- edanra is an online renting platform in Ghana.
- It plans to solve the renting needs of young people
- edanra is the first property platform crafting solutions for National Service Personnel
Young, energetic and broke, I travelled 10 hours straight outside Accra to start my mandatory National Service after university. After moving in with a friend who lived there, and setting up for work, it was time to find my own place. I found a place quickly and with cash in hand, was ready to move into my own apartment.
That dream was however short lived as my agent was a dubious, no-good fraud. Thankfully, he was arrogant too. His arrogance together with the help of the police ensured he was caught and my money was returned to me.
Ghana is no stranger to such renting horror stories. I was however lucky, because unlike me, most people never get their money back. That’s a reality that Bill Fosuhene Cobbinah, Alfred Asare Amoah, Jerome Cordjotse and Isaac Sarfo Manu had seen happen to people around them countless times.
Tired of this never ending problem, they co-founded edanra, an online property marketplace for short and long term rent in Ghana. Their business, edanra.com, is positioned to address the renting needs of Ghanaians by providing affordable and properly vetted homes.
edanra’s lightning-fast and beautifully designed, user-friendly website combined with their clever and refreshing marketing got my attention. I caught up with Bill Cobbinah, to better understand edanra and how they’re disrupting renting in Ghana.
First up, what does edanra mean?
edanra is ‘edanwura’ in shortened form and it means house owner in Akan.
How did edanra start?
It started when a friend got defrauded by a supposed property agent when he was looking for a space to rent in 2019.
How did that happen?
After National Service, he paid about GHS4000 to this man who claimed to be the personal agent of a property owner who lived out of the country. We only went with our friend for property-viewing and that was the end of it; he vanished with the notes.
The striking lesson from that ordeal was the fact that anybody, regardless of background, could be a victim of a broken and less robust system. And more precisely, the need for a more controlled system that facilitates the entire renting process for accommodation jumped at us.
Why the need?
The greater mass of the Ghanaian citizenry are predominantly tenants. And we believe it is about time to replace the old way of finding a space to rent; either by covering exhausting distances or be at the mercy of some fraudulent agent. The goal is to make the entire renting process (listing, finding and payment) completely convenient and digital in Ghana, especially for young people.
How different are you from other players such as Meqasa or even AirBnB?
So quite a couple of things even though we share some traits with Airbnb and Meqasa.
- Like Meqasa, we provide the platform for property owners, developers and credible agents to advertise their space. But we are only about rent and just that- no sales, and our property bracket does not cover commercial spaces.
- Like Airbnb, we have a service called edanra stay where verified furnished spaces are put up for short stays, nightly bookings to be precise. With this service, payment via card or mobile money happens directly on our platform.
There’s this sense that you’re trying to reduce or completely eliminate the middleman role of agents. Aren’t you ruining an economic ecosystem by doing that?
Even though we are reducing agent-tenant interactions to the minimum, we are not eliminating agents completely. We are giving room for only registered and credible property agents.
How do you verify these agents and deal with scams?
For listings under regular rentals, our team runs back-checks on listings by phone calls and site visits. For edanra stay properties, funds are only transferred on the day of checkout. This is to be sure that the guest stayed at the listed facility.
Outside of edanra stay listings which are nightly, are there monthly pay options? If no, do you plan on including this in the future?
Currently, properties that are listed for short stays bear that option. But we are soon rolling out a service for National Service Personnel to find and pay for rent on a monthly basis.
I think even salaried workers will find monthly payments helpful. How do people list their properties on your platform and how much is it?
It is free to list. All you need is an email and pictures of your property. Just visit edanra.com, and our extremely user-friendly platform will guide you.
What are your thoughts on the state of housing in Ghana?
The housing deficit stands at a whooping 5.7 million and this is primarily due to the fact that less attention has been paid to the market at the base. Generally, the young and middle class are having a tough time with the current dynamics of housing in Ghana. It is a nationwide phenomenon but Accra is the red zone.
In short, decent spaces are expensive and the payment requirements are just not friendly.
By this, does it mean Edanra properties are cheaper?
To say edanra properties are cheaper implies that edanra owns property; we don’t. We have only provided the platform for renters to rent. However, we have services in place that ensure that people are matched to decent spaces and affordable rates.
What are some challenges you’ve faced so far, and how are you overcoming them?
Most property owners are a little reluctant about resorting to a digital platform to get their spaces rented out. But gradually we are gaining hold and our current users are happy – and that’s what matters to us.
You ran a Kickstarter early last year for edanra that didn’t meet the funding goal. What are some learnings from it and will there be another?
Yes [we did]. We realized a throng of people appreciated what we are trying to achieve in Ghana and that was a valid highlight for us. About another one, not so sure. But we are open to investments from parties who share in our ideals as a startup.
What’s your team and a regular day at edanra like?
At core, we are a team of about ten and it’s been extremely exciting – a bunch of young lads trying to grab the bull by the horn. We work in a fully liberal working environment where each person sets their own targets and is accountable to the whole team.
Where do you position yourself in the next 2 – 5 years?
To be the go-to renting platform for particularly young people. We want to be able to provide decent spaces to young people at affordable prices in this country. When we say young people, especially for regular rentals, we mean people in the 5- years-post-college bracket.
edanra is on to something great with their focus on renting for young people across the country. The company may very disrupt Ghana’s renting space if they can pull off their plans for National Service Personnel as well as pay monthly rent in Accra solution.
edanra is young, ambitious and not just another online marketplace looking to make a quick pesewa, but a startup whose heart is in actually solving the housing needs of young Ghanaians. future looks bright and only time will tell if edanra can be the much needed solution.