• houza aims to double down on solving perennial problems related to fake and duplicate listings as well as launching ‘first-to-market’ properties 
  • The Dubai-based property portal raised a $5.5 million Pre-Series A round of funding from the UAE’s top real estate agencies

Dubai-based property portal, houza, has announced the appointment of Jean-Pierre Mondalek as CEO. Jean-Pierre is a seasoned leader who brings a wealth of global tech investing and operating experience in private equity, online marketplaces, and e-commerce. His understanding of and achievements in UAE’s landscape as a 3rd generation resident include launching Uber’s first Middle East operation out of Dubai, running dubizzle Motors, and most recently, building Amazon’s brand marketing and peak sale event programs across UAE, KSA, and Egypt. Jean-Pierre’s appointment comes on the back of $5.5 million funding from the top real estate agencies in the UAE, as houza seeks to gain market share rapidly with the support of its agency partners.

Co-founded in 2020, by ex-dubizzle and OLX Middle East CEO Barry Judge, houza.com is on a mission to challenge the fundamentals of the UAE real estate industry by driving down listing costs for agencies, and hosting only selective and carefully screened agencies. Under its new leadership, houza is set to double down on solving perennial problems related to fake and duplicate listings as well as partnering with real estate agencies to launch a range of ‘first-to-market’ properties on its website. 

houza’s ‘by the industry, for the industry’ model is backed by some of the largest agencies in the UAE, notably Allsopp & Allsopp, Betterhomes, Driven Properties, D&B Properties, Core Properties, and Espace Real Estate. This fundamental differentiator empowers the web portal’s in-depth understanding of the pain points of real estate transactions. Restoring the ‘real’ in real estate by ranking listings in accordance to performance and value content, houza.com extends its promise of quality to both property seekers and agents. 

The portal boasts a unique monetization model which charges agencies per lead delivered as opposed to the industry standard of ‘cost per listing’. houza’s web platform also features an algorithm which ranks listings based on content quality versus paying your way to the top. This benefits property seekers, giving an honest indication of sought-after properties which are ranked based on quality content, number of incoming leads, agent response time, and more.

CEO Appointment

As a former growth equity investor turned operator (ex CSFB Tech Group, TA Associates, Uber, OLX and Amazon), Jean-Pierre will be responsible for accelerating houza’s expansion in the UAE and facilitating growth opportunities in future geographic expansion. He will spearhead operations, investor relations, and strategy, leveraging his hands-on experience as an operator and startup advisor for go-to-market, fundraising, and scaling.

Under his leadership, the platform is set to strengthen its business offering where customers access only real property listings backed with transparency on pricing trends to make an informed purchase or rental decision, before the listing is available on other platforms. His entry will further houza’s value propositions towards property agencies, advancing higher flexibility to agencies through its ‘pay per lead’ model.

On joining houza.com, CEO Jean-Pierre Mondalek said, “I am very excited to reunite with my former colleagues and build an industry-backed disruptor in the UAE property portal space. Over the past decade, I’ve been building and scaling online marketplaces with a focus on creating trust, transparency, and convenience, which are core pillars of the houza customer proposition. At houza, I will work closely with our seasoned team and agency partners on ensuring we delight property seekers and real estate agents alike by being focused on building high quality and exclusive-to-houza content and driving leads, respectively.”

Pre Series A Funding 

houza saw some of the largest and most well-respected real estate agencies in the UAE participate in its Pre-series A round which was closed at $5.5 million. These included partners like Allsopp & Allsopp, Betterhomes Group, Driven Properties, D&B Properties and Espace Real Estate. houza.com also received strong support from commercial-focused real estate agencies, including CRC and CORE Real Estate.

houza is set to build out its team and continue expanding its presence in the UAE market. Its key points of differentiation and focus for 2022 will be high quality accurate listings and exclusive first-to-market property units unavailable on other portals. 

2020-2022: In Numbers 

Since its inception houza.com has seen exponential growth, establishing its leadership for being the only property portal which has been backed by the industry. Having grown by 1.4 million users over 12 months, the platform has seen a 110% growth in page views since the start of this year alone. It has also witnessed a 120% increase in sales metrics over the past 6 months which catalyzed its second funding round, totalling the pre-series funding to $5.5 million. Supported by leading players of the real estate industry, houza.com now hosts 250+ of the top agencies listing over 60,000 properties for sale and rent.  houza has stringent checks to ensure that only the highest quality agencies come on board. It does so in the efforts to further prevent fake inventory on the platform. Said 250+ agencies have been carefully curated and currently represent upwards of 70% of the entire market.

Co-founder, Barry Judge, stated “houza has made some fantastic progress over the past 18 months and our 2022 fundraise will allow us to really drive home our value propositions around ‘no-fake-listings’ and ‘first-to-market’ properties. Jean-Pierre, with his diverse portfolio and extensive skill-set, is exactly who houza needs in the driving seat for this exciting new phase. His approach to business and leadership mirrors houza’s ethos to challenge the status quo and I cannot wait to watch houza grow from strength to strength as I move to the board. This is just the beginning and I look forward to seeing what Jean-Pierre has in store for houza.”