Citiplots.com – Real estate in Gujarat and India
Gujarat is a state where the real estate business seems to be heading towards a definite boom time. From big corporate houses to a vast number of business owners and ordinary buyers the market seems primed for a spectacular season. Roshan Shah and Esha Desai are the entrepreneurs behind Citiplots.com who believe that real estate has a great future not just in Gujarat but all of India.
Yourstory learnt more from the duo on real estate in Gujarat and how that ties into their broader entrepreneurial aspirations for all of India.
Tell us more about Citiplots and what it offers in the real estate segment?
Citiplots is a Gujarat based Real Estate web portal, dedicated to help consumers make better decisions pertaining to real estate industry by providing local level information. It is a place where individuals, estate agents, builders and corporates can buy, sell and rent their residential, commercial and land properties very easily, quickly and efficiently in Gujarat, India.
We aim to be a delightfully smart partner when you are looking to buy property. The smart part should help you find your dream property within your budget with the support of detailed information and thereby help you make the biggest financial decision. The delightful part should make you smile and keep you coming back.
What potential does Citiplots have in the Indian real estate market?
The scope of our organization is immense since the real estate industry is quite huge in the state of Gujarat and in the entire country. A number of developmental projects are coming up which would help meet accommodation needs of lakhs of people in the state and crores in the country. Anybody and everybody who is looking to buy/sell or rent property benefits from it.
What is the basic business idea behind your venture?
Basic business idea behind our venture is to provide a connecting link between buyers and sellers of real estate property and meet their respective needs.
What set your business model apart from other real estate companies?
The key differentiator of our business is the perfect combination of our online and offline model. We collect data, review it thoroughly and then post the authentic detailed complete information of the properties on the website. We also review the information posted by our registered members regarding their properties on our portal. Our business model is about generating revenues from advertisements. We also charge a nominal brokerage to the builders registered with our portal for their properties sold by us.
How is your venture run differently from others in the same segment?
We provide the complete authentic information about the properties which include floor plan, photos, videos, legal aspects, payment terms, proximity landmarks, etc in addition to basic information. No other such venture provides extensive information about the property after reviewing it.
Why did you prefer entrepreneurship over being an employee?
I always strive to do things in an unconventional way and breaking the barriers of a typical mindset. Being an entrepreneur gives you the liberty to do things your own way while when you work for a company, you have to play around in a limited space. Moreover, I am someone who loves “change” and a regular 9-to-5 job makes you typecast, which might not be as adventurous and as exciting like entrepreneurship. According to me, an entrepreneur is someone who creates something of value by utilizing available resources, putting extra efforts, understanding the risks associated and enjoying the benefits of being independent & of course the monetary gains.
Why do you think starting a smaller start up is preferred over working at bigger companies?
Small companies innovate more. Big companies suck when it comes to innovation and work in big companies is routine and mundane.
What do you think a first time entrepreneur needs to succeed with a start up?
Go for it. India needs more entrepreneurs today and the environment is ripe and mentorship is available everywhere. If you have a valid/rational idea and you work hard, you will be able to create a market for it.
How did you beat your biggest entrepreneurial challenge?
The biggest challenge so far is getting people to start using the portal. We did a soft launch and had pushed it in social media but did not get traffic as expected. We then hired a full time resource to primarily skim through newspaper ads and then call up the classified advertisers and then manually add them in the portal. The traffic has started picking up since then and we are expecting that in 6 months, we will start generating revenues.
What important lesson have you learnt from all your experiences?
Roshan had significant background in starting and running companies. His other two ventures –
Kosansh.com and Gloscon.com both featured in Yourstory.in are now immensely profitable.
Esha was not keeping focus initially but eventually learned that you have to have laser sharp focus on product, its market visibility, branding as well as cash flow and revenue model.
Roshan has stepped in all the time and helped in keeping the team focused and today we have got interest from many builders, agents to get associated with us as Gujarat's real estate sector is booming.
What do you think holds back an Indian entrepreneur from succeeding?
Corruption, Black Money, Legal System is a big challenge. You just hope government did not exist and had that been so, India would have been much better place and a place where all entrepreneurs will spend energies on building new businesses and not bashing and cursing the corrupt govt. You are almost guaranteed of losing if you get into a legal tangle because the legal process is so time consuming and expensive.
Where did you find the seed capital for your company?
This project has spun off of Railshouse – a division of Gloscon. Railshouse invests significantly in R&D and innovative products. Esha joined Railshouse and took on the earlier work done by
Priyanka Pathak, Nidhi Raval, Preksha Patel and Smit Shah and refined the product roadmap.
Gloscon has funded the initial development and this will be spinned off as a new company.
What direction has your company been heading in goal-wise and achievement-wise?
Our initial goal was to get the product ready. Now we have got the alpha release out and we already have got interest from two local Gujarati dailys to acquire/invest in this venture. We have 5 people in this division including content team.
One thing we are proud of is the interest we have seen from investors. Local print media has tremendous interest as they want to compete with 99acres and magicbricks. We are also working on Gujarati Version of the website.
We shall continue to make the product more advanced, get more traffic, get revenue. If we get funding from the print media with whom we are talking, it would be certainly good as it will give us additional wings and free space in print media to get to wider masses.
Yourstory wishes Citiplots.com great success in the real estate markets of Gujarat and India. We hope that Roshan Shah and Esha Desai fulfill all their entrepreneurial aspirations in the coming future…