Brongo makes connecting with a broker and finding your dream home easy as pie. The app helps users directly connect with background-verified brokers, negotiate commissions, and seal the deal.
At a glance:
Founders: Narayan Lal, Chaitanya V Cotha, Jay Prakash Pai
Based out of: Bengaluru
Sector: Real Estate
Problem it solves: Home hunting
When Narayan Lal took the entrepreneurial plunge with real-estate investment advisory Turnip Consultants in April 2013, he came with a decade’s experience in financial services and investment banking, including a stint at JP Morgan Chase.
With Turnip Consultants, he saw brokers would often be taken for a ride, and clients took them for granted. This led to the idea of launching Brongo, a broker aggregator app that sought to connect the end user with the best local broker and users in real time. The app offers users the option of reviewing brokers' ratings and performance before selecting one within a minute.
Brongo focuses on creating an environment where users work with brokers and ensure there is ownership as brokers are restricted to only a few areas, and clients are asked to agree to the commission even before selecting a local broker.
What does it do?
Narayan says: “By aggregating real estate brokers we will not only help in solving issues faced by end users and brokers, but also help digitalise the brokerage industry, which has been neglected for a very long time.”
On Brongo if there is a user/client who wants a two-bedroom flat on rent in Indiranagar, Bengaluru, with a budget of Rs 25,000 per month, she needs to fill in the requirements, agree on the commissions to be paid to the broker, and submit a request on the platform.
Brongo then sends an alert to all its registered brokers in the area to showcase the requirement of the client and highlight the agreed-upon commission. All Brongo Brokers will, on a real-time basis, get a minute to bid for the lead; the fastest three bids are finalised and shown to the user.
The user can then go through the past ratings of the broker, his/her picture, reviews (by actual clients), current workload, and then select the broker they want to work with.
Once connected, client details are completely anonymous. They can chat with or call the broker but user’s details are never disclosed to the broker except for his or her real-estate requirements.
After the connection, the user and the broker’s performance are monitored by the Brongo team to ensure the transaction is closed. At the end of the deal, both the broker and the client get to rate each other; the same is displayed to other clients/brokers before starting a new deal.
How does it help?
Narayan says, “With this, the user gets the best local broker to work with on a real-time basis. Apart from that, the background of the brokers is verified. The commissions are agreed before the deal. They also get support from Brongo during the deal if there is an issue with a broker.”
The brokers, in return, get verified and real-time client leads, and know that the commissions are agreed upon before they start work.
Once Narayan had the idea, he roped in his friends and associates Chaitanya V Cotha and Jay Prakash Pai as Co-founder, and initial investor and advisor, respectively.
The rental market
A report by the Indian Brand Equity Foundation predicts the overall Indian rental real-estate market will touch $180 billion by 2020 and contribute close to 6 percent of the country’s GDP, but remains largely fragmented.
Construction development in India witnessed Foreign Direct Investment of $24.19 billion between April 2000 and March 2016.
The market has seen few consolidations in the past couple of years. In January 2016, Quikr announced it had acquired CommonFloor for an undisclosed amount to integrate it with its offering Quikr Homes. In August 2015, Housing acquired cloud-based sales life cycle management platform HomeBuy360 for $2 million.
In October last year, Square Yards acquired Ahmedabad-based Oryden Tech Labs, which specialises in 3D architectural and industrial visualisation, 2D animation, and creative design. In September 2016, real-estate firm Prop Tiger acquired Softbank-backed Housing.
The differentiator and future
Narayan explains that at the moment, there aren’t any apple-to-apple comparisons with Brongo. However, all online real-estate portals do provide broker data to the user.
“The brokers are all paid as they pay these portals to get listed. We also have BroEx, Plabro, and Indian Realty Exchange connecting broker to broker where the broker’s performance is not monitored and background is not verified,” Narayan says.
Brongo charges clients a commission. It keeps 25 percent as facilitation charges, and the remaining 75 percent is to be paid to the broker. The brokers also have subscription-based options, beginning at Rs 2,999 per month. For builder projects, the builders are charged Rs 14,999 per project on a monthly basis.
With the app operational in a few areas of Bengaluru, Brongo now plans to expand across the city and is also looking to raise its next round of funding.