An interview with the CEO of Masahati
Masahati.com chose an interesting problem to solve. Many of us have first hand experience of how opaque and expensive the real estate market can be in Kuwait, and we know how tough it will be to add clarity to the market. We had a quick interview with Masahati founder Ahmed Al-Gharabally, who will be joining us at the next StartupQ8 event tomorrow. We believe his experience is worth sharing, and the interview below is just the tip of the iceberg…
What is Masahati & What problems are you trying to solve?
Masahati [ma-saa-ha-tee][ مساحتي ] is the Arabic word for “My Area”
Masahati.com is a state-of-the-art online real estate marketplace that connects property searchers directly with property owners and agents. Simple to use whether your searching or listing a property.
It is our attempt at creating a more transparent marketplace within the real-estate sector on par with international markets to make the search for property seamless, friendly, and easy while providing property listers a cost-effective and fast method of marketing their properties.
What were the important factors that went into the design of the site?
We placed a strong importance on a clean UI that could aesthetically work in both english & arabic while focusing on ease of use & function. We aimed for function that would provide something new on a global scale & allow local users of the site to take the technological leap with us.
Did you create a mobile app or mobile friendly site? What went into that?
A mobile app was not initially planned at the creation of the site but a later attempt was made. It required creating an API to allow the app developers to work with the site. Complications arose later as the local app developers could not understand the API we had created in partnership with an international firm & kept requesting further API functions that significantly exceeded our predetermined budget.
One of the most useful things about Masahati is its attempt to add clarity to an opaque market. What were the challenges that came with that?
Even with adequate market research & survey’s, nothing shows you an industry like actually being in the middle of it. It would seem rather clear that people searching for property would be attracted to masahati.com
over alternative off-line methods & our site visitor count can show for it. It was our initial assumption that property listers would like to market their properties effectively while targeting the right clients for the property locally & internationally on the fastest medium we have today all supported by a freemium model.
We were partially correct. The vast majority of property managers that would potentially list on the site were not doing because the market thrived on the lack of transparency. Partially due to a lack of real-estate law, property owners would not sign any exclusive or shared contracts with agents which then impacted their ability to, in their understanding, market the property publicly as it would inform all other agents of the availability.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Posted by mijbel on December 1, 2013