Tanuj Shori, CEO of proptech startup Square Yards, on building a one-stop shop for home buyers in India

In a fireside chat at TechSparks 2021, Tanuj Shori, CEO of Square Yards, shared his views on real estate, proptech, and what the future holds.
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Proptech or property technology is the application of technology to the real estate market. It strives towards reducing paperwork while making transactions quicker, efficient, and secure. According to a report by JLL, India has the highest number of proptech startups in the Asia Pacific region.

While proptech is a fast-emerging sector, Square Yards is one of the leading startups from India in this space.

On Day 5 of YourStory’s TechSparks 2021, India's most influential startup-tech conference, Tanuj Shori, CEO, Square Yards, spoke about the changing dynamics of real estate in India.

“Think of real estate as what equity and insurance were in the late 90s and then you had tech disrupting the way they operate. Unlike other parts of the world like the US and China where proptech is already prospering, India is at a very nascent stage,” said Tanuj.

“Proptech is the last remaining bastion where technology is yet to disrupt meaningfully,” he added.

Tanuj believes the complexities of real estate requires the building of two ecosystems (offline and online) simultaneously.

“With close to 17 co-founders and an amazing team, we have been able to build the digital and physical DNA and tried to blend the two in a perfectly possible way. Having said that, we still have a long way to go,” added Tanuj.

End-end real estate experience

Tanuj opined that consumer experience is going to be the most significant differentiating factor for Square Yards. Moreover, the ability to connect different aspects of the value chain is also important, he said.

“At Square Yards, we have built a full-stack ecosystem. For example, a consumer comes to our website, browses through the properties, connects with the agents, avails loan facilities as well as uses our services for home furnishing and design. Basically, we take care of your end-end home buying journey,” shared Tanuj.

He believes this is disruptive not just in terms of experience, but also monetisation. Moreover, proptech is moving in the same direction globally.

Never a demand issue

Speaking on the current state of real estate in India, Tanuj said, “We believe there is never a demand issue, but there is a supply issue in our country. A large part of unsold flats and houses should never have been built. The inventory that is wrongly priced and wrongly positioned does not give a fair indication of Indian demand.”

Tanuj further explained through statistics that the demand for housing is set to grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years. According to him, “The segment that we are currently in, without expanding, we can grow by 20 to 50 times in the next few years.”

System integration, not acquisition

Square Yards recently acquired PropVR, an AI-based platform specialising in creating digital property experiences using 3D technologies, virtual reality, and augmented reality.

Amid multiple acquisitions, Tanuj said, “To fill in the holes in terms of capabilities on the platform, we reach out to smarter players in the ecosystem. Also, we like to call it a system integration rather than acquisition where founders and the team become an integral part of our story.”

Sharing his vision for Square Yards, he said, “When we talk about the next stage of expansion, we think about operational benchmarks and not financial benchmarks. We want to tick all the boxes in terms of operations before raising further capital.”

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Edited by Megha Reddy

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