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Mergers and Acquisitions

‘We are looking at inorganic growth across verticals,’ says Manish Sinha, Head of QuikrHomes

Tarush Bhalla
7th Dec 2015
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Quikr’s recent acquisition of RealtyCompass, a real estate analytics platform, is yet another indication of the growing importance the online classifieds portal is placing on a handful of key verticals like realestate and cars.

Quikrites-at-the-Inaguratio
Quikr recently shifted to their swanky new office in Bengaluru.

On Thursday, QuikrHomes, the real estate wing of Quikr, announced the acquisition of RealtyCompass for an undisclosed amount. The buyout is aimed at expanding the technology capabilities for the classified behemoth while introducing better decision making tools for customers.

This is Quikr’s second realestate focused acquisition announcement in a month. In November, Quikr, which entered the ‘Unicorn’ club earlier this year when it raised $150 million in funding, had acquired mobile-first realestate agents’ aggregator Indian Realty Exchange. It is common knowledge that Quikr has completed the acquisition of online realestate classifieds site CommonFloor. However, both firms have not confirmed the development yet. In October, Quikr had made an investment in A N Virtual World Tech, which runs hyper-local search engine WoNoBo that provides 360-degree street views. A N Virtual World Tech is part-owned by Indian geo-spatial technology company Genesys International Corp.

In an interaction with YourStory after the RealtyCompass acquisition, Manish Sinha, Head of QuikrHomes, said inorganic growth is part of the company strategy across all categories.

“We are looking at inorganic growth across all our verticals. It is not reactive, rather it is quite specific. We have a choice to build to our vision and we might acquire if we are lucky to find organisations that match or are very close to our vision. So there is a possibility of this across the spectrum for all verticals,” said Manish.

Quikr has begun focusing on a few verticals this year, especially after its $150 million fund raise in April. QuikrHomes was launched in September, while QuikrCars was launched in August. The top five verticals for Quikr are cars, realestate, services, jobs and electronic goods and contribute to about 80 to 90 per cent of Quikr’s revenue at the moment, said Manish. He, however, declined to provide details of the company’s current or target revenue.

“For us, real estate is a very significant part of our traffic and a significant part of our engagement. QuikrHomes is certainly amongst the top two (verticals), considering dimensions of revenue, traffic, strategy as well as mind space,” Manish said.

QuikrHomes has a reach across over 1,000 cities and towns in the country and, the company said, it helps conclude over two lakh sale and rental transactions each month.

Speaking specifically on the RealtyCompass acquisition, Manish said it was the company’s technology that made it a good buy. RealtyCompass’ data capture and analytics helps in understanding which product listing is good and for what reason and its algorithms help provide customers tailored solutions depending on their needs. “We are basically helping customers make smart decisions so that they don’t just get a list of homes but rather are actually able to make a decision while closing the transaction with the right party. From a consumer perspective the acquisition is to help in a decision support,” explained Manish.

The ratings and user recommendations provided by RealtyCompass’s platform are derived from over 100 data points about the projects and builders, the company claims.

Sankara Srinivasan, Co-founder of RealtyCompass, said the acqusition gives them a wider reach. “As entrepreneurs, we wanted to take the product to the next level. Because of lack of budget, we thought our product is not reaching millions of individuals. Quikr has the brand, the traffic and audience needed by us to explore our capabilities,” said Sankara, who co-founded the company in 2013 with Nimesh Bhandari and Alok Mishra.

“We also wanted to enter the rental and secondary accommodation market which Quikr has already introduced, allowing us to save ourselves from duplication of efforts,” he added.

The 50-member team of RealtyCompass will be completely absorbed by Quikr. While Nimesh, who was CEO at RealtyCompass, has moved to a sales and marketing role, Sankara will undertake the role of Director of Finance and will overlook strategy planning for QuikrHomes. Alok will handle the integration of technology for both the firms. However, Sankara said that RealtyCompass.com will still be functional and work as an independent site offering insights on a premium paid model, but the data collection for both websites will be centralised.

YourStory take

So, how does this vertical focus help Quikr, which had so far focused on being a horizontal classifieds platform?

A look at Craigslist, which is the template that most classifieds sites, including Quikr and competitor Olx have used, could give some clue. The graphic on the unbundling of Craigslist by Andrew Parker and David Haber is a well-known post. (Below).

craigslistcover
The graphic on the unbundling of Craigslist

According to classified advertising consultancy AIM Group, Craiglist’s revenue in 2014 stood at $335 million.

However, India is a radically different market with an estimated only eight to 10 percent of Indian Internet population on these classifieds websites.

However, by getting into niche verticals Quikr will be able to develop more specific and premium products and address deeper problems. This could lead to greater engagement with customers and higher revenues. This is what Quikr seems to be doing with QuikrHomes and the acquisitions it is making in that category.

It won’t be surprising if the next set of acquisitions come for QuikrCars. The auto-classified segment has already seen some consolidation—CarTrade acquired CarWale and CarDekho bought out ZigWheels.

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