Finding a home that is affordable in Kenya is becoming harder each day. Luckily, 3 friends; Piero Muguna Mbaabu, Joshua Mutua Nzuki and Kelvin Githuka Kihiu have a solution to this.

The 3 who are from JKUAT BBIT class of 2013 have founded Kejahunt is an online property-listing platform that is striving to ensure people get to know of quality affordable housing. The platform also helps in finding roommates in the event they feel the need to cost-share or have someone keep them company.

We talked to them about their startup and this is what they had to say:

What is Kejahunt all about?

Kejahunt is a platform that caters mostly for the low and middle-income earners. We seek to help them find a home they can afford.

We provide home seekers with an online platform that lists houses from as low as Ksh.5000 which they get to view from a map. Alternatively there is also the conventional list view that just shows photos of the house. The home seekers get interior and exterior photos of the house and also an around the block segment that profiles the area where the house is located. You also get information on the hospitals, hotels, schools, markets, police stations nearby.

In case one likes a house they see on the platform they are able to contact the owner as the contacts are provided with other details to the house.

Our platform has also integrated social graph that allows for someone to find a roommate on the platform using the number of mutual friends they have on Facebook.

How did Kejahunt come into existence?

Fresh from campus in August of 2013 we felt the need to find places to move into as we established ourselves. This proved to be a big challenge as finding a good house going at a reasonable price was coupled with a number of problems; a lot of time was wasted moving around finding the houses, financial strain was also experienced. Turning to the existing online property listing platforms only added to the frustration of finding new residence as they all catered for the high-end market. This experience revealed that we were not the only ones experiencing the problem. This led to the idea of providing an online property-listing platform catering for the larger population to get homes came to be.

What have been your challenges so far?

Competing against some of the pioneers of online property listing in Kenya is a challenge. They have already established themselves and have a large customer base which translates to more financial resources streaming in their direction and also large human resource at their disposal.

Getting landlords to list with us and not the real estate agents is also a challenge as most property owners are not tech savvy and will take a lot of convincing to get the advantages of online listing compared to putting up small boards on electricity poles.

What have you achieved?

We have 1,300 users who have signed up on our platform and have so far been able to get 120 success stories of people who have been able to get houses from using our platform.

We got to the finals of The Next Big Thing, an initiative by Nation Media Group to recognize best innovation ideas and gives them a platform to showcase their innovations.

We also came as second runners up in a crowd funding competition ran by One percent club and we managed to raise some money that will help build our business and help us achieve some of the goals we are set to achieve.

What are the factors contributing to your success

We have had that self-drive to achieve and make a difference and it has brought us a long way in getting to where we are right now.

Nailab has played quite a big role in ensuring that we succeed with their endless effort to ensure that we get quality training on how to handle the business and various strategies to implement in order to grow the company. We can’t ask for a better incubation space than the Nailab.

Family and friends have also contributed to us making it this far with their constant encouragement and financial support when called upon.

Why did you choose entrepreneurship over employment?

A course in BBIT is meant to provide one with entrepreneurial skills and the idea of being entrepreneurs really appealed to us compared to employment. Being young provided us with a platform to be adventurous and try out different things while we can. The current situation in Kenya of unemployment also seemed to propel us towards starting our own thing and provide that employment.

What are your thoughts on Kenyan startups?

In Kenya startups have it rough trying to get funding as investors in Kenya are more interested in tangible goods and do not appreciate startups at the idea stage hence they can’t fund the projects and most end up not making it out of the idea stage. Most of investors in Kenya are yet to warm up to early stage companies, prefer instead to jump in when the business is sustainable as opposed to the startups in the developed countries. But with business incubators like Nailab there is a glimmer of hope for startups.

Who has been your inspiration?

Sam Gichuru C.E.O at the Nailab has been a great inspiration to us. He has been able to build something that is helping so many reach greater heights when they were thought small ideas. The fact that he finds time to come and check up on our progress and also advise us on the way to go makes him more of a father figure.

What does your startup need going forward?

We need to cover more geographic areas in order to increase our customer base and this will require more monetary resources to be injected in the venture.