Wish to build sustainable real estate matching evolving consumer sentiments: Ankit Kansal

In an exclusive interview with FE Online, Mr Ankit Kansal, Founder & MD, Axon Developers, talks about his new venture and shares his business outlook.

After floundering during the pandemic, the housing market in India is once again on an upcycle.

Axon Developers has set its sights on expanding its footprint in North India’s real estate market. Promoted by Ankit Kansal, a serial entrepreneur, Axon is presently working on a couple of coveted projects in Gurgaon Sec-91 and Noida, respectively. In the next 12 months, the developer is eyeing four more projects in Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, and Lucknow with an aggregate value of Rs 2100 crore.

In an exclusive interview with Sanjeev Sinha, Mr Kansal, Founder & MD, Axon Developers, talks about his new venture and shares his business outlook. Excerpts:

At a time when many developers are reeling under the pressure of declining revenue and the growing challenge of unsold inventories, what inspired you to start Axon Developers?

Recent proliferation in unsold inventories does not connote muted demand in the market. High inventory overhang is primarily the consequence of poor financial management and unbridled greed rather than any substantive demand destruction in the market.

The present demand is healthy, marked by growth in the economy. Our economy did fall prey to the pandemic but it has made a commendable recovery in the recent quarters, bucking the earlier prognosis made by the doomsayers.

The underlying structural demand drivers in the market are strong and conducive for the long term. India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and poised for long-term growth. We are a young and dynamic nation with a median age of the workforce at around 28. Over 800 million Indians are aged below 35 and housing is going to be the top agenda for them.

How will Axon operate? What is the key philosophy behind Axon? How do you want to create value in an industry which is already cluttered with the competition?

Axon will operate in residential, retail, and commercial categories. The company has a footprint across the entire value chain from project acquisition to project planning to development. We will also be involved in land development.

Axon is created to develop community-based sustainable real estate in the country. With Axon, we do not wish to be one more developer, knowing already that this space is already overcrowded. Rather we wish to build sustainable real estate matching evolving consumer sentiments. We wish to put the spotlight on the idea of community living; wherein layers of meaningful social interaction, entertainment, and a healthy lifestyle are built around the idea of community.

Additionally, we are also highly committed to the safety and convenience of our consumers and are adopting the best possible industry practices and robust technologies to fulfil that goal. In a nutshell, our offerings reflect enriching social values integrated with uncompromised security and personal safety.

What are the current projects you are working on? What kind of pipeline are you looking at?

Presently, Axon is involved in two coveted projects in Delhi-NCR. We will be investing close to Rs 300 crore in these two projects.

We have joined hands with Manish Buildwell to co-develop a new-age retail project, namely, Gallexie 91, spread across 3.75 acres, comprising a gross GLA of 3.5 lacs sq. ft. Gallexie 91 will adopt cutting-edge technology prowess and architectural designs to offer a truly experiential and highly engaging retail experience to shoppers.

We have also entered into a development agreement to complete Keltech Kumar Imperial Greens, comprising of 350 apartments, located in Noida Extension.

In terms of pipeline, we have a rich pipeline of four more projects, located in Noida, Delhi, Gurgaon, and Lucknow. Talks are currently in advanced stages and as soon as something materializes, we will apprise the media about them.

What is your hiring strategy for Axon? Is it not a little challenging to build a team from scratch for a new business venture?

Hiring for Axon is going on in full swing. We have already hired site engineers, projects managers, architects, IT & technology resources, supervising staff, and other support personnel. Simultaneously, we are building a prolific sales team for Axon. Already the senior leadership has been hired for sales, while recruitment is ongoing for other profiles.

Of course, building a team from scratch is never very easy and simplified. You hire manpower following a rigorous mapping process to find the right fit between the desired organizational objective and the available skillset.

Meanwhile, hiring and building a mission-critical team has been one of my fortes, something that has been practiced over and over in my 20 years of career as an entrepreneur. In the past we have ideated, started, and scaledup a host of businesses in retail, lifestyle, real estate, home furnishing, buying agency, etc. The rich experience that our entrepreneurial journey has given to us is now coming in handy in terms of building yet another new team.

With Axon, what kind of topline are you looking at? Can you highlight a bit about the financials?

At this point, we can’t talk much about the financials. However, with the two projects in our kitty, we are eyeing a gross revenue of Rs 650 crore. Meanwhile, by the next financial year, we will hit a gross revenue of around Rs 1500 crore.

How do you think real estate in India will evolve? Can you shed some light on the same?

After floundering during the pandemic, the housing market in India is once again on an upcycle. Besides population and favorable demography, the residential market in India will also be a party to huge pent-up demand. Overall, these are conducive times for the developer fraternity.

Meanwhile, to succeed in the market and gain a competitive advantage, it is also essential to understand our most vital stakeholder- “The Customer”. In the last few quarters, the dynamics have changed drastically and there is a visible shift in homebuyers’ needs. Buyers’ pockets have deepened to spend and invest. However, they need value.

Homebuyers need safe, secured, and enriching living. They need personal space but simultaneously also require to be part of thriving communities. Urban dwellers want modern amenities but proximity to nature is also equally desirable. Developers and construction companies need to understand the evolving patterns thoroughly. Failure to do so will backfire badly.

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