovation driven by technology and marketing science, the development of local talents, and enhanced strategic thinking to improve the agency’s value proposition to its clients.
Onaivi is a communication expert who has attended several management training courses and conferences from renowned business schools across the globe, including the Lagos Business School and London Business School. He is a keen golfer and a firm believer in the importance of community service. He is also the founder of the “Play with Stephen” golf tournament held annually in Accra, Ghana. The tournament leverages golf as a ‘passion point’ for key decision-makers to create awareness and support for Autism across Africa.
Endeavor Nigeria appoints Bolaji Balogun as its new Chairman
Endeavor Nigeria Chairman, Bolaji Balogun (Photo: Eleanor Goodey).
Endeavor Nigeria’s board of directors has appointed Bolaji Balogun, Chief Executive Officer at Chapel Hill Denham, as its new Chairman. Bolaji was previously Endeavor Nigeria’s Vice Chairman and succeeds Atedo Peterside, Endeavor Nigeria’s founding board chairman.
“I am honored to be asked to lead Endeavor Nigeria’s Board at this time, building on the strong platform provided by Endeavor Nigeria’s founding Chairman, driving our commitment to providing high-impact entrepreneurs with the access to capital, networks and mentorship that are so important to building a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. I believe private capital and entrepreneurship are mission critical to delivering sustainable development.”
Outgoing Chairman Atedo Peterside stated, “It has been a pleasure serving as the Chairman of Endeavor Nigeria in its first five years in Nigeria, during which we have seen the organization help to accelerate high-impact entrepreneurship in Nigeria. Once Endeavor, always Endeavor and I look forward to offering my support to Endeavor Nigeria under the capable leadership of Bolaji and all his colleagues on the Board.”
We are also pleased to announce that Endeavor Entrepreneurs Olugbenga ‘GB’ Agboola (Founder and CEO, Flutterwave) and Christian Wessels (President and co-founder, Daystar Power) have been appointed to the Endeavor Nigeria Board, becoming the first Endeavor Nigeria Entrepreneurs to join the local office’s board.
GB, founder and CEO of Flutterwave Inc., a FinTech company facilitating cross-border payment transactions of small to large African businesses via one API, was selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in April 2019. Christian Wessels, President & co-founder of Daystar Power, a leading provider of hybrid solar power solutions for commercial and industrial businesses in Africa, was selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in February 2020.
“As an Endeavor Entrepreneur, I have experienced firsthand the invaluable impact that this organization can have on scaling a company,” said Wessels. “I look forward to supporting both Endeavor Nigeria and its entrepreneurs.”
“Joining the Endeavor Nigeria Board of Directors is a full-circle moment for me. Endeavor has been instrumental in Flutterwave’s trajectory, and I’m excited to pay it forward by supporting the next generation of Endeavor Entrepreneurs. I look forward to helping drive transformative change in our local tech ecosystem“, said Agboola.
“We are thrilled to have GB and Christian join us as the first Endeavor Entrepreneurs on the board and offer their unique perspective representing Endeavor Entrepreneurs and paying it forward,” said Endeavor Nigeria Board Chairman Bolaji Balogun.
Endeavor is a non-profit organization that supports high-impact entrepreneurs worldwide to transform economies locally and globally. Having launched its operation in September 2019, Endeavor Nigeria possesses an active local board of business leaders who believe high-impact entrepreneurship can transform Nigeria. A complete list of board members may be found here.
Endeavor Nigeria’s objective is to accelerate the growth of high-impact entrepreneurs through access to mentorship, talent, capital and markets. Endeavor Nigeria currently supports 16 companies and 35 entrepreneurs from diverse industries that will impact the Nigerian economy through job creation and economic opportunities as they scale.
Goodwell Investments leads USD 8.5 million Series B round for Good Nature Agro
Impact investor Goodwell Investments has joined forces with social impact investing cooperative Oikocredit and Global Partnerships/Eleos Social Venture Fund (GP SVF) to provide USD 8.5 million in equity to Zambian social enterprise Good Nature Agro (GNA).
Good Nature Agro currently supports about 30,000 southern African smallholder farmers in growing drought-resistant, early-maturing legume seed varieties, including beans, cowpeas, soyabeans and groundnuts. Its agritech-based business model encompasses access to inputs, input finance, smart and reduced fertiliser use, climate-smart training, and a guaranteed market for high-value produce, giving farmers a wealth of support to professionalise their businesses and establish a clear path out of poverty.
In line with Goodwell’s mission to support innovative African companies that are contributing to a more inclusive society, the organisation first invested in Good Nature Agro in 2020 via its uMunthu I fund. In the years since, GNA has continued to expand its ambitions and reach, consistently growing farmers’ productivity and incomes, as well as improving their access to finance. In addition, the company has recently opened a new factory in Lukasa.
To enable GNA’s next phase of growth, Goodwell Investments led the company’s series B round, partnering with Oikocredit and GP SVF to raise a total of USD 8.5 million. With this new investor capital, GNA aims to grow its client base to 50,000 farmers by 2027. It will also deepen its engagement with its clients, improve its integration of whole farm income, develop new genetics to deliver greater yields and resilience, and innovate to keep its clients at the centre of agricultural supply chains.
Neo Maruatona Ratau, the Investment Director at Goodwell Investments, eagerly anticipates GNA’s future accomplishments, stating, “The remarkable growth GNA has experienced since our initial investment has been impressive. We have observed the company’s ability to deliver robust financial returns and make a significant social impact, all thanks to its farmer-centric business model, which effectively integrates smallholder farmers into the agricultural value chain. We are delighted to collaborate with investors Oikocredit and Global Partnerships to support GNA’s upcoming growth phase, which will be fueled by the convergence of digital and financial inclusion, along with strategic inorganic growth initiatives.”
Samuel Kibiri, Oikocredit’s Equity Officer for Africa, is equally enthusiastic about GNA’s potential for creating impact, saying, “Our new partnership with Good Nature Agro will enable Oikocredit to help more low-income African farmers improve their livelihoods through improved yields and access to markets. We’re delighted to be co-investing with like-minded investors in an innovative business with a clear mission to move farmers out of poverty.”
Finally, Jim Villanueva, Managing Director of GP SVF at Global Partnerships, is confident in GNA’s ability to continue to deliver remarkable results, saying, “We first invested in GNA during their seed round in 2018 and have witnessed the enterprise’s ability to adapt and scale its offering to enable farmers to increase and diversify their incomes, in the face of both climate change and gender inequality. We are proud of the results achieved to date and the opportunity to support GNA in this next chapter of growth and impact.”
Reflecting on the new investment, Carl Jensen, CEO of Good Nature Agro comments, “Good Nature has broken the boundaries of most agribusinesses by engaging the full value chain – connecting growers, aggregators, processors and consumers – and delivering exceptional service through a hybrid tech and ‘boots on the ground’ model. We very much welcome Oikocredit as a new investor, endorsing our approach and potential, and are equally grateful for the partnership and trust of our existing investors Goodwell and GP SVF who participated in this round.”