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Innovative Property Technology Startup Transforming The Real Estate Sector

Incidents of land fraud and related crimes in the past decade have been on the rise in Kenya. The Ministry of Lands in 2017 reported that there were 7,052 recorded cases of property fraud which cost the economy Sh 60 billion annually. The Justice Needs and Satisfaction in Kenya survey by The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL) in collaboration with the Judiciary of Kenya revealed that land disputes affect between 2.4 and 2.8 million Kenyans. People facing land disputes experience extreme stress and mental health problems, loss of time, loss of income, damaged relationships, physical health problems, violence and murder.

My Shamba Digital is an Innovative Property Technology (Proptech) Startup built to make Real Estate Transactions Simpler. It was founded in the early quarter of 2021 to help resolve land disputes and reduce incidents of land fraud.

My Shamba Digital clients have access to a dedicated team of professional Advocates of the High Court of Kenya, Surveyors, Physical Planners and Land Valuers with vast experience in their respective fields to help them lodge applications for the various services offered by the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning and the National Land Commission on the Ardhi Sasa Platform, an online platform that allows Citizens, other stakeholders and interested parties to interact with land information held and processes undertaken by the Government.

In addition, clients receive the following services:

  • Access relevant land information in the flagship Resource Center that contains a legal blog dedicated to breaking down real estate transactions, all Conveyancing related Acts of Parliament, an E-bookshop and answers to Frequently Asked Questions in real estate transactions.
  • Find a place to call home from the handpicked houses, apartments and villa for long-term and short term rent in the flagship property listings page, My Shamba Digital Property Listings.
  • Find their dream plot on the verified land listings page, My Shamba Soko.

Robert Muoka, Founder and CEO at My Shamba Digital says they experienced a couple of challenges in the beginning like any other business.

“While starting out we had a poor business model. The founding team lacked the requisite training to effectively develop a cogent business model that captured the need we addressed as a business and the value we delivered to our esteemed clients. This negatively affected our value proposition as a business.”

Being an early stage startup, limited working capital to fully support business operations has also been one of the biggest challenges they have faced. This has affected key activities such as software and product development, marketing and branding, conducting adequate market research to fully scale their operations countrywide and recruiting the right talent. According to research conducted by CB Insights, 29% of startups fail because of insufficient funding.

“Cyber security threats to our online platform have also been a challenge faced by our tech team. We have experienced online security threats such as phishing and software bugs that have turned our focus away from iterating our digital products in line with customer needs and pains to fixing and repairing software errors that arise from the threats, added Robert Muoka, an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and a mentor at StartinevTechstars Startup Weekend Social Impact NairobiVC4A and GLEAC. 

On resolving cyber security threats, their technology team led by the Chief Technology Officer, Abdullahi Mohamud, has managed to migrate the cloud hosting to the Amazon Web Services Cloud that is secure. This has allowed them to focus on iterating their product while seeking feedback from customers, experts, peers, partners and competitors instead of fixing software bug errors.

My Shamba Digital were able to resolve their business model challenge by joining the Justice Innovation Circle (JIC) organised by the HiiL Innovation Hub East Africa. The incubation programme trains startup teams on various business concepts.

They resolved the challenge of limited working capital by issuing an equity funding round that is currently ongoing. My Shamba Digital is also a participant in the E4Impact Accelerator program that works with Kenyan businesses to grow their business, facilitate investment fundraising, scale their impact and offer linkages to international markets.

“ Joining the E4 Impact Accelerator program has helped us perfect our business model. The program offers startups customized business training that enables participants to identify the value proposition of their business by employing tools such as problem trees, user design thinking, value maps, customer profiles and business canvas models to identify customer needs and strive for a product market fit,” claims Mr. Muoka.

They decided to participate in the E4Impact Accelerator Program because the program provides startups with a holistic acceleration experience that is action-oriented, customized, and results-driven to scale growth and social impact. They hope to receive benefits such as access to a pool of funds to the accelerated companies, connection and mentorship with Italian businesses, access to satellite technologies, access to office space, a customized training program, international and local coaching and mentorship, and access to professional services legal, accounting, marketing, etc.

Robert Muoka says, “I have had the amazing opportunity to not only meet and interact with some of the best social impact entrepreneurs in the country but also learn a lot from the amazing team at the E4 Impact Foundation led by David Cheboryot.”

He is actively working to scale My Shamba Digital by Integrating Blockchain technology into the platform to help streamline the conveyancing process and make it more secure and transparent. They are also developing a USSD System and Mobile Application that will be available on both Apple App Store and Google Play Store to supplement the Web App making the platform accessible to every Kenyan.

Some notable achievements at My Shamba Digital since their emergence are:

By Michelle Mung’ata,

Communication and Marketing Lead

E4Impact Accelerator