I am sure we all have been through the pain of searching for properties. The biggest hassle is to deal with these real estate agents and many-a-times you are left stranded with just empty hands and no roof. This was one of the major issues that migrants faced, who travelled to different states for education, jobs, etc. Now the biggest issue out here was the lack of connectivity, options or in other words, the whole process was un-organized. Similar were the issues faced by IIT-B students too and then an idea struck them which changed their whole world – and housing.com happened!
How did the IDEA of housing.com occur?
A group of boys including Rahul Yadav, CEO, Housing.com & Advitiya Sharma, Co-Founder of Housing.com came down to Mumbai for further studies in IIT-B but found it literally impossible to find their accommodation after passing out.
- They spent a month on the roads of Mumbai searching for a decent accommodation but failed!
- After a long and tiring search they found a house near the IIT-B campus, Powai.
- Since they had a good network of potential clients among their IIT friends and batch mates, they become brokers and made INR 1-2 lakhs a month within a short period of time.
- It was now time for national expansion. But they lacked extensive local knowledge of different cities and states. So a well-planned map-based portal, “housing.co.in” was made open for public in June 2012. “If something doesn’t exist, build it yourself, and if it doesn’t work, move on” – Rahul Yadav, CEO, housing.com to forbesindia.com.
How did the EXPANSION & INVESTMENT take place?
After its birth, all other founders left their consulting and software jobs and joined in full time.
- Housing.co.in managed to encash two rounds of funding, out of which one was worth INR 1.5 crores from Haresh Chawla, the former CEO, Network18 in February and the other one was worth INR 50 Lakhs from Zishaan Hayath, the co-founder of Chaupaati Bazaar in March 2013. (Quoted by Advitiya Sharma, Co-Founder and CMO, Housing.com on livemint.com)
- In May 2013, they managed to surpass Makaan.com and Indiaproperty.com in terms of reach percentage.
- In June 2013, they raised another USD $2.5 million followed by an unannounced raise of funds valued USD $3 million from Nexus Venture Partners (reported by nextbigwhat.com)
- The company used the funds to create its Data Science Lab and to expand to cities like Chennai, Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad, Hyderabad and Faridabad with a strong staffing of 700 employees and a 1-lakh per day unique user base.
- In September 2013, “Housing.co.in” bought the domain name “Housing.com” and a national number, 03-333-333-333, for USD $1 million with intentions to target international users in the near future.
- In November 2013, housing.com added child friendliness index (CFI) to its platform measuring neighborhoods in three different criteria’s:
- Number of schools in an area
- Number of hospitals and parks in an area, and
- Proximity of these facilities to the area.
- In December 2013, a new option was launched for users to search for paying guest rentals in cities which was advised by their Data Science Lab (DSL).
- In January 2014, they launched their first ever new iPad app
- In April 2014, housing.com launched Demand-Supply Monitoring Tool!
- In June 2014, housing.com raised USD $19 million collectively. In the current round, Helion had pumped in USD $8 million, Nexus invested USD $7 million, and Qualcomm put in USD $4 million (reported by techinasia.com).
What is the current REVENUE & REVENUE MODEL of housing.com?
- Due to investor confidentiality clauses the company’s revenue details cannot be revealed but it was reported that the portal broke-even their operational cost in the Mumbai market in nine months.
- Currently, housing.com follows a very simple revenue model wherein they charge a 6-monthly subscription fee of INR 5,000 or INR 8,000 for an annual subscription from the brokers and agents for premium services, after which, they can upload as many listings and inventories as possible with a condition that their in-house team will go ahead and collect the data – confirmed by Advitiya Sharma on livemint.com.
A few monetization options that have been suggested which might also be opted in the near future are:
- Packages to be provided along with listings to resorts, etc
- A subscriber model wherein; users pay a small fee to get rid of ads
- Act as a broker for freehold properties and charge a small brokerage
- Tie up with furnishing studios, furniture retailers, interior designers, etc. and get them to offer the buyer a discount if their services are purchased through your website and charge them a fee.
What are the BUSINESS STRATEGIES opted by housing.com?
- In the first 9 months, the firm had a clear agenda where the primary focus was mapping the markets of Mumbai, navigation features and the location-based approach and fixing the search features.
- In the first few weeks after the launch of the site the brokerage-based model was dropped and as the listing-based model was selected, as it was more reliable
- Till date, every Co-Founder is designated a task or a particular role to take care of, so that targets are achieved smoothly.
- Unlike other competitors, their in-house data collection team visits each property site uploaded on the portal, photographs the interior and exterior of the house. They collect data points on the amenities, connectivity, neighbourhood and the location, including distances from the nearest bus stop, airport, schools, and hospital. This process is followed in the case of each listing by a broker or a landlord as well. A price-heat map shows how property rates have moved in the particular locality through the years.
- In the next 2-years, they plan to expand overseas in markets such as South Africa, Dubai and the Philippines.
“Data and design are our foundation pillars” – quoted by Advitiya Sharma on business-standard.com INSIDE HOUSING.com!
A company with a dozen Co-Founders, with all the men having a crucial task to perform, has managed to bring about a lot of change in the property bazaar! These are ordinary men with extra-ordinary talents. The CEO of housing.com, Rahul Yadav – 24-year-old from Alwar, Rajasthan, topper in Rajasthan in physics-chemistry-math’s, creator of popular Exambaba.com but surprisingly a IIT dropout’; ‘Advitiya Sharma, 24, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer, another self-made small-town boy from Jammu, a state-level football player followed by the rest of the group are now giving direct competition to the biggies of the industry such as; 99acres.com, IndianProperty.com, Makaan.com, Magicbricks.com, Housing.com, CommonFloor.com and Proptiger.com.
Currently, the portal has 109,035 verified properties listings across 23 Indian cities and is managed, updated, verified and filtered by a solid staffing of 800+ employees of whom 70 members are staffed in Mumbai HQ. At present they list over 2,000 houses a day which will soon going to increase to 10k-12K houses every day.
The less-than-two-year-old company was the biggest recruiter among start-ups, snapping up 45 students from IIT campuses this placement season. The package it offers is nothing to write home about —Rs 13-18 lakh a year, depending on job profiles. – quoted on business-standard.com.