This Bengaluru-based real estate search portal connects flat owners and tenants directly with each other. The best part, it does not charge any brokerage from either party.
House hunting can be a stressful exercise in any big Indian city. First, it is difficult to find a nice house, in a good location, at a decent cost. Even if you do manage to get a property at a prime location, which is in close proximity to your place of work, or which is well-connected—you end up paying a hefty amount as brokerage to your property dealer, in addition to sky-rocketing rentals. Sometimes even after paying a high commission, you may just land yourself in a pigeon-hole. Brokers, agents and middlemen are a perennial pain when it comes to finding, renting, buying or selling a house. Here is where a niche Bengaluru-based start-up is trying to make a difference. NoBroker.com is an online platform that helps individuals find residences without the help of brokers. The backbone of the platform is a highly sophisticated technology, with the algorithm designed to keep the broker out of the system. When a new customer registers on the site, the algorithm works in the background and validates the user. “The idea of NoBroker was conceptualised in late 2013 and the website was launched in March 2014,” says Akhil Gupta, CTO, NoBroker, who co-founded the start-up along with Amit Kumar Agarwal and Saurabh Garg.
“We offer a platform for home-seekers and home-owners to connect without having to deal with middlemen. Our venture ensures that properties on the site are genuine by verifying each listing for its content, photo, location, and broker-free ownership.” Gupta believes that a tech-based platform such as NoBroker can revolutionise the house-hunting experience for customers. Prior to launching NoBroker.com, he had spent almost a decade developing and managing software development team at Oracle. “Today, NoBroker is the world’s largest online real estate ecosystem with over 2.6 million genuine registered customers.” The idea for NoBroker originated from the realisation that customers have been paying brokerage year-on-year without seeing any benefit. The only reason the broker existed was that there was a huge information asymmetry in the market. NoBroker removes this information asymmetry and provides a marketplace for free exchange of this information.
NoBroker is now operational in five cities. As of now, NoBroker is particularly targeting the Tier-I cities and is looking to enter into the Tier 2 cities and towns soon. The platform expects to be profitable over the next 15-18 months, aiming to capture over 50% market share in the rental segment within the next five years. While it received Series A funding of $3 million from SAIF Partners and Fulcrum Ventures, Series B funding of $17 million came in from BEENOS, KTB Ventures Digital Garage, SAIF Partners, BEENEXT, Qualgro, and Mamoru Taniya of Asuka Asset Management. Gupta informs that developing other verticals like residential resale, commercial rental, etc., is also in the pipeline. “NoBroker.com’s vision is to help people start saving at least `100 crore in brokerage every month in two years which currently stands at `25 crore per month.”
Continuing to innovate, NoBroker has introduced certain features to make home search easy. For instance, interested customers in the city can make their home renting decision based on the time taken for one to commute from their home to the work place. Apart from providing the foodie index and lifestyle scores, the platform will also provide the much needed commute score based on peak time and non-peak time data analysis. To encourage the ecosystem to become self-sustainable, the NoBroker mobile app has started what it claims to be the world’s largest crowdsourcing of owner listings. “Many homeowners use “To-let” boards to look for tenants without the help of an agent. Anybody can click this picture on the app and get rewarded with Rs 100 on successful listing of the property. Gupta reveals, “Our ‘Click and Earn’ feature is hugely successful and contributes 25% of the listings on NoBroker platform.”