Rahul Yadav doesn’t have a house of his own. He lives in a rented apartment, in Powai, Mumbai, that he says he found using his own web site housing.com. And he claims to have no assets whatsoever outside of the shares he declared he will be gifting to the employess of the company he founded less than three years ago. “I don’t like money. Money is not what gives me a kick. I like the idea of creating money,” says the 26-year-old CEO of one of Housing.com.
Beginning with an abusive email to a senior executive of a venture capital firm invested in his fledgling enterprise, to his sudden resignation over an email in which he again hurled insults at seasoned investors who have bet more than $120 million in his start-up and the latest declaration that he will give away all his shares as stock options to the employees of his firm, Yadav has been on a news making spree in the past few months. His repeated misdemeanours aside, Housing.com, the site Yadav set up in 2012, has only bled money so far. Forget profits, it has yet to clock in any revenues. His investors that include global biggies such as Japan’s Softbank, Nexus Venture, Helion Venture, and Falconedge, among a few others, however, have chosen to stand behind him at least for now. Refusing to be drawn into any of the “mindless” controversies, Yadav, describes himself as a “logical, straight-shooter” who thinks “originally” and is only interested in “doing my work”. “Most people do not have anything worthwhile to do. I am not like those losers,” he says.
He claims to have made a dent in the Indian market already where he was a late entrant, coming in almost 7-8 years after rivals like Magicbricks.com and 99acres.com. Besides innovative design, a high-decibel marketing campaign on which the company reportedly splurged around Rs 100 crore also helped it build a presence. “Today, we are twice the size of the so-called veterans like Magicbricks and 99acres,” claims Yadav.
Yadav claims that in April, his site had more than 11 million visitors as opposed to 6 million and 4.5 million of Magicbricks and 99acres, respectively. “We began by listing 1,000 houses a day. Till recently we were listing about 5,000 properties and in about 10 days, this number will double,” says Yadav asserting that by the end of 2015, close to 40 lakh houses will be listed on his site and in three to four years, “all the houses in the country will be listed on our site.”
“A similar exercise will soon be underway in some other international markets,” he says adding that besides listing houses, housing.com plans to offer an entire range of real estate services to customers.
Brought up in small town called Khairtal in Rajasthan, Yadav says building an enterprise was never his dream. But wasn’t he about to abandon this pursuit a few weeks ago? “Well, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world for me. After all people told me I had ruined my future after I dropped out of the final year of IIT but here I am at the helm of a successful venture. I am sure I will again build something big if I were to drop everything and start afresh,” he says.
By Archana Shukla