Online real estate portal IndiaProperty has raised $12 million in Series B funding from Bertelsmann India Investments, the Indian investment arm of the German media conglomerate Bertelsmann with participation from existing investors Canaan Partners and Mayfield Fund. It had earlier raised $7 million from Canaan Partners and Mayfield Fund in May 2013.
Formerly a part of Matrimony.com (erstwhile Consim Info) which operates a series of matrimonial sites like BharatMatrimony, EliteMatrimony, CommunityMatrimony and AssistedMatrimony among others, IndiaProperty was spun out as a separate entity in May 2013. IndiaProperty CEO Ganesh Vasudevan had then told Medianama that this demerger provides them with an opportunity to have a dedicated focus to the real estate business.
The company currently offers marketing solutions to builders, real estate agents and home owners to sell or rent their properties while allowing users to search for properties to purchase or rent. It claims to have 700,000 properties listed on its website and offer marketing solutions to over 4,000 builders right now.
In October 2013, IndiaProperty had tied up with the VideoMaps provider VidTeq to offer video directions for select property listings in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. It had also introduced features like verified listings and 3D floor plans in the same month. In July 2013, it had launched a subscription-based service Assisted Property for customers who needed assistance in finding and buying a property.
It’s Mostly Advertising?
Its worth noting that Info Edge MD Hitesh Oberoi had earlier mentioned that more than 50% of revenues earned by 99Acres (the group’s real estate business) was from marketing i.e. featured products, banners sold and branding solutions which are often used by builders and brokers to market new projects, rather than paid listings thereby indicating that a decline in paid listings had little impact on its overall revenue.
What Has Changed & What To Expect In 2014
Responding to our query on the online property business in 2013, Ganesh Vasudevan, CEO of IndiaProperty said that about 15-20% of traffic is from non desktop devices and they expect it to grow significantly over the next 12 months. “The other big shift is the increasing realization amongst real estate advertisers that online media today presents an unbeatable value proposition both from a performance and brand building perspective, delivering much better ROI compared to traditional media. We can expect to see a quick swing into online from traditional media from here on. In 2012, advertisers were looking at the internet only as a lead generation medium.”
“Consumers’ expectations from property portals have changed from just identifying properties to looking at portals for information that can guide them through the entire process of property identification and purchase. The end user has found multiple uses for portals including looking at properties based on unique requirements, researching on localities, price trends etc and to even applying for home loans. With constraints on time and limited knowledge about the property market, buyers today want customized services wherein they want to spend as little time as possible and get the best results. Services like Assisted Property by IndiaProperty.com serve such clients via an integrated model of both online and offline service to select and close the property deal that best suits them,” he added saying that the biggest roadblock has been transparency in the industry, and “this obfuscation exists at various levels, starting from the builder, to the agent who markets the property to other intermediaries involved in the transaction. From a listings perspective, getting agents and brokers to post authentic information has and will continue to be a challenge.”
Other players in the space include Accel Partners & Tiger Global-backed CommonFloor, Nexus Venture Partners-backed Housing, Accel Partners & SAIF Partners backed PropTiger, Times Business Solutions’ property listing portal MagicBricks, Info Edge’s 99Acres, TTK Group’s Home Shikari and real estate group buying portal Groffr.
Bertelsmann in India