India: Housing.com returns to rentals business

Visual from the company's social media page

Online real estate portal, Housing.com is relaunching its home rentals business after shutting it down last year, Locon Solutions Pvt. Ltd., which runs the portal, said in a statement on Tuesday,

“Last year, Housing.com had taken a strategic decision to close rentals in order to focus the company on the home buying and selling segment… Housing.com has now started preparing for the re-entry and plans to launch home rentals early next year,” the statement said.

In January , Housing.com moved to a new model—earning advertising revenue from property listers that pay for greater visibility of their properties.

The Mumbai-based company that was founded by 12 students of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 2012, has undergone changes in terms of both its business model as well its top-level management in the past year. The company moved away from being a property listing portal to a property buying and selling portal in November 2015.

In this period, Jason Kothari was appointed as the chief executive officer and new faces joined as CXOs, while nine founders have exited Housing.com.

“At that time, one year ago, we had limited resources and it made sense to focus on the largest and the most lucrative segment of real estate, which is buying and selling of homes. And that focus in terms of our capital and human resources had yielded exceptional results,” Kothari said in a telephonic interview.

“We have gone from 1.3 million visits to 4.1 million visits per month (since last year), making us the most popular platform in the country from a consumer standpoint point. Our listings have gone from 110,000 to over 600,000, making us the largest platform from a seller or supply stand point in the country as well; revenue has gone up by 400%, so that focus has yielded exceptional returns and now it is time to use that strong foundation to expand.” explained Kothari.

Kothari said Housing.com is relaunching rentals now because of demonetisation which has hit real estate transactions. And the move, which involved the scrapping of all old Rs1,000 and Rs500 currency notes could spur growth in the home rentals space.

Backed by investors including Softbank Group, Nexus Ventures, and Falcon Edge, Housing.com has raised over $100 million in funding.

In May, Mint reported that Housing.com is looking to touch $10 million in revenue in the current financial year. “We have a few keys months left (to March 2017) so can’t say we’ll actually hit our initial ambitious revenue projection, but either way we are going to grow tremendously; our growth will be at least 300-400% in revenue year-on-year, which is large by any standard, ” Kothari said.

Next year, the company plans to deploy agents who will assist users complete transactions

Also Read:

India: Housing.com appoints Vivek Jain as chief product and technology officer

India: Nikesh Arora, Sanjeev Mohanty, Punit Soni among top-deck exits in 2016

India: Three more Housing.com co-founders decide to quit

This article was first published on Livemint.com

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.