Online classifieds company Quikr has launched a real estate focussed portal called quikrhomes. The portal can be found at quikrhomes.com, although this redirects the user to quickr.com/homes. According to Quikr, this move is a part of its larger plan to have separate verticals for various segments including cars, jobs, electronics and education.
The company first mentioned in April that it would launch such a real estate focused portal within 2-4 weeks of the announcement, however the launch seems to have been delayed till now. Interestingly, Quikr had said then that the value of real estate related transactions was worth 50% of all the transactions on the platform. It said that every month, there were 2 lakh real estate related transactions on its platform, and that the site had (at the time) 20 lakh active real estate listings.
As of now, the portal lets users search for residential, commercial or agricultural properties to either buy or rent, in various cities like Pune, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Users can search by locality, project or builder, and then further sort the results based on price range, property type, number of rooms, area, amenities, furnishing, ad posted date and availability of pictures of the property. Quikr’s real estate portal is also currently active, providing users with the same information, albeit with a less appealing UI.
While this seems like the next logical step for Quikr, the Mumbai-based company is entering a highly competitive sector. Last year, the online real estate segment had attracted a lot of funding and witnessed a lot of product experimentation. Quikr, which itself raised $150 million in April, $60 million in September 2014 and $90 million in March 2014, will be up against the likes of Housing.com, 99Acres, MagicBricks.com and CommonFloor among others.
Investments in online real estate segment:
– It’s recent troubles notwithstanding, Housing.com raised $90 million from Softbank Group and others in December last year, plus $18 million from Helion Venture Partners, Qualcomm Ventures and existing investor Nexus Venture Partners in June.
– Bangalore-based CommonFloor raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Google’s late stage growth fund Google Capital in January. It had also raised around $40 million across two rounds of funding in 2014, including $30 million in September and Rs 64 crore in January.
– News Corp acquired 25% stake in online real estate portal PropTiger for $30 million, in November last year.
– Earlier in 2014, Info Edge had raised Rs 750 crore through qualified institutional placement 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.
Quikr has a slight advantage in terms of reach, as it claims to have over 30 million monthly unique users and is present in 940 cities in India (as of September 2014). However, success in the online real estate segment is not dependent on just reach. Quikr is essentially a platform that connects brokers to potential home buyers or those looking to rent an apartment. But a dedicated real estate portal, as we have witnessed through the new products and services launched by other players in the space, is much more than just a medium of connecting with brokers. It’ll be interesting to see what new features Quikr offers home buyers and if it moves beyond the classifieds model.