Mumbai-based Fittr Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs an online rental property listing and management venture Azuro.in, has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from early stage investors White Unicorn Ventures, Kae Capital, and Mumbai Angels.
Azuro said it will be utilizing the funds to expand its operations across Mumbai and in building its technology.
Azuro was founded in January this year by a team of IIT Bombay alumni – Ayush Agrawal, Altaf Ahmad, Sudhanshu Mishra, Vishal Chauthmal and Sushant Kumar. Agrawal was an investment banker, while Ahmad worked as a management consultant for two years. Chauthmal and Kumar had started a venture prior to Azuro.
The firm finds tenants, takes care of a house’s maintenance and tenant issues, undertakes periodic inspections, and repair work as required. It views the business from the property owners point of view, high networth individuals and non-resident Indians being the prime target of the firm. They don’t charge anything from the tenant, but charge 15 days’ rent from the owner to find a tenant and 4% of rent is charged every month as maintenance fee of the asset.
“The Indian real estate market is expected to touch $180 billion by 2020. The housing sector alone contributes 5-6 per cent to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). And hence we felt that making an investment in Azuro was the right choice,” said Rohit Chokhani, Principal Founder, White Unicorn Ventures, in a statement.
“Multi-home owners especially NRIs today rely on their relatives back home to take care of the property and because of these hassles, many end up keeping their properties unused,” said Agrawal, co-founder of Azuro. This is where Azuro as a property finder comes in.
White Unicorn Ventures is planning to invest around $20 million in early-stage start-ups this year. It has invested in 15 companies which include Routofy, Shaadisaga, Justride, Unstockify, Hostelhousing, Lerner, Carcrew amongst others.
The other prominent players in the managed home rental marketplace segment are Nestaway, Zocalo and Homigo.
Nestaway had raised around $30 million (around 200 crore) in a Series C financing led by Tiger Global, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and IDG Ventures India last month in addition to raising an undisclosed amount in funding from Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata in February this year. It had raised Rs 76 crore (approximately $12 million) in funding from e-commerce firm Flipkart and its investor Tiger Global in June 2013.
Zocalo’s CoHo Stayz, a tech platform that offers managed apartments and villas in the Delhi-NCR region for long stays, had raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from startup accelerator GSF’s Rajesh Sawhney, MakeMyTrip co-founder Sachin Bhatia and others in August last year.
In July, Bangalore-based SimplyMoveIn Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which operates online marketplace for curated rental properties SimplyMoveIn, has raised an undisclosed amount in angel funding from Hong Kong-based investment firm Swastika Company Ltd.
Homigo recently tweaked its business model to become a managed marketplace as it seeks to expand its services to low-demand areas and reduce risks related to low occupancy.
The Indian online realty market has a number of players including 99acres, MagicBricks, PropTiger, Quikr, Housing.com and IndiaProperty. Online property broker PropTiger that acquired makaan.com to also add rental property listings to its business, is part-owned by News Corp, the parent of this news website.
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