Tanuj Shori, Founder and CEO, Square Yards in an interview to Aparajita Gupta
Rapid urbanisation and steady migration of people from rural areas have opened up greater opportunity for the real estate sector. It has also necessitated seamless integration of home searching, scouting for loan and other due diligence. Tanuj Shori, Founder and CEO, Square Yards in an interview to Aparajita Gupta explained how the company is facilitating buyers with end-to-end home buying solutions.
India is seeing rapid urbanisation and migration from rural areas where real estate will play a major role. How do you plan to tap this market?
Presently, the real estate sector finds itself at the crossroads of rapid socio-economic change, which is changing the built environment. While most of these trends are quite evident, there’s a natural tendency to underestimate their implications over the next 10 years and beyond.
India’s socio-economic scene today is quite akin to what China’s was in the year 2002. Currently, while urbanisation in India is at 33 per cent, China as a contrast is over 56 per cent urbanised. The level of urbanisation in India is expected to accelerate to nearly 40 per cent by 2030, with urban population projected to increase to 600 million during the same period. Rapid migration, rising income levels and changing urban demographics will place increasing pressure on cities to provide housing for the growing population. A back of the envelope calculation with a 300 million population increase in urban centres in India means a demand for around 75 million homes (keeping in mind average family size of four).
As real estate is a business with long development cycles – we think now is the time to plan for these changes. As a leading proptech startup, our investments into technology and people has always ensured high efficiency in whatever we do. With growing cities, increased rural-urban migration and the infusion of fresh home buyers from the hinterland, our intuitive tech shall always be a home seekers first choice.
To be future ready for this increasing demand for housing, we are helping shape future ready products with our principals, while expanding our network of channel partners and partner banks to make every individual journey -- from the first online search, home loan disbursement and moving in, easier than ever before.
How do you integrate on your platform the whole real-estate journey from search, discovery to research, transactions, home loans and post-sales service?
Square Yards has pioneered the Online to Offline (O2O) commerce for real estate customer acquisition and service delivery. Our tech solves the typical real estate data asymmetry through search and discovery, it brings standardisation and comparative market analysis, it helps reach to a wider target audience, it helps manage and digitalise the documentation, it helps scale the sales processes, and much more.
We look at proptech as an assisted sales process, wherein data, products, leads, automation drive the value chain, with an agent acting as a conduit to deliver these.
At present, the Square Yards network of apps and websites get a traffic of over 1 million visitors monthly and generate more than 18 million real estate leads annually.
The offline channel sets up a meeting with the customer, assists in property research, coordinates site visits, helps in evaluating options and inventory selection, finally closing the deal with the developer. The in-house mortgage arm, Square Capital then steps in to provide loan advisory and documentation facilitation.
Post sales, the client is assigned a dedicated relationship manager to assist in payments, builder-buyer documentation and concierge services. All these processes truly hand-hold the customer from the beginning of her/his house hunt till property possession.
Square Yards promotes zero brokerage. How do you practice that in an industry where brokerage plays an important role?
In the ever-growing primary residential market space of India, charging the home buyer for services rendered is not the norm. This is the trend followed by most real estate distributors today. In line with that, our home buying and financing services to every customer is free of cost. Our revenues come from the real estate developer, based on the inventory we move.
While the model of brokerage is important and sustains the industry across the world, this is more about not charging a home buyer any brokerage for a purchase in the primary space.
Since when did you start your operations? How many clients you have serviced so far?
Square Yards started its operations in 2014. As on date, we have helped over 40,000 customers across 25 cities in 10 countries buy their dream homes.
What is the total revenue collection till March 2019?
In the financial year closing March 31, 2019, Square Yards reported a rise of 70 per cent in net revenue and achieved $33 million gross revenue, a gross transactional value (GTV) of $725 million spread over 12,000 transactions.
What are your expansion plans and capital raising plans?
We are now operating in 10 countries globally and in many of those markets, we are the leader in terms of business volume and year on year growth. We aim to strengthen our business across geographies while also adding newer locations.
Today, Square Yards is practically on the verge of joining the elite club of a handful of start-ups in India that have a GTV of $1 billion.