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FEATURES/30 Under 30 | Feb 12, 2014 | 38838 views

Housing.Com: Born Out of its Founders House Hunt

Rahul Yadav, Advitiya Sharma and 10 other co-founders of Housing.com needed a simple tool to find housing after they graduated. So they built one
Housing.Com: Born Out of its Founders House Hunt
Image: Manoj Patil for Forbes India
Rahul Yadav (left)and Advitiya Sharma at their Powai office

CATEGORY: E-COMMERCE

Every time Suvir Sajan, co-founder of Nexus Venture Partners, leaves the Mumbai office of Housing.com, he has a smile. “I get emails from them at 5 am in the morning,” says Sajan about one of his investee start-ups. Not that he is complaining. “They know what they’re doing and that’s refreshing to see.” This is high praise from someone who has invested in startups like Snapdeal.com and Olx.in. “I know I’m biased, but I’d go so far as saying they are a poster child for the new India.”  

Speak to Rahul Yadav, Housing.com’s CEO and you realise why. The 24-year-old from Alwar, Rajasthan, wasn’t the finest, academically: He ranked 20th in a class of 30 in his Class 10 exams. Then a sarcastic comment from his uncle about his grades changed his life. In his Class 12 board exams, Yadav topped Rajasthan in physics-chemistry-maths, based on which he got a 75 percent scholarship for preparing for IIT-JEE. He became class representative in his second year at IIT Bombay and, later, secretary of its student association. As part of his election manifesto, he had to create a question bank from old exam papers. This sparked his technopreneurial bug and he built the popular Exambaba.com.  

But Yadav wasn’t a techie, so he started coding from scratch. “If you’re sincere at IIT, you can get good grades. You don’t need to be really smart,” he says. “It was my first coding project; that’s where I became interested in the online space.”
The institute even made Exambaba the official IIT-B archive before eventually shutting it. But Yadav had learnt his lesson: If something doesn’t exist, build it yourself, and if it doesn’t work, move on.

After a brief internship in Israel, he returned to build apps for Google Chrome. And then, in his final year, he dropped out of IIT. “If things aren’t working, I can write them off,” he says disparagingly. “The problem with Indian start-ups is that people spend years on the same ideas that just don’t work!” He says his parents still don’t know he has dropped out. (And “thank god they don’t read Forbes!”)

Co-founder Advitiya Sharma, 24, another self-professed small-town boy (from Jammu) and Housing’s chief marketing officer, had been warned about the difficulty of finding a house after graduating. When he and Yadav started contacting brokers they realised how limited the information on online listed properties was; they also realised how good the money in Mumbai’s real estate brokerage business was.

They eventually took a house in Powai, close to the IIT-B campus. “Many people from IIT-B were taking houses there,” says Yadav. That’s also when they figured out that since they had a good network of prospective clients among their IIT friends and batchmates, they might as well become brokers. “The money was good. We were making Rs 1-2 lakh a month,” he says.

But to go national as brokers for residential properties would require extensive local knowledge, which they did not have. So they shifted business models: From broking to classifieds, and Housing.co.in was born in 2012.

This article appeared in the Forbes India magazine issue of 21 February, 2014
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Comments (9)
Shriganeshkrupa Apr 11, 2014
Thanks for the blog,it is very informative,Being a property consultant in Thane i can say that, it a very nice idea,and very much up to date form of doing business
Raja T Feb 20, 2014
GOOD SITE I VISITED, AND RECOMENDED TOO, BUT AUTHOR MUST KNOW THAT AFTER SALES REPORT AND AGENTS FEEDBACK AND OTHER SERVICE ORIENTED TO CONSIDER , I READ ONE OF THE AGENT NAME ARJUN EXPERIENCE .. SHARING AGAIN
I'm an agent who has subscribed to housing. Writing here hoping that this message gets across to the ceo because no employee or customer care works

Kindly get your house in order
Kindly check your Attrition rate
Inspite of being a paid member for over six months i get calls every week asking to become a paid member of housing
The employees dont even know whom they are calling
Strangely there is no email id provided to us to give feedback
The search options is horrible
99% of the listed owners don't call back
Tele marketers are using their database and keep calling me for becoming a agent for home loans
Calling at 3:30 on Sundays and holidays asking to post properties is Sad. last time i blasted the lady on the phone as it was happening again and again
Leads being sent to me - required house in bandra budget 3000...drivers and helps in khar danda (slums) pay more
i haven't asked for leads
For all the angst against agents they keep calling us as we pay the subscription fees ..sleeping with the enemy strategy perhaps
CEO Founders blah blah...even i'm an entreprenuer i had recommended your website on our fellow agents google groups but that was before i became a paid member and actually availed all the above services (issues) provided by you


Read more: http://forbesindia.com/article/30-under-30/housing.com-born-out-of-its-founders-house-hunt/37151/1#ixzz2toD2zoOL
Ram Feb 17, 2014
Nice effort, but yet to see how they make money. What are their current revenues?
Response to Ram:
Arjun Feb 18, 2014
they take money from agents who wish to upload their data...same as any other website
Indiantrader Feb 16, 2014
How were these guys able to get the domain housing.com , must have cost a fortune
Arjun Feb 15, 2014
I'm an agent who has subscribed to housing. Writing here hoping that this message gets across to the ceo because no employee or customer care works

Kindly get your house in order
Kindly check your Attrition rate
Inspite of being a paid member for over six months i get calls every week asking to become a paid member of housing
The employees dont even know whom they are calling
Strangely there is no email id provided to us to give feedback
The search options is horrible
99% of the listed owners don't call back
Tele marketers are using their database and keep calling me for becoming a agent for home loans
Calling at 3:30 on Sundays and holidays asking to post properties is Sad. last time i blasted the lady on the phone as it was happening again and again
Leads being sent to me - required house in bandra budget 3000...drivers and helps in khar danda (slums) pay more
i haven't asked for leads
For all the angst against agents they keep calling us as we pay the subscription fees ..sleeping with the enemy strategy perhaps
CEO Founders blah blah...even i'm an entreprenuer i had recommended your website on our fellow agents google groups but that was before i became a paid member and actually availed all the above services (issues) provided by you
Shantilal Lakariya Feb 14, 2014
These guys are very inspiring. Yes people today want simple tool to find desired property. I too run small property website for nashik city named as www.nashikproperty.com, that helps people to find desired property in nashik. My aim is same as these guys, so i always get boosted with their articles. Thanks.
Subodh Feb 13, 2014
amazing! all the best for future.
Rahul Kumar Feb 12, 2014
its always being boosted to listen d story of young.:)
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