Real estate portal CommonFloor.com has been on a growth trajectory over the past few quarters, prompting its existing investors Tiger Global and Accel Partners to infuse $7.5 million afresh. Owned and operated by Bangalore-based maxHeap Technologies Pvt Ltd, it claims to have more than 1,000 paying customers and more than 1 lakh active listings on its site. It is now looking to expand operations to multiple cities and scale up in cities where it is already present, using the money it raised from the round. In a chat with Techcircle.in, CommonFloor co-founder and CEO Sumit Jain talks about the new funding and the firm's future plans. Excerpts:
You raised another round from existing investors. Did you approach any other VCs or have term sheets from other investors to participate in the round?
As we got the funding from the existing investors, we did not have to proactively look out.
One of your existing investors, Accel Partners also has exposure to PropTiger, another firm in the same domain. Doesn't it create a conflict of interest?
There is a significant difference between our models. PropTiger makes money on closure while we are a marketing and lead sourcing platform and have a subscription model. In fact, PropTiger is one of our clients.
You raised Series B only last year. Did you exhaust the previous funding? What explains a fresh round of funding so soon?
I don't think it is so soon. You need money to grow and a positive cash flow is very important. We have got two prominent investors on board. We are still open for funding. If a new strategic investor comes to invest in us, we will definitely consider it.
How do you plan to deploy the money raised in the just-concluded funding round?
The latest funding is primarily going to be used for setting up offices in other cities, enhancing technology and products and expanding in existing markets. We will continue to acquire talent and maintain our product leadership in this space.
Which cities are you planning to enter?
We are currently present in seven cities—Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi NCR, Noida and Hyderabad. We are now looking to expand to Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Jaipur, among other cities. We are setting up offices in these cities. However, we are yet to chart out a detailed plan.
The real estate space has seen the entry of a bunch of new players. How do plan to take on competitors?
We have been here for a while and are one of the oldest real estate portals in India. We also have got a good traction already and are not bothered about competition. Competition is good for the market. We are focusing on what we are doing and are constantly innovating to provide our customers an enhanced experience.
How much revenue did you generate last fiscal? What are your plans for the current fiscal?
We can't disclose revenue details. However, revenues have been growing more than 100 per cent over the past five quarters. We are targeting $25 million in revenues in the next couple of years.
You have launched an augmented reality based search app for end users. Are you planning to monetise it?
The app, called CommonFloor Real Estate has seen close to 50,000 downloads on Google Play Store since its launch in March this year. We are also launching the app in Apple's iOS platform. However, we are not planning to monetise it.
What are the current trends in the real estate space?
The adoption of technology in real estate is increasing at a fast pace. Property developers, dealers and owners are using internet to market their properties. Property seekers are also using internet to search, research and shortlist properties. Internet is becoming one of the most effective ways to aggregate the demand and supply and we are rightly positioned to drive the shift from the traditional media to online.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)