Egyptian proptech startup Nawy, which began life in 2016 as an AI-driven property, listing has grown to offer brokerage services, supporting the closing of property deals. It is now looking for its next path of growth after connecting 40,000 buyers to sellers last year alone, winning the confidence of the Sawiris family — Egypt’s wealthiest family, who, earlier this month, led a $5 million seed round to support their growth.
Nawy is now set to introduce in its catalog a mortgage service for pre-owned property, to serve a market that is predominantly shunned by traditional lenders.
The startup’s co-founder and CEO Mostafa El-Beltagy told TechCrunch that the mortgage financing plan is part of their strategy to introduce new products that are aligned with clients’ needs, ensuring sustainability for their business.
The mortgage industry in Egypt is dominated by banks, most of which prefer to support buyers of new property over those seeking pre-owned ones. This leaves a financing gap for pre-owned mortgages that Nawy now aims to bridge.
“If you go into the resale market, it’s primarily cash. What we want to do is to build for the resale market, a very similar kind of process where we are continuing to own the house, but letting people pay in installments, rather than pay fully upfront,” said El-Beltagy.
Nawy’s growth has been supported by investments in its internal and outward-facing technologies, including some that use machine learning to pair clients with property. The startup also uses AI to manage its sales force of more than 200 people by matching them with suitable property, and providing the market insights that quicken the closing process.
In the long term, the proptech plans to use the data it collects to offer real estate advisory services, forge funding partnerships and provide insights into the trends and other market factors.
“Once we have visibility on the rental market, the primary markets for resale property, we can start to answer some of those fundamental questions… like what is the forecast of the appreciation? Which properties are probably underpriced or overpriced? And using all of that information, we can start to give some very real financial advice,” said El-Beltagy.
“Within the coming years, we’re definitely going to go into the other components of the businesses like rentals and property management. That would kind of complete the suite of what we do — by offering core real estate products,” said El-Beltagy.
The startup is looking to tap the booming property market in Egypt, which has for a long time been a preferred venture option and a safe hedge against inflation — reasons why the sector is amongst the fastest growing segments of the country’s economy. The real estate sector contributed 10.3% to Egypt’s GDP during the 2019/2020 financial year, while the construction sector accounted for 4.9%.
Nawy was founded by Beltagy, a former executive at Vodafone and Vodacom telcos, together with Ahmed Rafea (CBDO), Mohamed Abou Ghanima (COO), Abdel Azim Osman (CMO), Aly Rafea (CPO) and Mostafa Moro (CTO). The company was initially known as Cooing Real Estate before rebranding in June 2021.
The founders injected $200,000 into the startup, which averaged a growth rate of 30% year over year until 2021, when, buoyed by new funding, shot up 400%, with its gross merchandise value climbing to $200 million, up from $40 million the previous year.