How RealtyCompass is trying to get a bigger slice of the real estate pie

Last year, Sankara and Nimesh were searching for a house and found it time consuming and ineffective to go through multiple portals, all having insufficient and inaccurate information.

“Being entrepreneurial in nature, we started discussing technology driven solution which can simplify the home search experience of the end consumer,” says Nimesh.

 At the same time, Sankara was consulting at Casagrande, one of the largest developers in Chennai. “Arun (MD-Casagrande) was personally working on a similar idea and asked us to join him. We did an in-depth research about customer behaviour and analyzed requirements for all the customers of Casagrande. Based on the insights, we started working on our product offering and RealtyCompass came into existence,” says Sankara.

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RealtyCompass is India’s first project search engine which helps users search and compare all the new projects in the city. Today, they have multiple times more projects than the nearest competitor with listings in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad & Coimbatore. They will be expanding to Ahmedabad, Mumbai & Pune in the next few months.

Key differentiators

  1.  The listings are transparent and unbiased as all the hidden inventory (projects which have few units to sell) is also listed, thus helping home buyers to do an exhaustive search and figure a right home.
  2.  RealtyCompass helps home buyers do a detailed comparison of all projects. If the home buyer has liked a particular project, he can instantly compare other projects which RealtyCompass’s search engine suggests based on the profile of the current project. The engine uses a multi-variate algorithm taking into consideration the budget, location, builder category of the current & past viewed projects.
  3. RealtyCompass is a broker-free platform and lets consumers directly talk to builders. The trusted environment ensures that consumers do not get bombarded by unwanted calls and builders also get high quality relevant leads.
  4. RealtyCompass hand-holds consumers by giving them Research’ tools to know more about the project, locality or any other queries which he has.

Research tools

 1.  Home Value Calculator: It simplifies the complicated computations with few inputs and presents it in a lucid and interactive interface. It calculates and gives results as below:

  • Value of home you can afford based on your salary and down payment capacity.
  • Automatic calculation of loan potential and EMI.
  • Projecting rental saving / rental income over a period of 20 years.
  • Income tax benefits of buying a house from payment of interest, payment of principal and being a new home buyer.
  • Net worth of home in Present terms based on moderate appreciation on home value; and Return on Investment (ROI) on money invested and benefits arising out of it.

 

2.  Columbuzz: Most consumers have umpteen questions and look forward to suggestions from friends & relatives before making this crucial decision of life.  Majority of the people postpone the decision to buy a home because of fears of ending up with a wrong house. Columbuzz presents a very refreshing approach to REAL ESTATE FORUMS with its simple and intuitive user interface, social voting and addressing users’ questions by experts.

 

Market and customers

The total marketing spent by builders & property consultants in media today stands at 0.8 -1 billion USD.  Builders today are one of the largest spenders on Print & OOH medium.  Nearly two million people every year search for homes and 0.5 million new homes are sold every year.

“At RealtyCompass we are leveraging social media for acquiring customers.  We recently did a campaign asking consumers to share their anger against builders who have not kept promises. Similarly, we launched a campaign highlighting our clutter free portal.”

Funding and burn rate

RealtyCompass received seed funding 11 months back from Propel Holdings LLP which has Limited Partners from India and abroad. They have an expertise in technology, pharmacy and real estate.

Sankara said, “Our current burn rate is 12L per month and we are looking to raise 1 million USD. The funds would be utilized primarily in product development, brand building & geographical expansion.”

Founding team

The three co-founders at RealtyCompass have been in key leadership roles at startups.

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Nimesh Bhandari (CEO) is an IIT-IIM alumnus who was heading bus tickets vertical at Paytm.com. He has 10+ years of experience in mobile & internet and worked in Ibibo, Reliance ADAG and TomTom. Nimesh takes care of Sales & Marketing functions at RealtyCompass.

Sankara Srinivasan (COO) has founded Virtual CFO and Rupeerail.com in the past. He has worked in Infosys and RR Donnelly as Chartered Accountant and also helped startups in fundraising. Sankara is responsible for Research & Operations at RealtyCompass.

Alok Mishra (CTO) co-founded Games RnD, a social gaming company based in Bangalore. He has over six years of experience in enterprise applications.  Alok is a graduate from MIT (Manipal Institute) and takes care of product & technology at RealtyCompass.

Co-founder dynamics

Sankara and Nimesh know each other since 2009. Nimesh has been in touch with Alok since 2011 while he was working in Ibibo. Nimesh mentions,

“All three of us have complementary skills. Nimesh is passionate about marketing, Sankara about Analytics and Alok is a technology nerd.  We belong to different regions (Alok  from Orissa, Nimesh from Jodhpur, Sankara from Tamil Nadu) and enjoy trying out different cuisines, only vegetarian though,”

What’s next? 

According to Nimesh, “We would be launching a refreshing way to do a quick search across a maze of projects in a city or locality which will enable user to do a fuzzy search. This is crucial as user requirement typically is very hazy and he likes to do an exploratory search. We are also working on Mobile App with Native features; Natural language search capability and Data Analytics.”

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Alok Soni

Alok Soni

Alok Soni prefers to keep his bio short owing to a dearth of creativity. Feel free to reach out to him at alok[at]yourstory[dot]com