Housing.com, a company that has been making quite some headlines ever since the CEO of Housing.com Rahul Yadav and Shailendra Singh, Sequoia India MD got involved in a conflict, well the issue was raised when Rahul alleged that he was poaching Housing.com staff or be it recent controversial decision by the board of directors of firing their CEO Rahul Yadav after the board meeting. He later made a graceful exit by giving all his shares to his company employees, when asked the reason behind this he simply said “I’m just 26 and it’s too early in life to get serious about money, etc.”
Housing.com was started by 12 IITians with a vision to severe housing shortage, currently there are 8 founders are serving the company. The main key to the success of housing.com was the in innovation and used map-based portal for house hunting, subsequently redefining the standards. Initial in 2012, when the firm was born they were using “Housing.co.in” domain but with the intentions to target international users, the team decided to buy the domain name “Housing.com” and 03-333-333-333, a national number for a whopping $1 million.
In December 2014, Japan’s Soft Bank invested $90 million into Housing.com, which valued the portal at a whopping $250 million.
A group of 12 young boys from IIT Bombay started searching their house, apparently it turned out to an impossible affair, it took them apparently a month and later they ended up finding a house near IITB campus. The IIT connection played a major role and they started to help IIT friends and a bunch of potential clients, in reaching them accommodation, which interestingly made them 1-2 lac per month from brokerage within a short period of time. Later they aspired to bring themselves on national arena and started Housing.co.in June 2012.
This Mumbai based real estate search portal Housing.com allowed customers to search for housing based on various filters, with a network of 6,000 brokers the company has been serving 40 cities in India.
But when it came for expansion, they realized they lacked extensive local and geographic knowledge of different cities and states and that gave birth to a well-planned online map-based portal, “housing.co.in”.
Funding and Expansion
Housing.com has raised a series of rounds of funding since 2012.
- In June 2013, they altogether raised $5.5 million in a four series from Nexus Venture Partners. These funds were used create Data Science Lab and to expand across various cities like Chennai, Ghaziabad, Hyderabad, Faridabad, Delhi and Noida, and also was used for staffing of 700 employees and create 1, 00,000 unique users per day.
- In March 2013, Housing.co.in raised two round of which one being ₹5 crores from Haresh Chawla (former CEO, Network18) and the other one being ₹50 Lakhs from Zishaan Hayath (co-founder of Chaupati Bazaar).
- In November 2013, Housing.com added child friendliness index (CFI) to its platform which enabled users to measure neighbourhoods in three different criteria’s – Number of schools, hospitals & parks and Proximity of these facilities. Later in December 2013, search for paying guest rentals on introduced on the portal based on the advice Data Science Lab (DSL).
- In June 2014, Housing.com raised $19 million collectively from Helion ($8 million), Nexus ($7 million) and Qualcomm ($4 million).
- The revenue model of Housing.com is subscription based where landlords, developers, agents, land owners buy display on the site.
- Data collectors of Housing.com physically verify the property, clicks pictures before putting them up on the portal. They charge ₹5,000 for its 6 months subscription and ₹8,000 for an annual subscription.
- Further details of revenues have not been revealed as their investor have confidentially clauses but however reports suggests that the portal broke even their operational cost recently for Mumbai market in span of nine months.
Housing.com utilized the traditional & Digital ways to expand their brand reach. Housing.com been seen & heard billboards, hoardings, TV, Radio and the Internet. The principle of Housing.com on the digital platforms is to stay focused and ROI driven and most importantly critic friendly, which eventually led drive back high traffic and also made lead generation a cakewalk. Housing has been focusing on the building more supply, which urges more people come on the site.
- Print Media: Housing.com has a budget of $40 million on advertising and marketing in 2015, its “Look Up” campaign which was started in March, was designed by Moving Brands was indeed the first marketing initiative showing how the basic need for a home is a critical part of an individual’s journey.
- Social Media: Housing.com com has been maintaining a uniform appearance across all social platforms makes it easier for followers and users to identify and engage with the brand with ease. The content development and business targets is an effortless affair on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
- Instagram: Housing.com has efficiently banked upon the core principle of Instagram by curate some amazing photos, and connecting with people who share the same interests. The company has incorporate real images and illustrations in its Instagram account.
- Content: the Housing.com portal is a very informative and invigorating portal. Having effectively analysed needs of the visitors and devising a strong content plan has went on to help the portal to generate these visitors into quality leads.
Data science lab (DSL)
Housing’s Data Science Lab (DSL) was established with a vision of enabling the portal with an effective algorithm, which it did by generated a “Heat Map” algorithm. It also went to deliver various other parameters like demand flux maps based on these filters, and also show price variations in properties across the various city.
The mission of Housing.com being help millions of people struggling for months trying to find real estate that meets their requirements, over the years they have built over 8,00,000 verified listings across 50 cities and over the next few months they aim, to expand to 300 cities and map 40 million houses.