Bridging Gaps: Kuwait's Property Management Platform Ajar Wants To Enable Easier, Efficient Communications In The Real Estate Sector The startup's business model was ideated when co-founder and CEO when Mohammad Almunaikh decided to create a software that could potentially bridge the many communication and other gaps between tenants and landlords.
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Having observed that the regional real estate market provide services that were largely haphazard in nature, Mohammad Almunaikh, co-founder and CEO of property management and rent collection platform Ajar, decided to create a software that could potentially bridge the many communication and other gaps between tenants and landlords.
With this goal in mind, Almunaikh had initially set out to offer payment solutions to landlords in an attempt to make rent collections easier. But that didn't solve the underlying issues that were truly ailing the sector, he says. "The payment solutions only added extra effort to the landlords' workload," adds Almunaikh. "So, we decided instead to offer safe, fast, and more organized solutions in the field of property management and automated rent collection."
That was how Ajar's property management software came to fruition in Kuwait in 2016 (with it now also being used in Bahrain and the UAE), and with it, Almunaikh is attempting to kill two birds with one stone. "The first of the two main problems that we are focusing on is that there are too many boundaries between landlords and tenants, which add unnecessary costs and inefficiency to both of them," he explains. "The second issue is that factors such as investment performances and monitoring reports for landlords do not exist in the traditional real estate industry. We want to change that with Ajar!" Ajar's services reflect the vision Almunaikh speaks of.
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Among other aspects, one point worth noting is that these services are for landlords who own as little as one property to those with more than 1000 property units, which essentially opens up Ajar's offerings to everyone, regardless of how much they own. Through a "message center" feature, it allows for individual landlords to directly communicate with tenants, understand their requirements, and also receive online payments. On the other hand, it also enables better decision-making for property managers by providing them with important insights and data on the units they're in charge of. For real estate companies, Ajar eases the process of monitoring requests through its maintenance tracking system and provides automated invoices and receipt generation.
With such a holistic approach, Almunaikh believes his startup can prove to be of great value to landlords. "Our value proposition at Ajar is to reduce landlords' anxieties and increase their return on investment (ROI) by automating home management workflows, enabling artificial intelligence-driven decision making, increasing tenant life expectancy, and processing swift money transactions," he adds. When setting up in the UAE, Almunaikh admits that it was initially quite a task to access the wide network of property managers in the country, and convince stakeholders to shift to digital payments- however, the COVID-19 crisis helped in overcoming the latter challenge. "The biggest benefit was the talent pool available in Dubai, and the access we had to the banking sector," he adds.
This also leads into why the startup decided to become a part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) accelerator program. "We chose to be a part of MBRIF, because we're interested in connecting with likeminded individuals in the UAE, and being part of this great initiative certainly also helped us to scale our business and in easing access to desired markets and clients," Almunaikh says. The Ajar team is currently a team of 20 people, and having closed its last funding round of US$5.6 million in 2019, Almunaikh hopes the firm can keep gaining the trust of landlords across the region. "The point we are trying to make is that if you are a landlord in the GCC region, with less than 100 units, Ajar will be the best solution for you to manage your property, and increase your RoI!" he declares.
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