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PropTech startup Ajar raises $7.5m funding

DUBAI, June 8, 2020

Ajar, a leading cloud-based property management and rent collection platform, has announced that it has closed its pre-series A round with the backing from SBX Capital, a venture capital firm, 500 Startups and Seed Partner, bringing its total funding to date to $7.5 million.
 
The newly raised investment will be deployed to further deepen its platform capabilities, grow the team, and expand its footprint in the Mena region and beyond, said a statement. 
 
Founded in 2016 by Shaheen Al Khudhari, Ajar is at the forefront of digitizing and transforming property management. 
 
It was one of the earliest PropTech players in the Middle East to focus on solutions beyond property listing. The company was established in Kuwait with the aim of solving the nuance of collecting and paying rent and has since expanded its product to include a full suite of automation solutions which help real estate investors manage their properties efficiently to maximize their return on investment. 
 
Today, Ajar manages over 35,000 units across Kuwait and the UAE, said Al Khudhari, who is also the CEO. 
 
Ajar has been gearing up for a regional expansion that includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Bahrain, he stated. 
 
With a spike in demand since the beginning of the crisis, the company is accelerating its entry into these markets and focusing more on global digital expansion. 
 
“Our strategy is to enable anyone - from a landlord with one unit, to a real estate company with 10,000 units - to create an account online and immediately start automating their real estate management, wherever they may be,” added Shaheen. 
 
Sharif El Badawi, the managing partner for Mena, 500 Startups said: "Ajar is solving a real market problem, and has managed to rally a strong team of passionate innovators to carry its vision. The past few months have only been a testament to the startup’s resilience, and we are excited to see Ajar rise as a leader in PropTech." 
 
Ajar proved to be most critical amid the COVID-19 crisis. Faced with a global financial crisis, lockdowns, and increasing unemployment (which in turn, affected rent payments), landlords and real estate companies turned to Ajar for both a cost-cutting online solution and for advice on how to navigate the uncertainty brought by the pandemic. 
 
 Al Khudhari said: "During the Covid-19 lockdown, it quickly became very clear to landlords that going digital was the way forward. Rent collection for those who depended on cash and cheque payments completely stopped, affecting the majority in the market."
 
"Landlords saw Ajar as an opportunity to not only go digital, but to also gain insights on how the industry was minimizing losses, what tactics worked, and what didn’t. We became our clients’ advisors,” explained Al Khudhari. 
 
The company focused heavily on market education throughout the crisis, releasing several studies and collaborating with government entities to help them understand the state of the real estate market and guide their strategies, he added. 
 
Saoud Al Humaidhi, the founder and CEO of SBX Capital, said: "Real estate makes up the biggest asset class in the region. With the whole world going towards complete digitization, it makes perfect sense to tap into this industry."
 
"We are very excited about Ajar and the Mena property technology market, and hence made Ajar our first investment in the region.” affirmed , a venture capital firm focused on early stage companies that are leveraging technology," he added.-TradeArabia News Service



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