Housing.com is eyeing for No.1 Spot in Indian online real estate portal segment. The real estate portal has some direct competition from biggies and old timers like Commonfloor.com, 99acres.com, Magicbricks.com and few others. Each portal has their own unique selling proposition to attract customers.
Housing.com was founded on June 7, 2012 by a group of 12 ex-IITians Mumbai. The company has developed next generation house hunting platform, a map based interface gives information to the customers.
Housing.com has in house data collection team that goes to every single property, takes high quality pictures of the property. The team collects various data inputs on various parameters like proximity of ATM’s, Banks, Hospitals, Schools and Nightlife to name few. Wide usage algorithms like lifestyle ratings, child friendliness index, and area based pricing models, price analytics for new projects and few other inputs differentiate Housing.com from others.
Housing.com assists various categories of customers apart from house seekers like students, bachelors to find paying guest accommodations, assisting in land or plot purchasing deals. The portal lists various categories of houses ranging from flats, independent houses, villas, community living etc. The company works on subscription based revenue model having wide range of packages for a customer to choose with.
Housing.com allows the owners to list or delist their properties by simple click of ON or OFF button in the portal. If the property is sold then the advertiser or owner can switch off the advertisement and if the property is for resale at later stage, by simple click on ON button will list back the property in the website. There will be no data redundancy from the owner as well Housing.com.
Housing.com has developed an app in Google Playstore as well as iOS environment to cater customers on smartphones too. Presently the company caters to the customers in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, NCR and Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune. Housing.com had tied up with Tata Value Homes Ltd, a subsidiary of Tata Housing Development Co Ltd., to market their 150 houses in 3 locations, exclusively on its website. Housing.com received requests on tie up from several real estate developers and builders after successful venture with Tata Value Homes Ltd.
Housing.com received many rounds of funding through venture capitalists since the start of the company. They received their seed funding for $2.5 million in June 2013. Helion Venture Partners invested $18 million as venture capital in Housing.com in April 2014. Helion Venture Partners along with Nexus Venture Partners and Qualcomm Ventures invested $19 million in the company.
Softbank Internet and Media Inc (Softbank Capital) invested a huge sum of $100 million in November 2014. Mumbai based Housing.com has raised a total of $139.5 million of capital till now.
The Softbank Group said “Housing.com plans to use the funds to map over 40 million houses across 300 cities in India in the coming years. The company provides currently provides search in 45 cities with strong presence in Western and Southern India”.
Housing.com is valued at more than $250 million; the funds are going to be deployed to grow the business. Expand presence, hire talent; build new technology and increasing marketing spend.
The company has received several technology tie-up requests from companies in Mid East and South East Asia, which is under consideration. Housing.com additionally offering services like rental agreement documentation, Housing Loan Assistance. Further they are planning to add few more services like Packers and Movers and Interior Decoration.
Experts say that real estate industry presents different challenges comparatively to online retail. It needs to be seen how online real estate retail will stand up for this challenges. Real estate business is trust driven business, will pose a challenge for companies like 99acres.com, Housing.com or Commonfloor.com. With venture capitalist funding most online real estate portals it would be interesting to see, how these companies will get confidence of customers, to maintain it will be mammoth task.