Wunmi Osholake is the country manager for Lamudi, an online real estate platform that connects real estate agents, developers, and individual owners. The company operates in 32 countries across the globe, 22 of which are in Africa, writes Moses Opobo.
What is the meaning of Lamudi?
The beauty of the word is that it went from meaning nothing and is now synonymous with real estate. It gained its own reputation. I think it’s the beauty of a word going from meaning absolutely nothing to something.
Briefly, who is Wunmi?
I’m a young lady who is fascinated with life. I like travelling, and meeting people. I’m a career-oriented person. I like what I do. I believe that the world of today gives women the opportunity to explore their passions and their potential. I believe that the modern woman now has the chance to be a wife, mother and career woman.
The Internet and how it makes the world smaller fascinates me. The world is now a borderless place.
I was born and raised in Nigeria, which I left when I was 15 and moved to South Africa. I stayed there two years, then moved to the US for college and have been staying there ever since.
In the US I attended the Rutgers University in New Jersey, where I majored in accounting. After college I worked for Ernst and Young as an auditor. I wanted to get a better glimpse of how business is done, to be a part of the day to day operations of an organization.
From Ernst and Young I went to Tiffany and Company, which sells jewels as an auditor. There I gained more insight into how things are done, and that led to my next move.
As an auditor you are stuck in this support role, yet I wanted to play a more active role in things. It is at this point that I thought of going back to school for my Masters in international business development.
How did you end up in Rwanda?
After my Masters at the Grenoble Graduate School of Business, in France, I returned to the US to spend more time with family and plan my next career move.
Then I got connected to Aneesa, the CEO of Lamudi East Africa and we had a good conversation. I loved the direction the company was taking, and the fact that it was internet-based. I also loved the fact that their focus was mainly on emerging markets.
I’m relatively new in Rwanda. I came here on January 31st, but it feels like home already. I’m new but already I’m driving myself around, and picking restaurants of my own. That’s part of the beauty about Rwanda, you settle in a lot easier.
How does Lamudi work?
We use the Internet as a tool to meet people’s housing needs. We make something that used to be so complex so much easier.
At Lamudi we are able to capture vital data and share it with agents. For instance we furnish them with statistics on how many people are searching for property in a particular area as compared to others, and the percentage of properties listed for sale against those that are for rent.
The agents pay a small monthly subscription, upon which we advertise their product and monitor it on the market.
Agents either call us or come to our office to place their ads. They can also set up their own account and upload their content, which goes through a content management process before we upload it.
When you look around you can see a lot of development going on, in response to the current housing shortage in the country. That is what is interesting about this market. It’s a mix of affordable and high-end luxury houses.
Even things that were not here before, like serviced apartments are now commonplace. I would say it’s a cash cow that’s attracting a lot of investment, both local and foreign.