Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Housing.com -- Virtual House hunt [Business Model] Part I

Most of us, who bought house, would have experienced going to different places to check out flat & building premises. At times, the search takes months to identify the property that suits our needs. In some cases, even after selecting the property, we are not sure whether the property has clear title and price the seller is asking for is correct price. Advitiya Sharma, Rahul Yadav and their 10 other friends also faced similar issue while looking for rental accommodation after passing from IIT Bombay. To put an end to such hassle and provide better tool to make decision Advitiya Sharma and his friends embarked on journey to setup housing database using 3D map – Housing.com.

Housing.com is a real estate classified portal that assists home seeker to search apartments for rent / sale and landlord to offer their property. All listed property (flats / plot / land) are mapped on Google Maps with geocodes. User can view property, its neighbourhood area on map along with aerial view of property.  It also enables user to take virtual tour of each room of flats listed. Further, to ensure that all data listed on portal are authenticate – the data is verified by in-house data collection team. Allied factors that impacts individual decision are captured using data analytics tools and then presented to site visitors in from of ratings and index.

The venture has over 2.5 lakhs verified listing across 12 cities, with around 6.5 lakhs happy home seekers as of end of Aug 2014. Housing.com is owned and operated by Mumbai-based Locon Solutions Pvt Ltd

The venture was started by 12 IITB friends in 2012, three of them quit the venture over past 2 years. Now, housing.com operations are carried out by its 9 co-founders (Advitiya Sharma, Rahul Yadav, Abhishek Anand, Snehil Bury, Sanat Ghosh, Neeraj Bhunwal, Amrit Raj, Ravish Naresh and Jaspreet Saluja) working actively to take it to new heights.

To start with business operations, the venture raised angel round of funding from Haresh Chawla (former Network18 CEO) & Zishaan Hayath (co-founder of the phone commerce company Chaupaati Bazaar (acquired by Future Group).

Year
Venture Capitalist
Investment ($ millions)
Jun 2013
Nexus Partners
$2.5 million
Jun 2014
Helion Venture Partners,  Qualcomm Ventures  & Nexus Partners
$18.0 million (Equivalent Rs. 115 Crores)
Sep 2014
Nexus Partners , Helion Venture Partner, Tybourne Capital & Russian Capitalist – Yuri Miler (in discussion)
$30 million (Equivalent Rs. 180 crores)

Funds raised are utilised to
  • hire best talent in industry
  • develop algorithm for rating and index
  • expand operations to other cities of India 
Housing.com USP
  • All listed flats are mapped on Google maps with geocodes. It provides location search facility at locality, sub –locality, building & landmark level
  • Founders identified that lack of authentic data makes it difficult for individual to make quick decision in buying and selling flats. So, they decided that all house listed and related property papers be verified by in-house data collection team, thereby ensures that property has clear title before listing on its website.
  • Founders identified set of criteria that people normally look for while buying property, namely proximity of school, hospital, ease of commuting. So to facilitate ease in analysing all these factors, they designed ratings and index.
  • Home loans function enables to check eligibility for loan, provide guidance & enable to track home loan application.