CommonFloor is a real estate search and listing portal passionate about simplifying property decisions for its users. The Bangalore based company was founded by Sumit Jain, Lalit Mangal and Vikas Malpani in 2007 (read the Commonfloor Journey of scaling up).
CommonFloor offers home seekers, sellers and real estate professionals an extensive online real estate ecosystem. This ecosystem innovatively combines exhaustive search options for renting and buying property, easy to use analytics, apartment and locality reviews, comprehensive and verified database of apartments across India and apartment community management tools under the same roof.
Presently the firm has over one lakh projects, more than four lakh listings and above one crore homes listed with them.
CommonFloor received Seed fund in 2009, Series B in 2012, Series C in 2013 & Series D in 2014. Today around 800+ employees help CommonFloor to run the largest Apartment management software in nearly 120 cities in India.
As part of NextBigWhat’s #bigaugust campaign, we speak to Sumit Jain, cofounder of Commonfloor.
How do you define ‘Company Culture’?
Sumit Jain: As an organization we are High Performance driven, we therefore ensure an environment that is conducive to career growth and this kind of high performance. We follow an open door policy where senior management is easily approachable and complete transparency in company day to day workings is maintained. We also ensured that hard work does not go unrecognized by successfully incorporating appreciation, rewards and recognitions into our company culture.
When did your company start & how did you grow big? Could you share milestones (In terms of year and no. of people)?
Sumit Jain: CommonFloor.com was started in 2007. We have today grown to become the largest players in the Apartment Management software segment and are currently present in 120 cities across the country. Around 100,000 communities are using CommonFloor Groups (our apartment Management offering).
In the real estate space, we have over 4 lakh listings. We have 1 Lakh projects listed with us. These projects constitute over 10 Lakh homes.
With respect to traffic are the fastest growing real estate portal in the country growing. In Bangalore, we are the number one property portal as per Alexa traffic rank. We aim to achieve a turnover of $25 million in the next two years.
With regards to headcount, we have an employee strength of over 800. We expect this number to grow significantly in the coming months. We have a presence in 18 cities pan India and intend to take this number to forty soon.
Does the company have a stated set of cultural values & what is the grounded purpose behind it?
Sumit Jain: Yes –We have 5 Values Which reflect the core philosophy of the organization Innovation, Care, Integrity, Leadership and Customer Centricity)
Customer centricity: We are passionate about delighting the customer. We endeavour to be a hero to our customers by going out of our way to solve their problems and wow them. Our objective is to make CommonFloor.com their go-to site.
Innovation: We acknowledge but embrace constraints pertaining to budget, bandwidth and tools. We allow our customer obsessiveness to fuel innovation that lets us overcome any challenge.
Care: We firmly believe quality comes with care. Care for the smallest of aspects of our day to day functions to ensure the quality of team members, meetings, conversations, impressions, product features and customer experience is a top priority. We strive to ward off apathy in our attitude to ensure that we never dilute the passion we have for this great company.
Leadership: We aspire to be an inspiration to others, and believe in giving our 100% always. We work towards ensuring that any pressure of indecision does not drag us into mediocrity and complacency.
Integrity: We champion and live by the belief that honesty and integrity are the pillars of every great organization.
Can you describe the environment in the company?
Sumit Jain: As a young and dynamic organization we have been successful in fostering an environment that is informal and open. We have ensured that employees are extremely comfortable in voicing views, appreciation, concern and grievances.
How often does the staff meet?
Sumit Jain: We conduct town hall meetings once a month. These meeting are attended by all employees present at the office location.
What does it take for someone to be successful here?
Sumit Jain: It requires the employee to be aligned to company values and goals. We analyze to what extent is an employee’s work, achievement and future ambitions in line with overall company growth. We also gauge how much an employee adheres to company core values while going about assignments.
What are your expectations from your employees?
Sumit Jain: We expect them to keep overall company growth and goals in mind while planning day to day work and career growth. We also encourage them to adhere to company values while doing so.
How do you reward your employees?
Sumit Jain: We deploy a fairly large range of monetary and non-monetary tools ranging from variable pay/incentives to spot awards and pat on the back.
What do you look for in a potential employee? How do you evaluate the soft-skills?
Sumit Jain: We look for the following
Competence: How good he/she is at his current assignment?
Skills: What knowledge and skills he/she possesses?
Attitude: How easy is it for him/her to adjust with the team? How open is he/she to learning? How enthusiastic is he/she about his job?
We also focus on the extent of his/her alignment with company culture through a personal interview test.
How do you onboard new employee?
Sumit Jain: Every new employee goes through a structured joining and induction process where he/she is apprised of significant aspects of CommonFloor.com. These include company mission, company vision, products and offerings, growth trajectory so far, employee size, national presence etc. Every new employee is also assigned a buddy ( a co-worked in his/her team) and HR partner to help the person in settling down faster.
What’s the best part about working in this environment that we won’t be able to see from just a walk around the office?
Sumit Jain: We have very integrated teams that work in tandem with their counterparts nationally. We also do some cutting edge work and have been responsible for some the most appreciated and widely used features in the real estate space.
Are there special activities you do to promote teamwork? Are they voluntary?
Sumit Jain: We regularly conduct team outings and team building activities which are voluntary.
What policies does the company have on day-to-day activities (e.g., dress code, work hours)?
Sumit Jain: We offer our employees flexible work timings with defined core hours. Employees can come and leave office any time between 8 am to 8 pm so long as they clock 9 hours. We also provide work from home options. The dress code in office is casual.
Do supervisors have an open door policy or the employees need prior appointment for a meeting with the seniors?
Sumit Jain: We follow an open door policy where employees do not need a prior appointment to meet seniors.
Is there an HR team to help the employees? Or is it driven by founders?
Sumit Jain: We have a full-fledged HR team that engages with our employees.
Here’s what employees speak about CommonFloor:
How do you hire senior management? What’s the process like? What do you look for?
Sumit Jain: We engage in senior management hiring through several modes like Panel Discussion, Assignment, Personal Interview and Personal meetings with other senior folks in the company. We look for Innovation process orientation and alignment to company culture and high achievement orientation in particular.
What has been the biggest learning that you’d want to share with fellow entrepreneurs?
Sumit Jain: Perseverance and believing in oneself are the two most important things for any entrepreneur. So long as an entrepreneur is successful in resolving an issue for his/her customers and users he must have the perseverance and the confidence to keep going despite the challenges he/she faces.
How do you resolve team conflict? Could you share an example?
Sumit Jain: We find open Forum discussion involving all concerned parties to be the most effective.
What tools do you use to enhance productivity?
Sumit Jain: We believe that providing flexibility, work-life balance and clear goals helps in maximizing productivity. This reflects in our Flexi-timing and Work from Home policy, Extended Weekends and generous need based leaves policy and the usage of Balanced and clearly articulated Functional Score Cards for doing Goal Setting across roles.
What are some of the difficult decisions you have taken, as far as defining team culture is concerned?
Sumit Jain: When we started our journey we were a small, young, dynamic and enthusiastic team. Today we have grown to become a team of over 800 employees. We have however ensured that the initial enthusiasm, entrepreneurship spirit and passion continues to be alive. We have maintained an open door policy and have taken all necessary steps and decisions to ensure it stays this way.
Currently, CommonFloor is looking for potential candidates for its Bangalore office:
-Own the Product Management life cycle from product flow to wire frame, to rapid prototype,through all testing phases (alpha, beta) to the success of the final version.
-Define product requirements and overall go to market strategy.
-Define market requirements for current and future products by conducting market research supported by ongoing interaction with internal and external stakeholders
-Experience in intensive product/web application development
-Experience in leading teams, architecting scalable products, designing Databases and coding on web-based applications
-Experience in MVC, MySQL/MongoDB, PHP/Python, Object Oriented Programming
-Solid understanding of data structures and algorithms
-Conceptualize and execute the marketing plans and campaign plans for the brand, encompassing both ATL and BTL initiatives.
-Work on media plans and events
-Liaise with third party vendors and agencies on various brand activities and plans
-Track and monitor the competitive environment and market trends
-Minimum of 6+ year experience in Digital/Online Marketing and SEO with a focus on high quality organic link building.
-Proven track record of delivering tangible results on visibility, traffic and conversions
-Digital/Online Marketing and SEO with a focus on high quality organic link building
-Experience of doing SEO for large, dynamic websites is a plus