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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

“Meet Yeab23, who is seeking to rent your spare room or find a new place together to split the rent.” This is one of the advertisements posted on social media by Abro, a new startup aiming at address the housing shortage and the rising cost of living by integrating the concept of shared living spaces and workspaces.

Abro, named after the Amharic word for sharing or togetherness, serves as a platform to help people find roommates and allows homeowners to list their properties. Founded last year by Jerusalem Kinfe and Osman Welela Ahmed, the company leverages their previous experiences in coding, business management, and marketing.

Akofada (DFS Ethiopia)

“People in Addis Ababa are increasingly seeking affordable and convenient housing options. However, many find it challenging and time-consuming to locate suitable rental properties, let alone compatible roommates,” explains Nadia Welela, Director of Communication at Abro.

“The platform functions similar to social media. Users looking for roommates create profiles, upload pictures, and post details of the space they wish to share or rent. Other people who are also looking for roommates can then browse through the platform and request the user who posted the request,” Nadia adds.

The platform, developed over eight months, was initially launched on the Play Store for Android users. However, a few months later, it expanded to include a website.

Abro’s platform includes notification and messaging features to keep users informed about responses to their requests. The specifics of arrangements are negotiated solely by the involved parties, with Abro only serving as the connecting platform.

If parties agree, they can select from the numerous properties listed on the platform or explore other options independently. Nadia notes that over 200 places, including offices and related properties, are currently listed on Abro.

Homeowners also need to undergo verification by uploading a government-issued ID and a selfie, and then post their place for review and release by Abro.

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Daniel, a writer and radio host, has a keen interest in technology. Additionally, he has supported various organizations by enhancing their digital presence in his role as a social media manager.