Housing.com gets $15M more from SoftBank

Realty portal Housing.com said on Thursday it has raised Rs 100 crore (about $15 million) in fresh capital from lead investor SoftBank Corp, a little more than a year after the company last secured venture funding.

VCCircle had first reported last October that the Japanese telecom and internet conglomerate would soon pump in more money into Housing.com, which is run by Locon Solutions Pvt Ltd. Housing.com was initially seeking around $35 million in fresh funding from SoftBank but it has now settled for a far lower amount.

This is the first round of funding since the startup's board sacked co-founder and former CEO Rahul Yadav over an open feud with investors, media and other entrepreneurs. Before the latest funding round, the three-year-old startup had raised $120 million but burnt a lot of money on unbridled expansion and marketing under Yadav.

After Yadav’s exit, the investors tasked new CEO Jason Kothari to stabilise the company. Kothari, who joined the company in August last year and became CEO in November, has scaled down Housing.com’s operations. The company shut down some businesses, decided to focus only on online property sale, withdrew from many cities and cut its workforce from around 2,000 to a little below 1,200.

Kothari said in a statement that the company is now “well-capitalized to aggressively execute” its strategy and growth plans.

According to a person familiar with the development, who didn’t wish to be named, the company has reduced its cash burn and the fresh funding would be enough for four to five months.

The funding comes right after a big consolidation move in the segment earlier this month when online classifieds listing firm Quikr bought CommonFloor to strengthen its real estate vertical. There is talk also about a possible merger move between online marketplace Snapdeal and Housing.com, both backed by SoftBank. If the merger does not happen, Housing.com will have to look for other alternatives. 

Housing.com competes with MagicBricks and 99acres, besides a host of others including PropTiger. News Corp, which owns 30 per cent of PropTiger, acquired Mosaic Media Ventures Pvt Ltd, the parent of this website last March. 

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