Exclusive: Housing.com planning to launch new brand to take on online commercial real estate
Rahul Yadav has made sure that Housing.com is constantly in the news. Recently, Housing.com sent an email to all students at IIM- A,B,C, and ISB announcing an event that invites applications for a new brand name that Housing.com is planning to launch. This new brand will be a separate business vertical which will tackle the problem of commercial real estate. A sector away from the media and consumer glare, commercial real estate deals with spaces dedicated to offices, retail and such. Here is the mail that was procured from one of the students:
Housing's going to be back in the news soon. No, not for the reasons you are thinking of.
Now that our brand is a household name in the residential business, be it rent, buy/sell, short stays or PG accommodation, we plan to get into the commercial side of things very soon. Commercial Real Estate (CRE) entails all property that is solely used for business purposes. Examples of CRE include office towers, business/IT parks, malls, restaurants and convenience stores.
As this is a new business division that Housing is going to add to its portfolio, we want a new name. Yes, a BRAND NAME for this new business category / vertical! And, this is where we need your help.
The brand name ought to be simple, yet catchy. Attached is a document that gives a brief overview of the new category, the kind of brand personality we want to build and the kind of brand names we certainly want to avoid (as you may already know, we are not the one for cliches )
We need you to rack your brains in exchange for the following:
First Prize: MacBook
Second Prize: iPhone
Third Prize: iPad
This is an interesting move and in the document sent to all the students there is one clause which is rather intriguing:
Themes / Ideas / Creative Directions TO AVOID
We don’t know what we want, but we sure do know what we don’t want!
● Workspace (boring!)
● Offices (restrictive + boring)
● Business, Commercial (Duhh..)
The goal of the entire exercise is to develop a brand name for a new Commercial Real Estate (CRE) portal that will list all CRE properties (including office spaces, retail spaces, industrial spaces and commercial venues) and also run and maintain a fleet of branded office spaces across all top tier metros.
Rahul Yadav confirms the development but does not reveal any details. "We're not happy at all with the conventional CRE models. Team is working on it is trying hard to come up with truly innovative and disruptive models. Let them do their work. Do not disturb," says Rahul and ends the email with a smiley.
The commercial real estate space has hardly been talked about. Early 2014 interviews with experts in the space suggest that it was a great time to invest in commercial real estate. According to Ramesh Nair, CEO – India Biz, JLL, some of the key points to look at while investing in commercial spaces are:
- Capability of the developer,
- Not to have a herd mentality and look at current vacancy rates and;
- Look at property tax in the region.
The online commercial real estate space doesn't have many players. 99Acres has a commercial offering and very recently, Propstac, a Mumbai-based startup which manages data around commercial real estate raised $3 million in a funding round led by DMGI (investment group run by 'Daily Mail') with participation from Real Capital Analytics. Hyderabad-based OfficeAdvisor launched its website last year and is now operating in Chennai and Hyderabad.
Globally, RealtyMogul is a giant online marketplace for real estate investing. It recently announced that it received $250 million in direct commitments from large institutional investors, who have sizable balance sheets and want to work with a leader in the online capital markets space. For Housing.com, the push has been to be a global company. And for CRE, the mail mentions,
Our vision is to evolve the way people ‘Search & Acquire’ commercial spaces that takes months and years today, and enable all CRE seekers in making leasing & buying decisions through a single platform we want to revolutionise this industry!