Info-tech

Mission: listing every home on sale, rent

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on December 16, 2014 Published on December 16, 2014

Advitiya Sharma

We survived on vada pavs for months, says Housing.com’s Advitiya Sharma





For many in the real estate and e-commerce world, this would be a far-fetched dream. Not for Advitiya Sharma who is on a mission to list every single house that comes up for sale or rent on the real estate portal Housing.com in the next two years. That’s about 40 million houses across 300 cities.

“This is a big challenge. But with the math that we have arrived at and with strategies and technologies in place, it isn’t impossible….,” 24-year-old Sharma, who co-founded Housing.com with 11 others two years ago, told BusinessLine.

Housing.com, which has been on expansion spree, has increased its presence to 45 cities during the last three months from 10. The map-based home search portal has raised a total of $121 million in the last two years.

On Tuesday, it raised its fifth round of funding of about $90 million (₹567 crore) led by Japanese telecommunications and Internet company SoftBank Corp. The funding, according to industry sources, values the company a little under ₹1,000 crore. Sharma declined to comment.

The company’s recently launched interactive home booking platform – Slice View – which generated more than ₹50 crore of Gross Merchandise Value. “This is unprecedented,” he added. Housing.com is also getting a “lot of enquiries” from builders to sell their homes “exclusively” on the portal. In November, Tata Value Homes, a subsidiary of Tata Housing Development Co, entered into an agreement with Housing.com to sell its homes through the portal.

“This was a success,” Sharma said talking about the Tata Value Homes tie-up, adding the initiative helped in selling more than half of the inventory from four projects across three cities.

Initial struggles

Much like other start-ups, the company’s initial days did not start with a bang.

“We survived on vada pavs for many months…. I doubled up as the in-house data collector and went around clicking pictures of houses on a digital SLR camera,” Sharma said.

He reminiscences about an incident, when a Bandra landlord banged the door on his face when he asked to click pictures of the house. “I knocked again; he opened the door and banged it again on my face with a second thought,” he added.

Housing.com was started by a group of 12 students from IIT-Bombay in June 2012, coding on their own laptops. Now, the company has about 1,500 employees, and 4,000 homes being uploaded every day.

The team plays soccer every weekend. And like in football, the only aim is to score a goal (read: grow the company), even after being felled by the defender, Sharma concludes.

Published on December 16, 2014
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