Sethebe Manake

Cementing Her Business In The Proptech Industry Is What This African Female Founder Is Investing In


June 1, 2022, 11:43 a.m.

One of the biggest challenges in the real estate market that African investors, developers, financiers, and landowners face is the valuation process of real estate property. The lack of reliable information in African property markets and the enormous manual efforts to assess the available information lead to a slow, expensive, and intransparent valuation process for real estate property.

In 2020, Sethebe decided to tackle this problem by launching GoSmartValue. This proptech platform eliminates inefficiencies and discrepancies in valuations by reducing manual inputs in property evaluations and obtaining accurate real estate information. The GoSmartValue platform provides reliable real estate information within a single digital platform allowing developers and real estate financiers to make faster, informed decisions.

'There was just a lack of transparency in information. Insufficient data about certain areas in Botswana meant that financiers could not assess the viability of a potential development there. Furthermore, people who had land didn't know how the market works and how to engage with financial institutions to assess their land accurately,' says Sethebe

Over time she realized how this affected valuations of properties, as there was a growing concern by banks and property owners about the discrepancies in valuations of properties. Further research found that disadvantaged households and widows were struggling to transfer their properties because of the valuation cost. For Sethebe Manake, recognizing the problem that her community faced and discovering a solution to solving this problem has been a constant motivation. To date, the GoSmartValue platform connects property valuers, banks, and individuals, ensuring that all players are participating from the same source of information. This reduces discrepancies and misalignment and increases opportunities for banks to finance new areas.

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Creating a tech product like this was not an easy task. 'I knew nothing about technology when I envisioned what the solution to the problem we sought was,' says Sethebe. 'I learned to do basic coding via online classes and even learned how to develop an app without code.'

Sethebe, a chartered surveyor in property investment and finance, is also the founder of Vantage Properties, a real estate market research and consulting firm. Her knowledge of the real estate market is a testament to her dedication to bringing real solutions to her community. As a wife and mother, her tenacity to learn and break down barriers in a male-dominated market segment makes her drive to succeed even more worthwhile.

'The majority of the decision-makers fundamental for the technology adoption are male, so my plate has been filled with misogyny and underestimation. I have been given the runaround; however, that has only fuelled my desire to keep pushing harder,' says Sethebe.

Recently accepted into the African Tech Vision 10-week virtual mentorship program will enable her to connect with like-minded business owners and an international pool of mentors in the startup tech scene.

'I want my business to grow 10-fold, and I want it to last for 101 years! I want us to be in as many countries as we possibly can. It's an audacious thought, but I'm a tenacious spirit at heart.'


tag: Entrepreneurship, Business, Startup, women in tech, women in business,

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