Real estate and apartment management portal CommonFloor has acqui-hired Bangalore based messaging startup Bakfy for an undisclosed amount. The Economic Times reports that it is a cash & equity deal and Bakfy founders Ashutosh Garg, Rajesh Eswarlal and Niranjan Bala will be joining Commonfloor as entrepreneurs-in-residence, where they will be working on building social and mobile products.
Bakfy was launched by Garg, Eswarlal and Bala in April last year and is a Secret-like anonymous chat app but limited to college students. It let college students share college gossip, news and campus events as well as have conversations with other students in their colleges. However, unlike Secret, the anonymity is optional for college students.
This service also fits in well with CommonFloor’s Apartments groups offering, that lets users create local communities for their apartments. It will be interesting to what other features CommonFloor rolls out going forward. Probably a messaging service between brokers and customers, or perhaps a platform for common discussion ‘rooms’ on specific properties?
Flat.to acquisition: In April last year, CommonFloor had also acquired student accommodation portal Flat.to to enter into the student and bachelor accommodation segment. The company had then said that Flat.to would continue to function independently with its co-founder and CEO Gaurav Munjal heading it. The website provides users accommodation either through brokers or directly via owners and also lets then search for flatmates by listing their flats on the service. The service currently claims to have tie-ups with over 200 colleges and has more than 7000 flat listings on its site.
Previous fundraising: CommonFloor had raised $30 million in its fifth round of funding from Tiger Global in September last year. It had also raised Rs 64 crore in Series D funding from Tiger Global and Accel India, earlier in 2014. Before this, it had raised $7.5 million in a Series C round of funding from Tiger Global Management and Accel India in July 2013 and secured an undisclosed amount of funds from the same investors in October 2012.
Competition in Online real estate segment
The online real estate segment is heating up, with Housing.com raising $90 million from SoftBank group & others last month and News Corp picking 25% stake in PropTiger for $30 million in November 2014.
Info Edge had also raised Rs 750 crore through qualified institutional placement earlier in 2014 to invest in its online real estate business 99Acres. (Read: How 99Acres plans to use the $120 million it has raised).
Both 99Acres and MagicBricks.com (owned by the Times of India group) claim to be leaders in the online real estate listings space (and disagree on who exactly leads, based of different interpretation of traffic data). Indiaproperty.com had also raised $12 million from Bertelsmann and others in December 2013.