Being a group of developers, the E-House team have always been accustomed to using technology to solve a problem.
They realised that one of the problems that Cambodia, or Phnom Penh specifically, faced was a lack of safe housing options for young women to rent if they were moving to the city for study or work.
This inspired them to come up with E-House, an app that helps connect young women to landlords who have already gone through a vetting process.
Their idea was one of the 11 selected to take part in the EPIC programme. At Demo Day, they were selected as one of EPIC’s final 5 who would receive $20,000 in startup funding.
Geeks in Cambodia caught up with the E-House team to find out more about their project.
The following interview has been edited for clarity, language and flow.
What are some of the project’s key features?
Our project is a mobile platform that helps support women and low-income earners by identifying appropriate and suitable accommodation. We commit to provide:
- Safe, affordable & good quality accommodation
- Vetting of landlords, building & location
- Emergency contact and follow-up support
For the time being, we are going to deploy the mobile application first and develop a supporting website along the way.
What are some features of the application that will set it apart from current platforms people use, such as Facebook?
I think what sets us apart is that we provide information for renting the house. This includes the prices which are not always available online right now. Even on Khmer 24, while such information is available, it is not really safe or reliable. Basically, we curate the information and ensure that only trustworthy house owners’ information are available on our app. We also assist our end users to ensure their safety by providing them with an emergency contact point from our company.
How will the app target potential customers from rural areas?
For students, we are going directly to share information about our product at high schools instantly after they finish their final exam and we also seek to work closely with student associations. For factory workers, we plan to partner with the garment factory association. But the most important part of our strategy is to spread the news through radio. This medium also allows us to reach the people from the countryside.
How will the app connect potential customers to landlords?
We play the role of a middleman. Tenants can contact our team and we’ll accompany them to meet with the house owners, or they can go to the house owners themselves using the information we provide about the location of the house.
Will users be able to view the available property before committing?
Yes, they can view the property using the contacts our app provides without needing to sign up or commit to anything.
So let’s talk more about EPIC. Why did you join the Programme?
There are a lot of activities that need to be done with our project and we cannot afford to do it part time, so we need the funding to support us so that we can work on the project full time. Furthermore, we believe that the EPIC programme has a lot of potential and is a very powerful tool for helping young entrepreneurs, especially with all the advice we will receive from the coaches and mentors.
How do you hope the project will develop?
We hope that the project will develop such that we are recognised as a community that helps support women from rural area in household matters. In the future, our dream is for women who are looking to move to Phnom Penh to have no fear or reservations with regards to looking for housing. In this way, especially for young women who are moving to the city to study, we hope that they can be fully focused on their studies and build a bright future for themselves.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs like yourself?
Remember your goals, keep your focus, believe in yourself and trust your team.
Great advice there from the E-house team! It’s really interesting to see how an app is being put to use to ease more women into city life
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