Entrepreneur Ritu Sanghi on building an exclusive portal for corporate employees to find flats on rent!
Tell us about FlatsOnRent
FlatsOnRent is an exclusive community for corporate employees and IT professionals allowing direct exchange of information on residential rental properties. FlatsOnRent seeks to connect employees across organizations both for finding suitable property and for suitable tenant. The aim is to eliminate middlemen (property brokers and consultants) from the transactions and provide easy access to comprehensive, correct and up to date information on rental properties.
What is your market differentiator?
It is a first of its kind community which is dedicated to fulfill the rental property needs of corporate employees and IT professionals. With FlatsOnRent, flat owner can be assured to get a professional tenant for their property and flat seekers can save the painful interactions and commission payments to property brokers as all the flats are directly posted by owners. The data on the portal is validated, correct, up-to-date(with listing being validated every fortnight) and comprehensive. No Middlemen (brokers/commission agents/consultant/real estate agents) have access to the information available on portal. So the interactions are hassle free between the owners and seekers. The browsing experience is very comfortable and user friendly. Our powerful search algorithm ensures that the most relevant properties are displayed to our members. We are a closed community where Prospective Tenants are validated with their company Id and every property posted is validated for authenticity so that no user falls prey to a middlemen. We are focused only on Rental Property information.
How did the idea for your startup come about? How much capital was required to implement the idea?The idea coined after the difficulties me and my spouse faced upon shifting to Chennai. Hailing from Delhi, we simply had no idea about Chennai and had no acquaintances. We searched through the newspapers, available online portals and tried other means but in one way or the other, we finally ended up talking to the property brokers. The local language made it even difficult for us to interact. After the treaded house hunt spree and a payment of 20 grands to the broker as commission, I strongly felt the need of a source that we all can rely on for finding homes for ourselves, at a lower cost. I came up with the idea that if by some means it can be restricted community by which Owners and Tenants can speak with each other directly, it will be of great help. Secondly, the data available shall be accurate and updated because our research on the existing portals showed that we had properties available for even 6 months to 1 year date range which did not make any sense.
Tell us about your background.
Basically from Delhi, I am a Chartered Accountant by profession. Prior to starting this venture, I have worked with companies like HDFC Bank and Ramco Systems Ltd as a Business Analyst.
Let us know about the tie-ups that you have.
The portal has been promoted by various organizations such as Global Logic Inc, TIBCO, ecare and Ramco Systems Ltd. etc. to name a few among their employees as an employee welfare activity. The concept is well accepted and has received tremendous response from our target user community. We have been successful in fulfilling the rental property needs of our members. We have received quite a lot of feedback from our users which have been very encouraging and have helped us to improvise constantly.
Where do you see your start up five years from now?
During the past few years, internet has penetrated very strongly into the Indian market and an ever increasing number of people rely on the web for information. Finding a flat on rent is one of the most basic necessities of one’s existence and looking at the transferable nature of jobs in the IT and other corporate sectors, the need becomes even more essential. FlatsOnRent with its comprehensive and most relevant information provides the most personalized and user friendly experience to its user while they search for their desired information. Five years from now, we see ourselves as being one of the most reliable and sought after source for rental property information across India and in various other parts of the world.
As an entrepreneur, what are your joys? What are the challenges?
Being able to shape and bring to reality your thoughts always gives immense pleasure. The biggest joy comes from each feedback that we receive from our visitors. Being able to develop something that has the potential to help people overcome their most commonly faced hardships has been deeply joyous. Being an entrepreneur has also groomed me personally. Interacting with new people, sharing knowledge and being able to monitor all the aspects of a business has been a great learning. However, focusing on all the spheres of business is one of the biggest challenges.
How big is your team? Tell us a little bit about your team? Are you looking at hiring?
Currently we are a team of 8. The other founders comprises of 2 IIT – Bombay grads. Definitely we are looking to add more talent to our team.
Let us know about your expansion plans.
A lot of developments and enhancement are in the pipeline. At present we are working towards rolling out an entirely new look and feel to our portal to provide our members with an enhanced browsing experience. Next in the pipeline would be add-on services associated with the rental apartment needs. Also currently our services are available across Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune and Kolkata. We plan to extend our presence to Tier2 cities shortly. We shall also be looking at raising funds in near future.