Launched in July 2013, Grabhouse.com is a community-based online exchange for finding rented accommodation. The company has closed a Series A funding of $2.5 million from Kalaari Capital and Sequoia Capital. Previously, it had raised $500k from India Quotient and others. The new investment will be utilised to develop innovative products and improve the existing technology to enhance the end-user experience and to increase the company’s footprint across major cities in India.
Grabhouse at the moment offers a broker-free and transparent experience to house hunters seeking rented or shared accommodation. The portal uses a proprietary engine to map the needs and preferences of prospective tenants and house owners that go beyond basic parameters such as budget and location to recommend the best matches. Another aspect of Grabhouse is the community-based model to source and verify listing-related information. Commenting on the fund raise, Pankhuri Srivastava, Co-founder, Grabhouse.com said,
We are very excited and enthused by the confidence shown by Kalaari Capital and Sequoia Capital in our venture. Currently, a majority of real-estate deals take place offline but there is a marked shift in this with 30% transactions being enabled through internet-based offerings. With an increasing number of users joining the internet bandwagon, we are certain that this transition will happen at a faster pace which gives this segment an optimistic outlook.
Founded by Pankhuri Shrivastava and Prateek Shukla from Mumbai (now based in Bangalore), the portal currently offers houses in Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad and Bengaluru and attracts traffic of about 1.5 million monthly visitors which is largely driven through referrals and word of mouth. Fulfilment is the key metric for Grabhouse. "We're closing 85-90 deals on a daily basis," says Pankhuri.
Real Estate as a sector has been blazing hot with investors pouring in money. Apart from the likes of 99acres, IndiaProperty and MagicBricks that have been around for a while, CommonFloor and Housing have been the most aggressive players. CommonFloor most recently raised a funding round from Google Capital adding another landmark in its 7 year journey (it also acquired an upcoming real estate portal, Flat.to). On the other hand, Housing was started by youngsters from IIT-Bombay and with support from Nexus, Helion and most recently with $90 million from Softbank. For Grabhouse, the focus is currently on flats and flatmates and the focus is on bringing transparency in real estate transactions. "The gaps in real estate remain even after so many providers because focus on fulfilment is lacking," says Pnkhuri. Going forward, the company might become an interesting proposition for one of the bigger companies in the space.