Ekaya.com, the online rental marketplace that makes it easier for people to list, find and rent property, announced today that it will launch a massive leap forward for the residential rental market and expand its service area to cover Gauteng as well as the Western Cape. The news is accompanied by an announcement that Bill Paladino (ex-Naspers, Amazon & Property24) has joined Ekaya’s already impressive list of investors and will be actively advising the company as it begins expanding across the country.
“We’ve packed a lot into this launch including a fresh new look for Ekaya.com but the thing we’re perhaps most excited about is the launch of our brand-new tenant verification system – called Ekaya VIP – which makes life a lot easier for tenants who are applying for properties and will give property owners new-found confidence in their selection process.” – Justin R. Melville, Ekaya CEO.
Ekaya VIP (Verified Information Pack) makes clever use of cutting-edge technology, previously utilised in the online lending space, to help prospective tenants collect and submit all the information they’ll need to apply for a rental property. Ekaya VIP works by collecting and verifying the identity, credit worthiness and affordability of a prospective tenant in one simple and quick process. For a nominal once-off fee of R99, the tenant’s data is stored safely in one convenient place, which enables him or her to share their information securely with multiple property owners as a part of their application without having to print out their bank statements and verify their ID document at the Police station.
For property owners and landlords, Ekaya VIP provides a clear bird’s-eye view of the risk factor of each tenant applicant, making it easier to filter-out and deal with good candidates who meet their requirements.
“Ekaya VIP is really the first tool of its kind; it makes a painful, time-consuming and often expensive part of the renting process safer, faster and more efficient for both tenants and property owners. It’s a critical part of our mission to make renting smarter, not harder,” said Melville.
As a sign of its confidence in Ekaya VIP, the company will guarantee all qualified tenants under the Ekaya Property Owner Guarantee which offers property owners and landlords up to 5X more cover than the average security deposit.
“The Ekaya Property Owner Guarantee completes the picture for our property owner and landlord customers. Not only do we provide an awesome space to list your property and find great tenants but now we can deliver complete peace of mind and take the hassle and risk out of renting, completely”, said Melville.
At launch, Ekaya VIP will support all four major banks (ABSA, FNB, Standard Bank and Nedbank) and will be working on bringing more banks onboard in due course, such as Capitec.
“Safety and security of information is our north star. We’ve worked very hard with our partners and industry leaders to ensure the highest standard of data security without compromising the user experience,” – Rudolf Vavruch, Ekaya CTO.
After a stealthy development and testing period in Cape Town where Ekaya.com currently handles ~40,000 searches a month, the company has begun expanding its coverage area, which will now include the greater Gauteng metropolitan area.
“Johannesburg (Gauteng) is a huge market, and one that has been practically bashing down our door for access to Ekaya since shortly after we launched. I’m pumped to be bringing our offering to the City of Gold, at last!” – Ruark Ferreira, Ekaya COO.
The expansion to Gauteng marks the beginning of Ekaya’s forward march to become the nation’s biggest and best rental solution.
Bill Paladino joins Ekaya as an angel investor and advisor. His previous experiences, including CEO of Naspers e-commerce Africa, director at Amazon.com and board member of Property24, will introduce a wealth of rare and valuable marketplace experiences, as Ekaya plots its course toward further expansion and operational excellence.
“The guys behind Ekaya are passionate about building great software that customers love. As a rental property owner myself, the value proposition offered by Ekaya is a total no-brainer for the tenant and landlord. The potential market for something as good as this is big.” – Bill Paladino.
Ekaya is a Cape Town-based startup founded in 2014 by Justin R. Melville (CEO), Ruark Ferreira (COO) & Rudolf Vavruch (CTO). The young company’s flagship offering – Ekaya.com helps people list, find and rent property safely & easily on their phone, tablet or computer.
Ekaya has attracted more than R2 Million in angel funding from notable investors including Mark Heerden, Justin Stanford, Dan Guasco, Wayne Gosling, Guilherme Steinbruch, Sebastian Stoddart, Bill Paladino and Vinny Lingham’s Newtown Partners. Ekaya graduated from the 88mph Accelerator Program (2014) and was the first company to attract funding at the Net Prophet SparkUp Live! (2014) event. Ekaya has even managed to tame a Dragon or three on the South African edition of Dragon’s Den (2014).