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#StartupStory: Proptech platform Reslocate connects students with student accommodation

Passionate about uplifting small businesses and bringing about change to the previously disadvantaged, Lucas Tsholofelo Mohaswa saw a gap in the student accommodation market and promptly set to work on Reslocate, the latest local proptech platform to hit the market.
Lucas Tsholofelo Mohaswa, founder of Reslocate
Lucas Tsholofelo Mohaswa, founder of Reslocate

Reslocate seamlessly connects property owners with tertiary students looking for safe, reliable accommodation, with the added benefit of creating employment for the youth through its area agents programme through which properties are vetted.

We chatted to Mohaswa, founder of Reslocate, to find out more about what the app entails and offers to users, what makes it unique, and what his long-term vision is for the platform.

Tell us a bit about you, the founder, and what inspired you to launch Reslocate.

I am a qualified civil engineer and serial entrepreneur, born in Mothotlung - a small township in the North West Province.

Once upon a lifetime I was a student and so I understand the student journey and how hard it can be to balance registration, classes and finding the right accommodation all in the first week of arriving in a new environment. Let’s not forget the long lines. I’ve lived it too.

What does the Reslocate app entail and offer to users?

Reslocate gives students total peace of mind by taking care of at least one thing on the to-do list. We find and select the best and safe off-campus student accommodation across South Africa. With millions of students heading off to tertiary institutions every year, we realised the need for an easy, reliable, and smart way to find and book student accommodation that is digital. In short, we give you the power to explore and compare a variety of accommodation options before your arrival and choose one that suits you best.

For students, the Reslocate app offers the opportunity to pre-book the accommodation/pozi of their choice prior to going to a respective nearby institution. It has a secure payment system which enables our users to transact without any hassles. We have set up a secure messaging tool that lets our users get to know one another. Landlord and tenant can communicate and ask questions about the listing ahead of time.

Privately owned student accommodation property owners can list their properties on the app. Some of the advantages include access to a vast network of students, a deposit is guaranteed when students book, and the platform provides free and impactful marketing exposure for their properties, saving them time and costs.

What makes Reslocate unique?

Reslocate is about uplifting small businesses and bringing about change to the previously disadvantaged. We have enlisted the services of a company based in Lotus Gardens, in Pretoria, to assist with bringing the app to life. The founders Ole Malala and Zii Boikanyo now serves as executives in Reslocate.

We also create employment opportunities for youth through our area agent programme. We employ students enrolled in the institutions of higher learning to vet properties that are loaded on the app before they are approved to reduce the risks of students being exposed to unsafe and illegitimate property owners. This also assists students in avoiding possible scams.

#StartupStory: Proptech platform Reslocate connects students with student accommodation

What are some of the obstacles you've encountered in bringing this idea to life? How did you overcome them?

Like any other startup, we struggled in the beginning with capital raising. The app is self-funded. We eventually managed to crack the formula through investing sweat capital and using savings we accrued from some of our side operations.

Also listing of properties by the property owners - we had to come up with innovative methods to convince property owners to load properties on the app.

Since launch, what has the reception been like to the platform so far?

The app has been having tongues wagging around the streets as it is seen by students as cool and vibrant, and impactful, meaningful and resourceful by the property owners. The reception is great as we created new industries and new job opportunities.

The parents have seen this platform as a safer and convenient option for their kids.

What is your long-term vision for Reslocate?

We aim to provide a number one student accommodation interactive web-based app that connects property owners with prospective students. We intend to grow outside the borders of South Africa and possibly be in the top five proptech companies in the world.

We have a desire to make a difference and to live for a story that’s bigger than us as individuals. Invention is the fabric of our company.
#StartupStory: Proptech platform Reslocate connects students with student accommodation

What impact has Covid-19 had on the development and service offering of Reslocate, if at all?

The app was developed fully during lockdown. It gave us the opportunity to polish it and complete loose ends while working remotely. The postponement of opening of institutions of higher learning gave us enough opportunity to come up with different marketing strategies.

A thriving startup environment is key to a prosperous economy, particularly within the tech space. What advice do you have for others with similar ambitions of launching a digital platform in SA?

The advice I would give to them is to start where they are, with what they have. Always have a drive and ambition because that’s what will keep you going when the going gets tough. Knowledge of the industry norms is also important. Have a marketing strategy to get your product to the masses.

Lastly, what's your favourite trend in the proptech space for 2021?

Proptech is to property what fintech is to the finance industry. The industry is very unique with a few players. The future is tech and from 2021 onwards, we will notice a lot of companies jumping in on the bandwagon.

Introduction of virtual viewing: This technology, which allows tenants to immerse themselves in a property without ever setting foot inside the space, is exciting and something we would like to incorporate in the future of Reslocate.

Digitalisation: Partnership between e-commerce and proptech companies for seamless payments will form strategic synergies, thus reducing costs, risk, fraud and increase consumer confidence.

Data analytics: Collection of data will create competitive advantage.

The Reslocate app is available on Google Play Store, Huawei App Gallery and Apple Store.

About Sindy Peters

Sindy Peters (@sindy_hullaba_lou) is a group editor at on the Construction & Engineering, Energy & Mining, and Property portals. She can be reached at moc.ytinummoczib@ydnis.

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