Online real estate portal Housing.com is re-launching rental listings after it suspended home rental business in November 2015. Last year the company claimed that the closure of its rental business was a “strategic decision” in order to focus more on the home buying & selling segment. It plans for re-entry by early next year, although an exact timeline was not provided.
Housing said in a statement that the government’s demonetization move is expected to cause a major slow-down in the home-buying and selling segment. This would likely shift growth to the home rental space, “making it an opportune time to re-launch the rentals business,” the company added.
“While the Company had planned to re-launch rentals towards end of next year, the government’s recent demonetization move has led to an advancement in the plans,” Housing said in its statement.
Compared to last year, the company claims its revenues has grown by 400%, and that it cut operating costs by 70%. It claims that website traffic grew from 1.3M users last year to 4.1M in this year and the number of homes listed have increased from 110,000 to 630,000. Housing credits this increase to its strategic shift from rental to buying business that it initiated last November.
Exits and hires post strategic move
After laying off around 160 employees in August 2015, the company went onto shutter its rental business with more lay-offs in November. In the same month, Housing appointed Jason Kothari as chief executive officer following the tumultuous exit of the company’s co-founder and CEO Rahul Yadav. In March this year, Housing’s co-founder Advitiya Sharma quit the company, and just a month later in April , three other co-founders quit the company, reportedly to pursue a new venture.
In between the exits, the company went on to hire Reliance Jio’s Vivek Jain as Chief Product & Technology Officer in August. It also made two executive hires in May: Dilip Tuli as Senior Vice President – Strategy and New Business Initiatives and Ashish Laghate as Assistant Vice President – Product. Housing previously elevated its co-founder Snehil Buxy as Chief Product Officer in January. It also promoted Mani Rangarajan as the Chief Business Officer in October 2015.
The company raised money in two different instances in the last one year that it shut-down rentals: i)An undisclosed amount of funding from Vineet Singh, co-founder and CEO of Buildzar in April 2016; and ii) A Rs 100 crore in funding from Softbank, its largest investor in January 2016.