In a time where everything we do is being digitised, new and great innovations are coming up every day to make our lives easier. The African youth have taken the lead and are identifying the challenges and needs in their communities and are moving rapidly to address them by coming up with great solutions and technologies.
One of the young people trying to make a difference in his community is Cosmas Kote. Cosmas is a young man who is passionate about technology. Together with his co-founders, they came together and created a startup called MNest. “We are solving the challenge of convenience and transparency for landlords, agents and tenants.” He said.
MNest is a property management system designed to meet the needs of landlords, property managers, real estate agents, and tenants. The platform offers property management, tenant management, accounting management, and marketing features.
MNest was born one afternoon over coffee with Stanley, one of my co-founders at MNest. We thought of creating a platform where landlords and agents could manage their properties from anywhere. We got one more co-founder, and we started building.
The challenge that we are addressing
MNest offers our agents and landlords transparency. When a tenant pays their rent, the transaction is updated on the platform in real-time. The landlords can see who has vacated their building and the total sum of money collected each month.
We are solving a challenge for the tenants as well. Did you know that agents in Nairobi charge tenants about KES 1500–3000 to show them a house? More often than not, the houses they show you are undesirable. Through MNest, landlords can advertise vacant houses which makes it easier for tenants to find decent houses.
The challenges that we faced while implementing
MNest has been in operation since May 2021. So far, we have four landlords and five agents registered on the platform. We are hoping to grow this number to 2000 users in the next year. Our journey hasn’t been without challenges, and the greatest that we have faced so far is building trust with our users. When we first launched, we had an in-built wallet on the platform. The landlords were not comfortable with their money sitting in the cloud. So we partnered with NCBA, to help us build trust with our customers. This way the wallet was not just sitting somewhere in the cloud, but a landlord could walk into a bank and inquire about us.
The other challenge has been capital. We have financed the business through our savings so far. Paying our employees, sales and marketing, etc. This has slowed down our growth. The other challenges have been:
- Getting people to remain true to the vision especially when things seem like they are not working out.
- Consistency and commitment. One of the co-founders went silent for 6 months and I had to bear the weight.
- Fear that the idea might not work.
- Raising capital for the business.
- Keeping the team motivated and dedicated to our vision.
- Dealing with people can be complicated as well.
Having said all that, I strongly believe that MNest has a great potential to excel and disrupt the tech ecosystem in Africa. Knowing that keeps me going especially when things are hard.