Achieving widespread success in an emerging market is determined by how well a business can connect with the locals in that area, says Axel Peyriere, a partner of African Property Group.
APG belongs to Emerging Classifieds Ventures, a group of start-ups within the online classifieds space who are currently expanding across Central America, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Oceania.
Over the past year, Peyriere has spent the majority of his time establishing the portal, which operates as a platform for hundreds of millions of users to sell, buy and rent properties such as apartments, homes, villas, condominiums, offices, shops, lands, farms and other online real estate.
Currently, APG exists in eight African countries and will launch in eight more by the time the Property Portal Watch Lisbon conference commences in October, where Peyriere is a guest speaker.
African Property Group has grown rapidly within a one year period and now receives more than 500,000 unique views per month. Its growth is determined by a strategy that is predominantly focused on localization.
“For each market we have local operators and a local agent manager. The team is quite big now and we rely heavily on those local people to give us direct feedback from the ground as well,” Peyriere told PPW.
He also points out that localizing the strategies for property portals is a proven method that has been adopted by some of the world’s largest portals.
“Take REA, for example: they’ve been doing this in south-east Asia, where they expanded. Instead of doing what they do in Australia, it was easier for them to acquire local guys. They can push their business strategies from the back, but the core system is to know the market, the local people and the local players.
Peyriere says one of the benefits of working in an emerging market is the ability to get Closer to the Transaction – which is also the theme of PPW’s forthcoming conference.
This can be done by taking a cut of the primary revenue stream that is attached to the sale of a property - something that is more difficult to achieve in an established market such as Australia, because this is the domain of agents and developers.
For African Property Group however, there is scope because their involvement in real estate is more multi-faceted.
“We are connecting the dots together; real estate agents with individuals who can be both buyers or sellers," Peyriere explains. "We link all of them together and we see in those emerging markets that it’s easier to get closer to the transaction.”
In addition to taking a cut from primary transactions, Peyriere says APG is working on a strategy to expand the business over the next few years. This also includes going after the secondary transaction.
“In the next five years we want to expand and scale APG to more markets and improve the monetisation with different models,” he says.
“In addition to primary transactions, we want to facilitate the mortgage business for real estate too; so connecting with banks in each market and offering our customers mortgage packages to buy properties.”