Baytuki is making real estate crowdfunding easier for women

By Sindhu Kashyaap
January 13, 2023, Updated on : Sun Jan 15 2023 14:26:53 GMT+0000
Baytuki is making real estate crowdfunding easier for women
Baytuki enables women to make micro-investments in real estate. It aims to enable women of all ages and income brackets towards financial prosperity.
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When Latifa Bin Haider was studying for a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from The American University of Sharjah, she got the idea of starting a mental health startup Mental Health AE. 

“I had no idea or intention of starting up, so I went to my co-founder, my professor in the university. My friend was going through something and we simply couldn’t find the right help. This was before COVID-19, so mental health in the region was still very stigmatised. My professor too looked for something to help, but there wasn’t anything,” says Latifa in a conversation with YourStory Gulf Edition

Both of them then decided to start Mental Health ME in 2019. The idea was to focus on bringing together information and resources. This organically started growing based on feedback from the community. 

During an entrepreneurship programme, Latifa came across a session on crowdfunding. “The whole idea got me excited. It made me realise that I had some money saved and thought of looking at investing some of the money. It also reminded me of the kitty money that most women across Asia and the Middle East use to save money,” says Latifa. 

What does the platform do? 

That session led to the birth of Baytuki. It is a platform that enables women to make micro-investments in real estate. It aims to enable women of all ages and income brackets towards financial prosperity. The platform was established in 2021, and the formal approvals started in July 2022. 

Latifa draws the idea to invest in real estate from her grandmother’s advice to save cash, and buy gold and property. 

“I first started speaking with my friends and family, and realised they were keen, so I decided to expand the pool and talk to more women. I started it by putting it in competitions. And I realised while a lot of women were keen and interested, they were also sceptical,” says Latifa.

The women did not want to invest in something they didn’t want to look into. Also, they didn’t want to put in all their savings in one place. “Also real estate is significantly male-dominated. And many women believed it was for the men,” adds Latifa. 

She adds this is where Baytuki comes into the picture. The platform takes care of all these obstacles, and there is an education aspect with Baytuki Academy. It offers programmes, either online, face-to-face or as a blended approach, providing opportunities to get a head start on accelerated learning addressing new trends and industry growth areas. 

Baytuki

Baytuki team

Educating investors 

Baytuki Academy’s courses fall under three categories: personal finance and investments, knowledge series, and corporate and government. On the platform, women can start their investments with as little as AED 5,000. The entity is licensed at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and is regulated by Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) . 

The company is also part of the Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Campus (DTEC), which is the largest technology incubator and co-working hub of its kind in the MENA region. DTEC is an initiative of Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), an integrated free zone technology park, which is a member of the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority (DIEZ). 

“DTEC was the first place I competed in with my idea, Baytuki. The support shown was nothing short of incredible, it was exactly what I needed as a budding entrepreneur,” says Latifa. 

Once the user creates an account and submits the documents, the platform verifies the account after a KYC process. Baytuki then provides investment opportunities and presents the required information. This helps the investor make the right choice. Once the customer clicks on invest, the payment is done by a bank transfer to a separate account. 

Baytuki verifies the property with in-person vetting and the team follows DFC’s criteria. On the full funding of the property, the Baytuki charges 1.5% and from the rental income, the team charges 5%. On the sale and exit from the property, the team takes 2.5%. 

Challenges

Latifa faced several challenges while building the company. “I always get this judgement in the beginning of what this youngster knows about real estate. Or the fact that many women aren’t there in the sector,” says Latifa. 

On biases, Latifa believes in picking and choosing battles wisely. If it is a good opportunity, Latifa takes the call of letting her team handle it. 

Obtaining a licence, especially with the regulatory authority, helped the company establish its legitimacy. 

Finding the right team members was another challenge. “I want to have a healthy work environment, and also need people with the right skill sets. Out of 500 CVs, I would pick one person for the role, and I would personally go through all of the CVs. It was a long task, but it was worth it,” says Latifa. Currently Baytuki has a team of five. 

Market and future 

According to a report by Emirates NBD Research, the Dubai real estate market has shown a steady and persistent growth in the Q3 of 2022. The report stated that the Dubai Land Department figures show close to a 14% quarter-on-quarter increase in transitions, valuing from AED 58.99 billion to AED 69.49 billion. 

The proptech segment in Dubai has players such as Realiste, Nomad Homes, and Square Yards. According to Latifa crowdfunding as a niche in the property market, however, is still in its infancy. 

The team is now looking to expand to different regions and countries in the GCC. 

Advising all women entrepreneurs, Latifa says, “If you are interested in a sector go ahead and take the plunge. Even if the sector doesn’t have too many women entrepreneurs, that shouldn’t stop you. You will pave the way for many. Everything comes with its unique challenges, just find it in you to be flexible. And always listen to the market's needs.” 


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Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

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