Real estate listing portal Housing.com, owned and operated by Mumbai-based Locon Solutions Pvt Ltd, has secured $90 million in fresh funding, led by Japanese telecom and internet giant SoftBank Corp., with participation from New York-based hedge fund Falcon Edge Capital and existing investors.
Softbank invested the capital through SoftBank Internet and Media, Inc (SIMI), a new unit created a few weeks ago with Nikesh Arora as its head. Arora, a former top honcho at Google, was roped in by SoftBank chief Masayoshi Son to lead investments in the internet domain.
With the new round, total funds raised by Housing so far have crossed $121 million.
Housing will use the fresh capital to map over 40 million houses across 300 cities in India, in addition to providing ‘on’ and ‘off’ buttons to home owners and agents that will convert all the curated house database into assets for Housing.com and can be reactivated when they are again available in the market.
“Ever since we started the company, we had a huge vision to help millions of people struggling to find real estate that meets their requirements perfectly. We have put in all our focus into building great products and mapping every single house in the country on the platform,” said Advitiya Sharma, co-founder of Housing.
Housing was set up in 2012 by a dozen IITians out of which three have quit the firm. The portal enables real estate brokers to upload unlimited listings on the site while users can search properties for free. Housing currently has 30 IIT graduates on board.
Lately, the firm has been expanding its services to new segments. It has recently added Slice View technology which is an augmented reality feature to its homes-booking feature. It has also added a new feature to it platform that enables users to create and customise their rental agreements online besides a loan application feature.
The firm recently added 12 more cities to its platform, including Ahmedabad, Indore, Jaipur, Thiruvananthapuram, Visakhapatnam, Nashik, Vadodara, Mangalore, Trivandarum, Surat, Mohali and Vijayawada to take the total city count to 25. The company claims to have mapped over 80,000 houses in Mumbai, and over 50,000 houses in Bangalore to date.
About four months ago, Housing had raised $19 million in funding from Helion Venture Partners, Nexus Venture Partners and Qualcomm Ventures. Previously, it had raised $2.5 million in its pre-Series A funding from Nexus. Earlier, it had attracted two rounds of angel funding.
“The Housing team has a great vision and deep insight into what it takes to build great products, and transform the way people research and transact in real estate,” said Arora.
Online real estate space in India
Indian online property search market is highly-crowded, with players like 99acres.com, IndianProperty.com, Makaan.com, Magicbricks.com, CommonFloor.com and Proptiger.com competing with each other. Most of these firms have already raised millions of dollars in funding over the last couple of years.
Recently, Info Edge’s 99acres.com raised $125 million via QIP. According to an Info Edge spokesperson, the company is anticipating online real estate players to raise about $300 million in the next three years from PE/VC investors. The online classifieds segment in the real estate sector is worth Rs 300 crore as of now.
Another firm Bangalore-based maxHeap Technologies Pvt Ltd, which owns real estate and apartment management portal CommonFloor.com, had secured $30 million (Rs 181 crore) in Series E round of funding from existing investor Tiger Global Management.
In April this year, Gurgaon-based real estate broking portal IndiaHomes.com had raised Rs 150 crore ($24.9 million) from New Enterprise Associates (NEA), with participation from existing investors Helion Venture Partners and Foundation Capital.
Mumbai-based Avendus Capital advised Housing on the latest deal.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)