Singapore-based Elara Technologies Pte, which owns online property broker PropTiger, has acquired property search portal Makaan.com, for an undisclosed amount. This is the second acquisition by PropTiger this month after it bought digital design startup Out of Box Interaction (OoBI).
Makaan.com Pvt. Ltd is part of Anupam Mittal-founded People Group, which is also behind tech ventures such as matrimonial site Shaadi.com and Mauj Mobile.
The property sale and purchase business in the country is still dominated by a highly fragmented unorganised market. The online property search and broker sites aim to capitalise on the huge opportunity with wider assortment of choices to a buyer and easier sale process for the seller.
The deal to buy Makaan.com provides PropTiger a wider presence in the secondary property sale business. Although PropTiger too offers pre-owned properties to its users, it is largely known for its advisory and broking services for new properties.
PropTiger also has a B2B subscription product named PropTiger Data Labs which offers database and consulting business for banks, private equity investors and developers.
"With the acquisition of Makaan.com, we ended up creating the most comprehensive digital real estate solution in India which is hard to replicate," Dhruv Agarwala, co-founder and CEO of PropTiger, said.
Founded in 2007, Makaan.com claims it has around 200,000 active property listings and relationships with 40,000 brokers in 50 Indian cities. It says around 40 per cent of its traffic comes from mobile.
Makaan will operate as a separate entity as of now; however, there will be synergies at the back-end.
"Our tech and product team will work together. Consumers who visit Makaan now can opt for a fully assisted service from PropTiger and users on PropTiger will get access to a much wider choice of listing on Makaan. We can co-exist as two separate brands but leverage each other significantly in ways which would be seamless for customers to provide a great value," Agarwala said.
Aditya Verma, CEO, Makaan.com will report to Agarwala.
"During the past few years, India's home-buyers have embraced digital platforms in a big way. Starting by creating the first and only full-stack property solution, the combination of Makaan.com and PropTiger.com is set to accelerate customer-focused innovations dramatically," said Mittal, who started Shaadi.com in 1996 before forming People Group to look at other opportunities in technology space.
This is the second such strategic move by People Group this year. In January, it invested in Delhi & Singapore-based Thrill Pte Ltd, a mobile dating startup which runs its apps on Android and iOS under the Thrill banner, and in a parallel deal brought its own existing dating property Fropper under Thrill.
For PropTiger, the deal strengthens its cross-segment presence in the online property buying and selling space to take on MagicBricks, 99acres, CommonFloor and Housing, among others, in the space.
The property search and associated digital media business in India has seen a flurry of activity over the last one year and in particular over the past six months. Half a dozen top-tier ventures have either raised venture funding or are in the queue to raise private capital.
Info Edge (India) raised $125 million through a qualified institutional placement to bankroll expansion of its property portal 99acres.com;Housing.com raised $90 million in a round led by Japan's SoftBank; Google Capital invested in CommonFloor.com just months after it raised $30 million in Series A round led by existing investor Tiger Global.
Times Group is looking to raise as much as $100 million for its property listing venture MagicBricks.
Late last month, Housing.com acquired Indian Real Estate Forum, an online discussion platform for property related queries. It is also in talks to buy real estate analytics firm PropEquity for Rs 80 crore.
Then there are unrelated internet ventures such as classifieds site Quikr looking to make a wider presence in the space. Quikr is also flush with cash having raised fresh funding early this year at a $1 billion valuation.
PropTiger itself raised more money late last year. In November 2014, global media, book publishing and digital real estate services company News Corp picked 25 per cent stake in PropTiger.com for $30 million.
Although known for its news media publications, News Corp has been building presence in online property search and other digital media assets. It owns 61.6 per cent stake in REA, and in the US, it owns Move, Inc., which runs Realtor.com. News Corp acquired the owner of this news website in March.
Founded in 2011 by Harvard Business School alumni Dhruv Agarwala and Kartik Varma along with ISB Hyderabad alumnus Prashan Agarwal, PropTiger's other investors include SAIF Partners, Accel Partners and Horizon Ventures.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)