Square Yards Consulting Pvt. Ltd., a real estate advisory firm in India, has raised an amount of USD 6 million in pre Series A funding. Spread over the last few months, the funds have come from a clutch of investors in Singapore and Hong Kong, who hold senior level positions with leading asset management and private equity houses. Sources in the know of the deal say that the startup has been valued at USD 40-50 million.
Square Yards was established with an aim to advise NRIs across the globe about investing in the domestic real estate market. Tanuj Shori, an NRI who was also the Executive Director at global investment bank, Nomura International, and his wife Kanika Gupta, conceptualized the company to establish right channels for investment in India’s real estate, after they themselves faced multiple problems when buying property in India.
The founders found that the Indian market was unstructured and fragmented, the spirit of service was missing and information was opaque thus making property buying in India a multi-faceted challenge for an NRI sitting miles away. Tanuj added that their biggest challenges with Square Yards initially were getting human capital and gathering the necessary data points.
Square Yards claims to be one of the largest organized real estate advisory firms in the country having facilitated real estate transactions to the tune of USD 250 million Gross Market Value (GMV) for India, and USD 50 million GMV for global real estate in the first year of its operations. Within six months of its inception, it had bagged the prestigious ‘Real- Estate Marketing Company’ of the year by 'Accommodation Times' and ‘Startup of the Year’ by Silicon India.
Services they offer
The startup led by a nine member management team, has an employee base of about 500 across five countries and is active in 14 cities in India. It mainly caters to Indian investors both foreign and domestic. Square Yards has good working relationships with more than 500 A-grade developers who offer blue chip projects globally. They aim to help their customers through the entire lifecycle of property buying.
Their services include property identification, transactional support with site visits, inventory negotiations and distress sales support. They also provide financial support, portfolio structuring & management and service for life through a dedicated relationship manager.
The startup feels that the biggest value addition they bring after transaction when each client is assigned a unique relationship manager (similar to private banking model) who handholds the clients throughout the asset ownership. The company aims at a client-focused investment approach towards real estate, considering factors like risk appetite, liquidity profile, time horizon and price-competitiveness into account.
The founders of the 17-month-old startup, who are former bankers with significant investment experience, decided to bootstrap majority of capital requirements for the first year of its operations. The company then raised a significant amount in its first investment round and a majority control of the business still remains in the hands of the co-founders.
Speaking about the funding, Tanuj Shori, CEO and Co-founder of Square Yards, said,
With the funding amount, we are aiming at a share of 15% of India’s primary residential real estate market by the end of 2017. Also, we plan to scale-up our operations across multiple distribution platforms, including e-commerce.
Tanuj mentioned that the startup is in the process of creating its own e-commerce portal to assist the intelligent Indian investor, both foreign and domestic, about real estate in considerably less time. The funds will be used to expand the business further in terms of presence in newer geographies.
With revenues of INR 38 crore in its first year of operations, Square Yards had been approached by multiple financial and e-commerce businesses to partner with them. With its presence in key NRI markets, including UAE, Singapore, UK, Hong Kong and USA, the company is confident that it will be able to capture a significant monetization pie of Indian primary real estate market in the near future and are aiming at a share of 15% of India’s primary residential real estate market by the end of 2017.
Website: Square Yards