Mumbai-based Locon Solutions Pvt Ltd, the company behind real estate listing portal Housing.com, has acquired online property related discussion platform Indian Real Estate Forum for $1.2 million (Rs 8 crore) in an all cash deal, according to sources close to the development.
The acquisition will help Housing.com get access to user generated content that can help home buyers make informed choices.
Pursuant to the deal, Ravish Naresh, co-founder of Housing.com, will be in charge of the Indian Real Estate Forum which will run as a standalone venture. The company has about three employees who will join Housing.com.
The development was first reported by The Economic Times.
“We plan to introduce a section in the platform called "Ask me anything" on (IREF) which will attempt to answer any queries related to projects, brokers and builders," the report stated quoting a spokesman for Housing.
An email sent to Housing.com spokesperson seeking further details of the transaction did not immediately elicit a response.
IREF was founded in 2012 by Rahul Dutt. The site gives information such as new projects, developers, localities, brokers and plots that helps buyers gather information before making the purchase. It is, however, known for holding user-generated but moderated discussions on topics largely related to properties, development status, pricing, market trends, etc.
It claims of having a base of about 1.5 lakh active users.
Housing.com has been looking to buy other ventures related to its business. Last month, VCCircle had first reported that it is in advanced talks to acquire real estate analytics firm PropEquity for Rs 80 crore.
Housing.com is one of the heavily funded companies in the space and had recently secured $90 million in funding led by Japanese telecom and internet giant SoftBank Corp., with participation from New York-based hedge fund Falcon Edge Capital and existing investors.
Prior to that, it had raised $19 million from Helion Venture Partners, Nexus Venture Partners and Qualcomm Ventures and $2.5 million in its pre-Series A funding from Nexus. Earlier, it had also attracted two rounds of angel funding.
News Corp owns 25 per cent in PropTiger, another online property portal which competes with Housing.com. News Corp acquired the parent company of this news website in March 2015.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)