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PropTiger and Housing merge; $55 million investment in the JV

News Corp-backed PropTiger has merged with Housing.com to become a joint venture with an additional investment of $55 million which includes $50 million from REA Group Limited  and an affiliate of SoftBank Group Corp, investing $5 million.

It is worth noting that News Corp remains the largest shareholder of PropTiger with a share of 30%, and also owns 61.6% of REA Group. Representatives of REA and SoftBank will join the board of the joint entity, which will continue to be chaired by a News Corp representative. Henry Ruiz, Chief Digital Officer, REA Group, Simon Barnett, Sales Director, News Corp and Jonathan Bullock, MD, SoftBank Group International will join Raju Narisetti (chair), Ravi Adusumalli from SAIF Partners and Prashanth Prakash from Accel Partners as investor directors on the board of the joint entity.

Though the release talks about a merger, it is not clear if it is only a merger or is also an acquisition since the name of this joint venture is not known. It is also not clear if Housing.com will continue to exist as an independent entity like Makaan.com. We have written to the organisation for clarification on both.

The company added the joint entity between PropTiger and Housing.com ‘will draw on the strengths of PropTiger, Housing.com and Makaan.com.’ Makaan.com was acquired by PropTiger in 2015.

What happens to Team Housing.com?

Dhruv Agarwala, co-founder and CEO of PropTiger, will serve as CEO of the joint entity while Jason Kothari, CEO of Housing.com has quit the organisation. However the release states that he will continue to be an advisor to the joint entity through the end of February, 2017.

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Housing was founded by 12 people including Rahul Yadav, who was let go as CEO of the company in July 2015. In April 2016,  Abhishek AnandRavish Naresh and Sanat Ghosh, co-founders of the company quit the company. It is not clear if three of the remaining original co-founders Snehil Buxy, Chief Product Officer; Jaspreet Saluja, Head of Data Operations and Amrit Raj, Head of Digital Marketing remain in the company after this merger.

In April 2016, Housing.com had raised an undisclosed round of funding from Vineet Singh, co-founder & CEO of Buildzar. Singh is the co-founder and CEO of Buildzar. In January 2016, Housing secured Rs 100 crore in funding from Softbank, its largest investor, to drive its new strategy and growth plans. In December 2014, it raised $90 million from Softbank with participation from Falcon Edge and other unnamed investors.

Other acquisitions by PropTiger & Housing.com:

  • In September 2016, PropTiger acqui-hired PropRates, a Mumbai-based data collation company. This acquisition was to help the real estate website to augment its existing DataLabs offerings. The team of PropRates joined PropTiger to continue building products for data gathering for the company.
  • In September 2015, Housing aqui-hired Plat, a startup which operates an online network for agents where they can share real estate inventories and requirement and BigBHK, a property management software targeted at rentals suppliers.
  • In August 2015, In August, Housing acquired sales lifecycle management HomeBuy360 for $2 million.
  • In May 2015, Housing acquired the Delhi-based real estate analytics portal Realty Business Intelligence for an estimated $2-4 million.
  • In April 2015, PropTiger acquired Out of Box Interaction (OoBi), a user interface design firm, for an undisclosed amount.
  • In March 2015, Housing acquired realty-focused online community Indian Real Estate Forum (IREF) for Rs 8 crore.

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