Sumit Jain, CEO and CoFounder at CommonFloor.com takes us through his journey to build CommonFloor in his interview to The Asian Entrepreneur (TAE) magazine. TAE is an international business monthly publication that documents leading developments in business industries across Asia. The magazine focuses on the Asian start up ecosystem by interviewing business individuals and entrepreneurs operating in Asia. Don’t miss the tips and advice that he offers to the aspiring entrepreneurs.
In your own words what is CommonFloor.com?
In simplistic terms, CommonFloor is ‘the answer’ to all your property related queries. CommonFloor.com, is India’s leading real estate platform that combines property search, apartment management and vendor management and caters to a person’s complete residential requirements.
From searching for an apartment to facilitating interactions within an apartment community on the ‘CommonFloor’ platform, to connecting one to relevant service providers, the platform is dedicated to meeting all aspects of consumers’ needs around their home. With over 5 lakh active property listings from over 200 cities, it has over 1 lakh residential projects listed with it. CommonFloor.com has been funded by Accel Partners, Tiger Global and Google Capital.
How did you come up with the idea of CommonFloor.com?
The sole aim behind the inception of CommonFloor was to provide property seekers with a platform where they don’t have to use just the traditional ways of finding a property and making the online house hunting much simpler and hassle-free. The idea is to help property seekers reduce the time spent looking for properties that match their requirements and help them make effective decision with the best deals available.
Could you walk us through the process of starting up CommonFloor.com?
It all started when we (the three co-founders of CommonFloor.com – Sumit Jain, Lalit Mangal & Vikas Malpani) came to Bangalore in 2007. Initially, the three of us individually faced lot of challenges in finding the right accommodation. Finally when we did find something, a host of other issues began coming up. One of the biggest problems the apartment complex we were living in was facing was a major sewage blockage. This issue wasn’t getting resolved since very few residents knew each other or had any sort of co-ordination amongst themselves.
Privy to these problems, the three of us decided to create a way to bring people on a common floor or a single platform and hence the idea for CommonFloor.com was born. It was a challenge initially to get communities on board and we had to come up with several iterations to get the product right. We also had to keep the product flexible enough to accommodate different priorities of different communities while still ensuring a good user experience for all. The real confidence came when the communities that adopted us in the beginning started to see real value in our product, appreciated our efforts and even partnered with us in improving it. That is when we started believing that CommonFloor.com will work.
Did you encounter any particular difficulties during start-up and if so, how did you guys overcome it?
Our focus has always been on empowering people to realize their property dreams. We aim at providing users with the latest technology giving them a thorough analysis of the property which will eventually help them make an efficient decision. When you are starting off, there are a set of challenges that needs to be taken care of. Creating a brand from the scratch is a time-consuming process and sustaining it, nurturing it is a different challenge altogether. Of course, you need to get like-minded and passionate employees which is another challenge. I am proud to inform you that, today, we have built a great team of over 1000 employees and our constant endeavour is to get the best of talent work with us.
How have you been developing CommonFloor.com since start-up?
As a new-age online realty player, technology and innovation are part of our core DNA. Property buying demands huge time and financial investment by the buyer and it is our constant endeavour to create tools and technology that makes property search easy for the consumer and gives them a wow experience. CommonFloor Retina is a result of one such quest that adapts technology smartly to the consumer’s advantage.
CommonFloor Retina is the world’s first virtual reality innovation in real estate that is available to the masses. This technological breakthrough offers ‘real’ property experience for the seekers allowing them to view/review/assess multiple properties from anywhere at any point of time.
Being a technology-driven company, we always have thrived to help property seekers reduce the time spent looking for properties that match their requirements and help them make effective decision with the best deals available.
As amazing as it sounds, today, property seekers can get a look and feel of a property even before it is constructed and that too from the comfort of their own home.
What kind of feedback did you get for CommonFloor.com so far?
The fact that we are backed by the best in the industry is a testimony of the fact that we must be doing something and is an assurance that we are moving in the right direction. Our technology-driven approach helps us to lead the online real-estate sector in its journey to further enhance user experience. We have increased our revenue by 100% in last six months and have 7 million visits every month. We, already, have mapped 10 million homes and certainly aspire to have every single available property listed on our portal. Our team strength has grown from 3, when we started in 2007 to 180 in 2012 to over 1000 this fiscal year so far. This team is constantly working to equip the users with the right knowledge and innovative tools that help them trust us and make us their preferred real estate portal.
Read the complete article here