23 February, 2020

Cofundie: The Journey so far

Inequality is a word that has long been associated with the African continent.  60% of the population is under 25 years old while the average age of presidents is 77 years. 

33% of the population (close to 400 million people) live below the global poverty line representing 70% of the world’s poorest people. These figures are stark and very discouraging at first glance, but they don’t tell the full story.

The tech startup scene on the continent is growing rapidly, in 2019 1.3 billion dollars in venture capital was secured by startups operating on the continent in over 400 deals. This is greatly encouraging because perhaps uniquely compared to anywhere else in the world, almost every startup in Africa has a social angle to it, using innovative means to solve real-life problems faced by ordinary people in their day to day lives. 

From Complete Farmer (Ghana) which is helping to boost output in the agricultural sector by channelling much-needed capital to rural farmers through virtualization of the entire farming process, allowing anybody anywhere in the world to own and manage a farm in Ghana with their mobile phone. 

To Nadia (Kenya) which is providing access to licensed physicians to anyone with a mobile phone, 

To Bezomoney (Ghana), digitizing local savings circles (susu groups) and using the resulting data to provide access to low-interest loans and mortgages to market women, startups on the continent are taking on huge problems and using web technologies to tackle and hopefully find a way to solve them.

Why we are here

We consider ourselves first and foremost a social organisation because housing is a basic need, right up there with food, clothing (and internet) and some of our key success indicators (KSI) are the number of affordable housing units we finance, the number of new homeowners we create, the amount in ROI we pay out to Cofunders and the amount in new wealth and value we have created. 

The modern economy is built on credit, that magical ability to receive financing based on the future potential of the project you need to carry out. It’s no coincidence that the places that have had the most rapid growth are also the places with the easiest access to credit. In countries like Denmark, the Netherlands, USA UK & Sweden an average of 97% of the population has access to financial services & credit, while South Sudan & Niger have an average of 12%. Nigeria & Ghana come in at an average of 45%

In West Africa, access to credit is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for small and medium business owners who need it the most. The story is worse in the real estate sector, in Nigeria only 4% of the total credit in 2018 was given to the sector (with oil and gas, manufacturing, finance and insurance being the biggest beneficiaries of credit). Out of that, only around 20% is directed to affordable housing projects.

Source: central bank of Nigeria

We started this company to channel financing and easy credit to property developers who are building affordable housing.

For most people, the home they live in is their most valuable asset and serves as a source of protection, dignity, and will usually be a source of capital in times of financial crisis. 

At Cofundie, we are dedicated to building a high impact company that contributes to solving the housing problem for the vast majority of people on the continent. 

Exciting partnerships

To that end, we have been working hard for the past 10 months, deeply immersed in the problem, establishing relationships with key industry stakeholders: from property developers and mortgage providers to potential homeowners as well as large and small scale investors. We have gathered invaluable insights which have gone a long way towards shaping what the product currently looks like. 

First, we successfully closed a pre-seed round of $100,000 from the Meltwater Foundation and established offices in Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria. 

In the past three months, we have signed initial agreements & MOU’s with 10 property developers who build homes using alternative materials like earth bricks, rammed earth, prefab walls, shipping containers, Polystyrene panels, etc.

Starting in February, we will be publishing a series called “Developer spotlight” where we will be telling the fascinating stories of these men and women who have chosen to be trailblazers in the unforgiving terrain of alternative home development. Perhaps most importantly, we will be working on various interesting projects with them throughout the year. I encourage you to be part of this journey.

Pilot project

Which brings me to the big news!

I’m excited to announce the launch of our pilot project in February 2020. We will be financing the construction of middle-income family homes in Accra .The past few months have seen us conduct stringent due diligence on every aspect of this deal to make sure that it meets the high standards we have set for ourselves and deals that we accept and that our members are protected in every sense of the word.

Cofunders get first shot at buying the houses and also get prefered rates if they decide to exercise this option. 

Stay up to date with us, create a free account at www.cofundie.com and follow us across all social media (our handle everywhere is Cofundie) to be informed when the deal goes live as well as to keep up to date with the educational content we put out regularly.

We are happy that you are embarking on this exciting journey with us and rest assured that we don’t take you for granted!

The future

The vision remains to be Africa’s first financial organization facilitating the mainstream adoption of alternative building materials and techniques in property development while providing a solid and reliable means of building wealth for people in Sub-Saharan Africa and the diaspora.

For this mission to be successful, we need your support. 

With you by our side, there’s nothing we can’t do!

On behalf of the team, I wish you a prosperous new year.

Sincerely

Chukwuemeka Ndukwe

For the Cofundie Team

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