She was a trailing Army spouse who lived all over the country till a nightmarish real estate experience gave her reality bites.
Monica Kanwar along with her husband was trying to sell off their ancestral property in Delhi and needless to say, they were hounded by brokers trying to make a cut. They went from one broker to another, who gave them advice which was not based on first-hand experience. Finally they managed to sell off the property after a lot of hard work. Then it was a nerve-wrenching moment once again when they decided to invest in fresh property in Gurgaon. “The experience was equally bad, if not worse,” says Monica, who found herself at a crossroads with no knowledge of real estate whatsoever.
Finally with some help and verification of details, they were able to make a choice and invest in property in Gurgaon.
To our surprise, though unmanageable quantum of information was available on the net and other sources, there did not exist a single platform (or resource) which could provide some analysis, comparisons or conclusive suggestions. That’s where the idea of ‘Propchill.com’ germinated, the basic idea was to enable buyers make informed choices when investing in property,
says Monica. They started work on a single project in October 2013 and finally opened their office in February 2014.
The challenges of being a real estate woman entrepreneur
It was all the more difficult for Monica as she had no previous experience and starting up at 40 was quite a challenge for her.
“First, women in real estate are not taken seriously enough. I have personally experienced that. Then the usual mind-set is that women are indecisive and definitely do not fit into real estate advisory roles,” says Monica, Director of Propchill.
Then there was the realisation very early that in the IT sector, professionals were not keen to join a startup and preferred big banner companies instead. It only meant that they would have to professionally groom a team from scratch.
It is only with time and very hard work that women are considered good enough to run a venture, especially in the real estate sector. At Propchill, Monica and her husband are engaged in comparing prices of real estate projects and in giving expert advice to those interested in investing in property. The idea is to give a comparison in all respects, be it in terms of built-up area size, price comparison or even location details.
What Propchill.com is all about
Monica spent the initial one year researching various verticals and shortlisting components which were to be utilised towards comparisons and ratings, alongwith development of various algorithms for indexing and ratings. The next one year was spent on developing the platform or portal and Phase I was launched in February 2015, followed by Phase II in July 2015.
The team at Propchill has done such comparisons for Gurgaon, Noida, Bengaluru, Chennai, Bhopal, Indore, Bhiwadi and Neemrana and are looking at many more such cities in the near future.
A teacher turned entrepreneur
A Science graduate, who had done a few computer programming language courses, Monica says she never got the chance to explore a full-fledged career thanks to frequent transfers in the Army. She taught at various Army schools and public schools for 15 years
Through our journey we have realized that entrepreneurship is a state of mind and has nothing to do with age. On the contrary, professional experience, maturity and emotional stability are essential aspects for anybody foraying into a startup and these facets normally come with age and time.
Monica is from Roorkee, Uttarakhand and her family is still based there. Her father had a business in pharmaceuticals and Monica had spent her growing up years watching him conduct his business but not even in her wildest imagination had she thought that she herself would turn an entrepreneur one day.
As part of her Director’s role at Propchill, she along with her husband, travels to select pockets in cities and does a ground check of facts on that site. They usually stay put at the location for a week, in which time they do their ground work. In addition, they do their research and homework before zeroing down on a place. Currently, they do reviews of apartments alone.