UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | During the pandemic and turmoil on the streets of Kampala, businesses were laying off staff, and everyone was scared. The scarcest commodity among Ugandans was hope.
Livingstone Mukasa, Chief Development Officer, Bitbricks Limited, shares his experience and success story with Real Muloodi News, which hopefully can be a ray of hope to many business people who have been hit hard by the pandemic and uncertainties of life.
Livingstone figured that his job was to encourage others to do better. As a beacon of hope, he wondered how he could inspire others when he had just got a big direct hit at his finances too? He decided to do the only thing he knew how: to dream.
Now his dream has given thousands hope that it’s not all lost. As the economy opened, his dream offered people hope to solve complex challenges like the housing crisis. He started building and delivering solutions for affordable housing.
Bitbricks was built as a private company that can accommodate up to 100 shareholders, which currently has 70 shareholders. It’s a project funded mainly by Ugandans but also attracting international investors.
“I know Ugandans love real estate, and, given a chance, 70% of the time, we put our money in brick and mortar. I also know that it’s a typical rallying call, especially when building places of worship,” says Livingstone Mukasa.
Bitbricks have constructed a few cathedrals worth billions that Ugandans have contributed to through intense fundraising.
According to Livingstone, “I also know that we have a dire scarcity of affordable and decent homes in this market, and the few units being put on the market for sale are primarily funded by foreign capital and bank finance.”
In his experience, while building, he got to find out about the Mazima Retirement Plan. This plan is about collecting funds, more like building a corpus. A corpus is an aggregated fund over a period.
Livingstone says he figured that if they were able to aggregate capital from different players over a while into a reasonably large building project, not only would it make money but would also encourage people to rebuild their lives after the interruptions caused by COVID-19.
Therefore, at the beginning of January 2021, they started inviting investors to invest in a 24-housing complex in Seguku-Katale that would build condominium homes of 12 two bedrooms and 12 three bedrooms homes at the cost of USh3 billion.
“I know that my experience and reputation in the market are solid, which would attract some investors, but I could not tell how much it would be,” says Livingstone.
He further added that by the end of January 2021, they had raised USh100 million.
“We used these funds to tie down the Land (we did not purchase but offered the Landlord shares in the company we created). We started a company called Bitbricks Limited. Bitbricks means Bricks bit-by-bit,” Livingstone says.
He adds: “We raised a valuation of USh3 billion because that is the money we needed. The company is currently valued at USh5 billion due to the execution and potential we have created and what we see ahead.”
Selling Homes Off-plan
The Bitbricks company began selling their homes off-plan. It became apparent that the most selling units were two bedrooms which they offered starting with a competitive price of USh130 million, but now the same homes go for USh150 million. Three bedrooms now go for USh250 million.
Livingstone says, “We promised our shareholders 20% on their money every year for two years, and we are confident we will deliver these. We still welcome investors that can invest at least USh5 million. Investment Clubs and Saccos are particularly welcome. Our homes have a delivery date of December 2022.”
The company’s shareholders and home buyers continue to fund the dream with whatever amount they have to buy Bitbricks. A Bitbrick is the unit of measure, which you could also call a share. Right now, each Bitbrick costs USh5,000, and you can register to buy Bitbricks at USh100,000. Using the company’s innovative platform called Mayicard on *217*120#, you can invest with your phone using any Ugandan Mobile Money Network.
Livingstone says, “We started with a dream, and every day it becomes a reality.”
They have invested nearly USh1 billion in one year and have 12 Shell homes in the finishing phase. These homes are located in Seguku Katale as Seguku Hill apartments with a beautiful view of Bunamwaya hill next to the African Prayer Mountain.
They still have 10 homes available for purchase out of the 24 that are planned, so visit the site for more information.
Because they built an in-house construction service arm to manage their costs better, they have now an excellent team of construction professionals and suppliers.
“After seeing our exceptional work, some people have trusted us with their construction projects to design and build homes for commercial and residential use. You can work with us to enjoy the services we offer,” says Livingstone.
Livingstone says: “We have learned that when Ugandans come together, they accomplish big projects. I don’t know any group or investment club that has put together an investment of USh1 billion in one year, but Bitbricks did. We are happy to advise if you consider a similar project or investment. Our offices are in Nakulabye bear Kadic Clinic, and you can reach us by email: [email protected] or call +256 (0)772 459 167.”
If you found this story valuable and exciting, be encouraged to begin your rebuilding story. With a reputation of honesty, let the Bitbricks story show you that you can undertake big projects, and you may find it much easier to raise capital.
Livingstone Mukasa is also a CEO/Co-Founder for Four One Financial Services Limited, Lead Business Trainer, Living Business Education, MD Clean Consult Limited and is an author of two books: The Great Financial Rebuild and Investing for the Future.
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