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Qatari start-up hapondo evokes huge response from online home hunters, brokers
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Qatari start-up hapondo evokes huge response from online home hunters, brokers

Satyendra Pathak 
Doha 
Born with a mission to become the leading property rental platform in the region, Qatari start-up hapondo has become an instant hit in Qatar’s real estate market within a very short span of time.  
The website of hapondo, which went live on March 1, has evoked massive response from online home hunters and real estate brokers alike. 
“The response has been fantastic from both users and real estate companies. When we launched the platform in March 2020, we had over 15 real estate companies and the majority of those companies are big in the country. In terms of users, we had 30,000 sessions, 120,000 page views, 23,500 property clicks and over 71 percent of the traffic was from Qatar,” hapondo Chief Executive Officer Abdulla al Fadhala told Qatar Tribune.  
The company that operates from Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) started with over a thousand property listings and the number is growing at a fast pace. 
“When we launched, we had 1,250 property listings. Now we are at 1,737 to be exact and this number is growing as more companies are signing up and in the process of listing their properties on hapondo,” Fadhala said. 
About the number of actual transactions taking place through hapondo, Fadhala said, “This parameter is very hard to track and is very subjective. For example, someone could have seen the phone number of the real estate company and called them directly without clicking on the ‘call us’ button – so we wouldn’t be able to track that. However, we had over 23,500 unique property clicks in March. If we estimate just 1 percent of those clicks lead to a contract being signed then we can assume about 235 transactions so far.” 
At a time when digital platforms have come into prominence to carry out most of the public- related activities, companies like hapondo are playing a vital role in enabling Qatar to keep abreast of the digital boom the world is witnessing and advance the nation’s economic development.
“Our team is very keen to be part of Qatar’s digital transformation. hapondo will greatly contribute to the national goal of creating an integrated digital society that enhances people’s ability to participate in the building of a knowledge-based economy,” he said.
“At hapondo, we are very focused to help tenants find the next place they want to rent in Qatar. We also publish guides and tips on our social media platforms to provide the public with more information  about the process of renting a home in Qatar,” Fadhala said. 
Talking about the idea behind launching hapondo and the plans to further develop it, Fadhala said, “Our team founded this venture after realising how difficult and frustrating the process was to find a new home in Qatar. After studying the market, we realised that not only was the real estate marketplace operating at low quality levels, but also some of the leading companies operating in the sector were based in the UAE.”
“hapondo was born to fill the gap we saw in the market. It’s 2020 and people are fed up with looking at low-quality photos or poor descriptions of properties. We want to help connect tenants looking for a new home with brokers who have quality offerings,” Fadhala said.
“We seek to redefine the way people in Qatar search for a new home to rent. hapondo is an online real estate platform focused on residential rental properties and as a Qatari tech start-up we want to connect tenants looking for a new home with brokers who have quality offerings,” he said.
“When we launched the platform in March 2020, we have completed the first phase of development. We are now in the process of collecting feedback from real estate companies and users to improve the platform further. In the coming few months, we will start with the second phase of the development addressing the feedback we have received. We also received some exciting ideas to develop it further,” he said. 
With so much uncertainty around COVID-19, Fadhala said, like any sector in the country the real estate market has also got affected due to the current pandemic. “However, we know that with uncertainty comes opportunity.  The COVID-19 pandemic has made many small business re-evaluate their strategies and try to find new approaches to their daily operations. We hope to use this time to connect with our brokers and users, and to find new and innovative ways to work in the real estate sector during this unprecedented time.”

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