How Chude Osiegbu is making estate servicing and operations seamless with VENCO

Godfrey Elimian
We talked to Chude Osiegbu on this instalment of Founder Spotlight and he shares with us all what he has been up to with VENCO, his stories, inspiration and future plans to expand his product in Africa.
How Chude Osiegbu is making estate servicing and operations seamless with VENCO

Chude Osiegbu is a Nigerian channelling his experiences through VENCO, a proptech startup that controls the operations of housing units and communities through a built operating system that manages the utilities and issues of residential and commercial communities in Africa.

VENCO, formerly known as Estate Manager, was inspired by Chude’s personal experience while residing in Port Harcourt, one of Nigeria’s foremost cities. The proptech startup was built on identifying the various challenges associated with running large units of housing estates by an individual or a few people who might not have the capacity to attend to every need simultaneously.

“I used to live in an estate in Port Harcourt, with over 1000 units of residential properties. However, during my time there we were about 200 occupants. It was difficult to run because apparently, the developer that had built the place was unwilling to manage the place. So, the management of the place was left to about 200 people of different backgrounds without a baseline to follow.”

Chude Osiegbu graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He has also had the opportunity to work with top tech firms as an SAP consultant.

How Chude Osiegbu is making  estate servicing and operations seamless with VENCO
Chude Kenneth Osiegbu, Co-founder and CEO of VENCO

We talked to Chude Osiegbu on this instalment of Founder Spotlight. The CEO, who would instead be chilling on the beach, lying down, sipping mojitos other than being a founder of a proptech, shares with us all what he has been up to with VENCO, his personal stories, inspiration and plans to expand his product in Africa

Read also: How May-May Ogoigbe has helped over 3000 African businesses grow through SME Growth Lab

The inspiration behind VENCO

According to the Nigeria Proptech Association, the country’s industry’s market size has reached an all-time high of $11.7bn and is expected to hit approximately $23.7bn by the year 2027. According to the President of the association, Roland Igbinoba. The value of investments in the global Proptech industry was expected to grow by an average of 5.2 per cent to exceed $85tn over the next 20 years (2022-2050).

However, property management in Africa is somewhat limited to investment, leasing and small-scale manual service delivery by service providers. The sector has only recently started to infuse tech into the industry and digitalize the processes involved in managing these properties.

According to Chude, his major inspiration behind VENCO as an operating system for communities and large housing units in Africa is his personal experiences.

“In trying to manage the 200 occupants’ unit in Port Harcourt, it became very clear that even when some semblance of management started to come into the place, that they needed tools, you know, digital tools to help to make things easier”

Chude Osiegbu, VENCO’s CEO and co-founder

So we started asking ourselves, “why can’t we automate our billing for service charges and collection of them? Because that was a big problem and solving that problem. The next thing was utilities which were a vital component of the housing units.

So we used power from the generator or the public from the distribution company. Another question of how to automate the vending of energy and things just started to add up and add up like that. And by the time we were done, we had a baseline system running this community. We were known as Estate Manager at that time.”

The African problems that VENCO is solving

The proptech industry in Africa is catching up to the rest of the world. From the views of investors and entrepreneurs, interest in the African Proptech sector has increased in recent years.

However, according to Crunchbase, the global ratio of Proptech to total VC funding averages a disappointing 5%. This means for every $1M in VC funding globally, $50,000 goes to Proptech.

These and more are some challenges hampering the industry’s growth in Africa. But Chude Osiegbu claims that some of the identified challenges communities face that inspire VENCO’s penetration and operations are power generation and distribution.

“Today one of our biggest revenue streams is selling prepaid utility meters for energy and water. Of course, we are earning subscriptions for providing our service. In the rest of the world, you don’t find a scenario where an estate is providing its power, so utilities are taken for granted and provided by large distribution companies.”

“The reason prepaid energy meters have become a thing in Nigeria is the dysfunctional power generation and distribution environment. These communities have had to take matters into their own hands to guarantee a good power supply; that’s where we’ve come in to fill in the gap.

So, where essentially we sell prepaid meters to these communities that have become distribution companies for themselves, in Kenya, it is water. So, that’s one unique African trait.

Chude Osiegbu

Read also: How May-May Ogoigbe has helped over 3000 African businesses grow through SME Growth Lab

What a normal day as a founder looks like

Being the founder of a proptech company and providing solutions to a large group of people who depend on you to make everything go smoothly would not be easy. Chude confirms this with us.

“It’s very busy, and it starts early. As a founder, you must keep an eye on what’s happening and ensure that the systems we’ve put in place are working. Check on plans that are continuously being executed and have to be monitored, and most importantly, look at new business opportunities and all of that.

A typical day has me, you know, monitoring some of our channels to our support channels to see how things are going, and whether any new issues are becoming a big problem on our platform.


“I also attend meetings; partnership meetings, meetings with customers and so on. Also, as a developer in the organization, I align very closely with the developer team. I join their meetings, give some of my ideas, and have conversations with them,” he added.

What he does for fun

Even when the saying goes, “all work and no play makes jack a dull boy, ” many founders or perhaps CEOs still grapple with creating time for fun. Their excuse ranges from classifying their work as fun because they enjoy it to having no cut-out time to have “fun”.

Chude says: “There’s not a lot of fun at the moment, as a founder, but one does try to relax and de-stress every once in a while. One of the things that we’re looking to do better at VENCO is more periodic, maybe quarterly hangouts, and hangouts anytime we can manage so that it’s not just all work.”

What inspires him personally?

For people, several factors can act as their motivation and drive to be part of something good or perhaps be part of the very few people looking at impacting their environment. For Chude, the thought of having to do something that generally affects people drives both him and the brand.

“In the context of VENCO, it seems like a space there’s a need and being able to build something that addresses that need or those needs and to be able to think of a solution, build that solution executed it works and then of course, provide it as value to customers who are willing to pay for it.”

For him, major African cities like Lagos, Abuja and Nairobi predominantly have estate housing units which show the importance of shelter and the need for an operating system which helps manage these communities.

“We are trying to solve a problem that affects a large number of people and it will be an increasing number because if you even look at our solution, and urban centres, the degree of urbanization is increasing in leaps and bounds and what it means is that because land is not increasing at the same pace.

People will live in increasingly integrated structures; there will be more apartment blocks, estates, and all of that. Once you bring people together like that, you need an operating system to run their affairs. So I see us as dealing with a very critical part of human life, which is making sure that your living spaces and your communities that you live in, you know, are well run.”

How Chude Osiegbu is making  estate servicing and operations seamless with VENCO
Chude Osiegbu and VENCO’s team

Kenya and plans for expansion

Kenya has recently become a hub for tech startups; it is regarded as the second-best innovation hub in Sub-Saharan Africa. Tech start-ups thrive in Kenya due in part to the ready availability of credit lines and other forms of financing.

In asserting the choice of Kenya, Chude noted that the East African country is a relatively mature economy in the African continent. “There’s a lot of development going on there, not just real estate development, technology and all of that, so it’s quite ahead around technology topics.

But also, in our specific domain, they already have a culture for communal living, so apartment blocks, gated estates, and regular estates are very prominent features across Kenya. It also helps that our Chief Technology Officer is Kenyan”, he added.

For our roadmap this year, we also have Ghana, and then there are several other African countries, like, for example, South Africa, we’ve got people reaching out from Cameroon.

Chude Osiegbu

On competition and challenges in the industry

Several challenges characterise every industry in the tech space. However, one common challenge for founders is funding. Chude thinks this is a peculiar problem for the proptech sector. He says, “the proptech space, traditionally for VC funding hasn’t been one of the sectors that have been prioritized.”

Although he feels that over the last eight months, there have been some high-profile announcements around fundraising and significant fundraising by companies working to protect the space. He claims it is not unrelated to the fact that the business is scalable and broad in its offerings.

“When you look at our spectrum end of the real estate business, it’s populated with facilities managers, property managers, residents, associations and all of that. These are the people who we, you know, pitch to when we are trying to sell a solution and who derive value from the solution, but their operations have been traditionally manual.”

“So one of the challenges is just bringing them out of that manual or semi-manual mode of thinking and bringing them somewhere where they rely more on digital tools. So our main competition today is not other prop tech solutions in our space, it is the manual method of doing things.”

Chude Osiegbu

Read also: How Lanre Ogungbe is creating a secure and safe space with IdentityPass

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