Three More Co-Founders Of Housing Quit

After co-founder Advitiya Sharma left Housing last month, now three other co-founders Abhishek Anand, Ravish Naresh and Sanat Ghosh have quit the Softbank backed company to start their own venture.

“Housing.com was our dream, and we are glad to see that the current Housing.com leadership team is strong, with very accomplished executives working alongside a young innovative team. We are confident that the positive momentum and high-growth at Housing.com will continue as we move on to our next dream, a new venture,” three co-founders said in a statement to Livemint.

Ten months earlier, Housing’s board had fired Rahul Yadav. And since then, five co-founders have quit the company.

“Abhishek, Ravish and Sanat played an important role in building the foundation of Housing.com. They are moving out to pursue their new dream of starting another new venture. I sincerely thank them for their contributions and wish them the very best. I am sure what they undertake next will be as exciting as Housing,” said CEO Jason Kothari in an email to Livemint.

The company had raised $90 million in 2014 led by SoftBank in the last round and is now focusing on acquisitions to accelerate growth.

Former Business Head Of 99Acres Vineet Singh Invests In Housing

Housing has received an undisclosed amount from Vineet Singh, former business head of 99Acres.

As part of Info Edge’s executive leadership team for a decade, Vineet built 99Acres and Naukri and he will now closely work with the Housing management team in a senior advisory role.

Vineet

Prior to joining Info Edge, Vineet worked with Xerox and Thomas Cook and is an expert in the areas of strategic planning, large scale execution, and sales & operations management. Currently, Vineet is co-founder, CEO & MD of Buildczar, a marketplace for building materials and finishing products.

Jason Kothari, Chief Executive Officer, Housing, said, “Vineet brings with him enriching experience, deep understanding of the ecosystem, and a decade of high-achieving sales leadership in the online real estate space. On board as a personal investor, Vineet will also serve as a senior advisor to the company working closely with the management team.  We believe that his association will further fuel the ambitious growth plans of Housing.com.”

“Housing.com has been a disrupter who has redefined the way consumers buy and sell homes in the marketplace. With a great product and a strong management team, I am a proud investor in Housing.com and look forward to further this dynamic company on its path to becoming the largest and most trusted player in the online real estate space,” said Vineet Singh, Senior Advisor, Housing.com.

“I am a wounded soldier but, ready to march on and take more”- Housing’s Advitiya Sharma

Once working 18 hours a day, Advitiya Sharma, one of the core founding members of Housing.com on Wednesday announced his resignation from Housing and plans to be back to the startup world in next 10 days.

Real Reason For The Resignation

Advitiya believes that the whole startup ecosystem has drifted away from the fundamentals of building a product.

“There was a lot of momentum in last one year. It was becoming a cool thing to be a founder however, startup should be more than that. It should be focusing on fundamental problems,” said Advitiya.

“Last 6-9 months had been very tough for all of us. From 2700 we came down to 1300 employees. Starting from our vision, we had to restructure everything again. But, now we have regained our stability and it was just the right time.”

Elucidating his resignation, he said, “I woke up on the day of “Mahashivratri” and decided to speak to Jason about my resignation from the company. It was a very spontaneous decision.”

But, Advitiya surely has great confidence for the current management system in Housing which is being led by CEO Jason Kothari. He asserted that his team had built a great product and believes that his management will only strengthen it further.

Co-Founders

There were a total of 12 founders during the start of Housing, five of them had left before him and now six are remaining. His relationship with other co-founders goes long way back before the start of company.

“Well, everybody was shocked at first. But, I had been explaining this to them for quite some time and gradually they understood and supported my decision.”

What Next?

“I am an entrepreneur at heart and am hungry on working more for my next venture.”

Advitiya plans to spend some time with his grandmother and rest of his family before attending Vipassana and see what more does this universe has to offer him.

” I am a wounded soldier but, ready to march on and take more.”

He believes in addressing fundamental problems of society and so essentially plans to build a product around  finance, education and clean technology as he believes these are the fundamental problems this society needs to look into and none of the startups have managed to achieve any major success in this.

[By Prabhakaran and Sanghamitra]

Housing’s Co-Founder Advitiya Sharma Quits

After Rahul Yadav, Housing.com co-founder Advitiya Sharma has quit the company to pursue a new business.

In his farewell email to employees, he wrote, “The toughest phase in our history were the last 9 months. Nothing haunts a team more than a threat to the survival of what they stand for.”

Advitiya Sharma Of Housing.com
Advitiya Sharma Of Housing.com

Out of the nine founders of the company, five have quit. Three others include Abhishek Anand (CTO); Snehil Buxy  (Chief Product Officer); and Amrit Raj (Digital Marketing Head).

“Advitiya has played an invaluable role in the birth of Housing.  It’s always hard to say bye to a friend and colleague, but we’re excited about what he will create next.

The Company is successfully executing its plan to become the most trusted, transparent and efficient place for buying and selling homes in the country, and Advitiya can be rest assured that Housing is in good hands.”- Jason Kothari, CEO, Housing.

 

Housing Adds A New Feature ‘Routing’ To Make It Easy For Home Seekers In A New City

Housing has launched a new feature ‘Routing’ which allows the consumers to search for a home based on commute time or on-road distance from any specific establishment like a school, workplace, hospital, railway station etc.

Targeted for buy and sell category, this feature is currently live on the website and available for home seekers in Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata and Delhi-NCR.

Housing has introduced ‘Routing’ with a special focus towards home seekers who are new to a city and might be unaware of the geographies and demographics in different localities.

housing routing

Its time algorithm quality assumes average traffic during post office evening hours where mode of commute is by road.
Post the soft launch a week ago the website has witnessed almost 40% surge in engagement (properties viewed per user) and 60% increase in conversions for buy in establishment searches. Housing currently receives approx. 2 lac unique visitors on monthly basis, claims the company.

housing routing 2

When consumers are searching for a property through landmark input, they could specify the commute time from that landmark. Post this, the website will show a list of those properties that are within the requested time limit. Additionally, the consumers could also specify their preferred distance from the landmark and the website will then showcase only those properties which are listed within the specified parameters.

Real Estate Platform, Housing Raises Rs 100 Crore From SoftBank

Company Name : Housing
Funding Amount : Rs 100 crore
Investor(s) SoftBank
Funding Round : Not Disclosed


Housing has secured Rs 100 crore from Softbank. The new funds will help the company to drive its new strategy and growth plans.

Jason Kothari, Chief Executive Officer, Housing said, “Softbank is one of the world’s largest and most successful investors.  Their continued support as both investors and advisors to Housing.com is invaluable to us and signifies their long-term commitment to the Company.  We are now well-capitalized to aggressively execute on our focused strategy and growth plans and believe 2016 will be a great year for the Company.”

The company has established a focused strategy on buying and selling homes and is building scalable revenue streams, demand and supply, and is also going deeper in the value chain towards facilitating and fulfilling transactions.

In addition, Housing acquired the online community for real estate India Real Estate Forum, a CRM for developers HomeBuy360, and a data analytics firm Realty Business Intelligence.

Over the last few months, Housing has been expanding its senior management team to include highly seasoned executives. The startup claims that it is now working with over 40,000 developers and agents.

The company had earlier dissolved its operations committee to keep a track on the performance and also announced that it appointed its co-founder Snehil Buxy as its new Chief Product Officer.

Also Read: Housing Recorded Revenue Of Rs 12 Crores; Loss At 22X, 279 Crores [FY14-15]

#IndianStartupData : Housing Recorded Revenue Of Rs 12 Crores; Loss At 22X, 279 Crores [FY14-15]

[Editor Notes : Nothing is as powerful as data and these articles are part of our coverage of #IndianStartupData – i.e. an overview of financial performance of selected Indian startups with a belief that it gives the audience a good picture of the companies and the ecosystem in general.]

Housing had a terrific 2015 – the company was in news for its founder/CEO, Rahul Yadav and importantly, the Lookup campaign, which was splashed all over the web and offline world.

Housing.com recorded a revenue of INR 12.7 crores in FY14-15, out of which INR 5.5 crores was revenue from operations.

Housing loss went up by 5.7X, thanks to the aggressive Lookup campaign (Housing spent close to 120 crores in advertising and promotions).

Housing Revenue
Housing Revenue

Competitor, Commonfloor in the same FY14-15 recorded a revenue of Rs. 45 crores.

housing-lookup-logo

Housing shareholding structure.

In total, Housing has raised $139.5M in 4 rounds of funding.

Since we are talking about FY14-15, the context has changed a lot after Rahul Yadav was fired. Till the financial year, he owned 5% of the company. Softbank being the majority owner (33%), Nexus @19%, Helion @9%, Qualcomm at 5% and other founders at 7.5%.

These numbers must have changed after Rahul Yadav was fired and new executive team was brought in. But the key thing that startup founders and investors should note is this:

If founding team owns ONLY 12.5% of the company (after Series B), what’s the incentive left for them to make it big/continue?

Plus, how will you make space for more senior hires?

Who calls the shots? The investor who owns ~3X of the company?

Housing’s Focus On Revenue

Housing, till FY14-15 wasn’t really focused on revenue (watch our interview with Rahul Yadav) and the revenue focus has kicked in only 3 months back.

The company has brought in Jason Kothari as the CEO, who is focusing more on revenue side of things and has also culled a few areas which weren’t core to Housing (followed by layoffs).

Competitor Commonfloor has been acquired by Quikr.

Watch our interview with Rahul Yadav when he was the CEO of Housing.

Housing Dissolves ‘Operation Committee’ Setup By Its Investors To Track Performance

Housing has decided to dissolve a committee setup by its investors, created to keep a track on management, finances and operations of the company. The development came after Jason Kothari was appointed as the new CEO.Housing

The five-member team is led by SoftBank’s Jonathan Bullock and members from the rest of Housing’s investors.

“The operating committee was constituted to help the company navigate through a difficult management transition, and ensure stability and continuity during that period,” said Ritesh Banglani, partner at Helion Ventures and board member at Housing.

The committee was created on May, a week after Rahul Yadav’s resignation from the post of CEO. Almost two months later, the board of directors decided to fire Yadav from the position and took control of the company.

“(Now) the board has complete confidence in the management to independently lead the organisation and has recommended dissolution of the operating committee,” added Banglani.

The company’s board members includes Kothari, Bullock, Banglani, Nexus Venture Partner’s Suvir Sujan and Housing’s cofounder Abhishek Anand.

Housing’s Lay Off Reel

The company has approximately laid off more than 800 employees this year only. Housing had a workforce of 2,600 employees in August before the alarming stream of layoffs continued since August.

The real-estate portal has laid off an unconfirmed number of employees this month and shifted their focus on the home-buying market.

It had also laid off 200 employees on November, and another 600 employees in August.

[Source]

Housing Lays Off More Employees, Restructures Business To Focus On Home Buying Market

Map-based real estate portal Housing is restructuring their operations to allow them to focus more on real estate transactions. The company says that the move is undertaken to widen its presence in the booming home-buying segment in India.

Housing is also reportedly laying off employees to reduce its workforce; the exact number has not been declared by the company yet.

The portal had previously laid off 200 employees this month, and another 600 employees in August.

“Housing.com will now be laser focused on solving the pain points in home buying and selling, the largest real estate segment, and we are excited about the potential impact our solutions could have on consumers, developers and agents across the country. We will be reorganizing the company to fit this new focused strategy and, to this end, expect to reduce our workforce. The Company values the contributions of its talented team and will do everything it can to support its departing team members.” said Jason Kothari, CEO, Housing. [Source]

Housing Appoints Jason Kothari as Chief Executive Officer

Housing.com has appointmented Jason Kothari as its new Chief Executive Officer. Kothari, who joined in the capacity of Chief Business Officer in August of this year, has been unanimously appointed by the Board of Directors today.

Since August, Jason has played an instrumental role on a number of key initiatives, including establishing a strong senior management team for the company by hiring Chief Financial Officer Mani Rangarajan, General Counsel Nandini Mehta, and Chief Marketing Officer Nikhil Rungta, a strategic partnership with MCHI and CREDAI, India’s largest real estate developer body, the launch of first-of-its-kind product BRAND FALCON, among others.

“Housing.com is one of those rare companies that has the potential to impact millions of people in their journey of buying, selling and renting homes. I am honoured that the Board has entrusted me with the responsibility of leading this dynamic company.  We have built a world-class product and highly talented team, and it’s now time to rapidly progress towards our mission to build a world-class company,” said Jason Kothari, Chief Executive Officer, Housing.com.

Prior to joining Housing.com, Jason was the co-founder & CEO of Valiant Entertainment, where he led the successful acquisition and turnaround of former $65 million unit of video game company Acclaim Entertainment, which owns and controls a library of popular entertainment characters, resulting in a 50x company value increase and global media recognition calling the company “Marvel 2.0”.  The Company raised over $300 million from leading strategic investors like the former CEO of Marvel and Chinese media conglomerate DMG Entertainment.

Housing Acquihires Plat & Big BHK; Strengthens Its Supply Side Portfolio

Housing has announced 2 acqui-hires with Plat, an online network for agents enabling them to share real estate inventories and requirements and BigBHK a property management software (PMS) targeted at rental suppliers, strengthening its supply product portfolio.

With these acqui-hires, Housing.com acquires quality talent from premier institutions such as IIT Delhi and BITS Pilani including Chitransh Sahai, Gautam Prem Jain, Ayush Lodhi and Ankit Aggarwal from Plat and Ankur Kumar and Atul Yadav from BigBHK.

With Plat, Housing.com strengthens its technology know-how to better cater to the needs of the agent community. This will help drive efficiencies in communications and operations such as posting leads and enhancing property showcase experience, thereby closing deals faster.

BigBHK empowers its partners to manage their property portfolios with a comprehensive web based property management solution.  Using BigBHK’s technology software, partners can streamline their realty lifecycle encompassing rental accounting, e-Invoicing, record management, complaint tracking, reports, inventory management and much more.

From an end consumer’s standpoint, BigBHK provides tenants access to a free platform to raise complaints, track rent dues and maintenance amount on a monthly basis. BigBHK runs successful operations across Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune and is soon foraying into Chennai.

 

Housing Acquires HomeBuy360 for $2 Million

Housing.com has acquired HomeBuy360, a unique cloud based Sales Lifecycle Management Platform that connects developers, agents and buyers for a sum of $2 Million.

The deal was closed for a sum of $2 million towards purchase of 100% equity of HomeBuy360 (HB360), making Housing  the only online real estate listing platform to own a developer CRM company.

Leveraging this unique platform, developers and agents can streamline the entire sales lifecycle, by tracking inventory, managing customer relations and in effect drive efficiencies in their sale operations. This will help reduce costs for 20,000+ developers in the realty ecosystem. This acquisition will also fortify Housing.com’s Data Science Lab (DSL) with rich data on inventory and transactions in the real estate sector.

Earlier this year, Housing.com had acquired Indian Real Estate Forum (IREF), a platform providing unbiased property information to consumers and Realty BI to empower property buyers and financial institutions to assess risks and take informed decisions.

 

Housing Crosses 1mn Verified Property Listings Milestone

Online real estate portal Housing has announced that it has crossed 1 million verified property listings milestone on its Rent and Resale sections.

The company has collected data for over 100 crore square feet across the country in the three years since its inception. 50% of this data has been collected in the last 6 months.

Housing data

Housing employs an intricate property verification process that involves data collection, data quality and processing.

The Housing team collects about 90 fields of information about each property listing including location, no. of rooms, amenities, and high-resolution photos.

The company also passes on the data to its Data Science Lab (DSL) which constructs data driven methodologies to compare homes.

Further, the DSL studies the demand and supply of properties in different cities to create algorithms and simple graphic representation for the same.

Housing To Layoff As Many As 600 Employees In Three Months

Online realty portal Housing will apparently layoff 600 employees over the next three months as it looks to impede cash burn and focus on building core technology.

The Housing board, which after months of chaos decided to fire former CEO and co-founder Rahul Yadav, is now undertaking a massive restructuring of the company and scrutinizing the performance of employees across departments.

The three-year-old company currently employs 2,600 people and is laying off a big chunk of its workforce due to the shutting down of non-core businesses, underperformance and overstaffing.

Housing has increased focus on revenue generation and in building on advertising business. Since Rahul Yadav’s departure, the company has shut down its commercial spaces, short stays and land businesses apart from ceasing operations in smaller towns.

It is estimated that 160 of the planned 600 layoffs will come from shutting down of businesses and from locations where it has shut operations.

Housing COO Rishabh Gupta Becomes Interim CEO

Online property portal Housing has named its chief operating officer Rishabh Gupta as interim CEO a week after co-founder Rahul Yadav was fired from the post.

housing-lookup-logo

Gupta’s appointment as CEO is as off immediately said Jonathan Bullock, SoftBank’s representative on Housing’s board, in a company-wide email.

A former Flipkart employee, Gupta has apparently been running Housing for the past few months in the midst of the turmoil created by the battle between Rahul Yadav and Housing’s investors.

Haresh Chawla, the firm’s first angel investor, Abhishek Anand CFO and Rishabh Gupta will join the operating committee.

Going forward, the company will look to mitigate the damage that’s been done and tackle issues such as being hacked in protest of Rahul Yadav’s departure.

The company has to once again focus on growth in the burgeoning online real estate space in India and in the meantime find a suitable candidate to fill Rahul Yadav’s shoes.