Start-up: F is the word – Sumit Jain speaks on how start-up’s take birth and sustain in an exclusive with Financial Express

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A start-up birth needs at least three Fs. The first is Friends, who back you with brain and seed money. Then comes the Family, which, according to CommonFloor co-founder & CEO Sumit Jain, should be tapped but discarded soon (their money is good, but advice isn’t) . Then come Fools; the people who are inspired enough to risk joining you.

Once these three Fs are in place, the rest will fall in place. “We never scouted for investments. Investments happened over coffee”, says Sumit, an IIT Roorkee grad who chucked an Oracle job to follow his business instincts.

Techies Sumit, Lalit Mangal and Vikas Malpani are aiming to redraw the property search market with an ace device named Retina—basically a cardboard headgear that costs just Rs.500. When placed over a mobile, Retina “allows you to view, review and assess multiple properties from anywhere”, eliminating the need for physical checks to decide on a property.

“Typically it takes 12 months, 72 hours of search and 300km of travel to finalise a property”, claims Sumit. But with Commonfloor, which also has video view of properties on its website, hundreds of properties can be viewed sitting at home or office. And property dealers, buyers and renters are loving that comfort.

The company now covers around 1,000 housing projects and 4,000 properties in 200 cities, with plans to expand these numbers rapidly to hit revenues of $1 billion by 2020.

In the Commonfloor business model, its services (like videographing properties) to buyers and sellers are free. It only charges property dealers for every enquiry they get through its website. “We charge only for lead, because that is the only thing we can track”, says Sumit.

But the start-up co-founders aren’t much bothered about the money part. Their thrill is in changing the market, innovating and growing the company. “We are the first to do Retina in the world… we’re innovating a lot. We have some 130 data points about buying properties. We’re educating the buyers..We’re thinking of how to bring every household to Commonfloor. We’re visionaries”, Sumit is excited.

When the three friends left their jobs, Commonfloor was not the goal. They only wanted to create technology-led new markets. They had Rs.1 lakh each, just enough to last a year. Midway they ran out of money, then they created app for a company to ride the storm. “We realised early that money is neither the problem nor the solution. Passion, courage, conviction, can you be there, can you stand there and make sure you’re the last man standing? It is these things that count.”

Sumit is not worried about venture capitalists cannibalising the company either. He says start-up founders should not worry about their stake. “Which is better, you have 100% stake but your company is worth only Rs 1 or you have 1% stake, but your company is worth Rs.1,000 crore? As founders we’re passionate about building the company. And investors help us realise it. Moreover, investors too have a reputation to manage. If they mess with one start-up, nobody will approach them after that.”

Also, even if investor stake goes up, control will still be with the founders. “VCs cannot run hundreds of companies. Even if you have 100 cars, you need drivers to run it. So ownership doesn’t matter…We’re confident that we’re building a company that will last beyond our lives. My biggest priority is that I should be able to help people.”

“If you create a value, you can monetise that value someday. I can make money by selling my kidneys also. Making money is not the toughest things, but how you make money matters. How am I creating value? Am I creating value for home buyers, brokers and employees?” he asks.

Now one knows why start-up is a youngsters’ game. After 40, you cannot talk like this. Or perhaps, think like this. Even if you think and talk like that, it won’t be so easily convincing!

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Sumit Jain awarded ‘Young Achiever of the Year’

Sumit, Jain, Co-Founder & CEO, CommonFloor.com, was awarded the title of ‘Younger Achiever of the Year’ for his notable contribution to the Real Estate Industry. The award was conferred by Honourable Chief Minister of the state of Maharashtra, Shri. Devendra Fadnavis at the National Awards for Excellence in Real Estate & Infrastructure, presented by Lokmat. The award ceremony took place at the Taj Lands End in Mumbai recently.

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Sumit Jain said, “I feel humbled and greatly honoured to receive this recognition from Shri. Devendra Fadnavis. I would like to dedicate this award to my Co-Founders, Investors and every employee of CommonFloor for their constant support. This award is a great testament of our constant quest for bringing innovation and enabling customers’ to make more informed and efficient home buying decisions”. The award recognizes the highest levels of achievements and contributions of an individual in the real estate and infrastructure industry. Sumit Jain won this title due to his sheer determination, passion and thought-leadership that has revolutionized the entire online real estate industry.

Sumit has been instrumental in conceptualizing the idea behind CommonFloor.com, building the business from scratch, raising funds, managing cash flow and establishing a strong business model. Enthusiastic and energetic,he is a strong believer in leadership that motivates and inspires people to perform, and advocates that being disciplined and completely focused helps maintaining a good work-life balance.

He also won the Business World ‘Hottest Young Entrepreneurs’ title, along with Fortune’s ‘Emerging CEOs Forty under Forty’ and Forbes’ ‘Top 30 CEOs under 30’ title.

A few good words about our print ad campaign featured in Afaqs!

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Sumit Jain’s authored article featured in ETRealty

It has been raining start-ups in India for the past couple of years and we have been witnessing an array of start-ups mushrooming in every corner of the country. Whether it is an IIT-pass out or a senior executives who have quit their job to start something of their own, everyone is working on a solution to address an industry level challenge with a twist of difference.

Real estate industry is ripe for revolution and disruption and it can be achieved by bringing a strong movement towards empowering the consumer. With people being able to access the required information more effortlessly and quickly, so that they can make fast and informed decisions.

We just need to constantly keep asking the age-old question “Is there a better way?” that will help to make life easier and better, and in the process, inject real change into the real estate industry.

Yet, many perceive raising funds for one’s company is a parameter for success and route to fame; what they fail to realise is that how it is a double-edged sword.

Starting and sustaining the energy in building the company requires far more than just a pioneering idea. Appended are quick scribbles from Sumit Jain, Co-Founder and CEO of CommonFloor.com which would help many budding entrepreneurs.

  • People who partner with you (employees, founders, investors, customers) to help you execute your vision, be grateful to them.
  • Don’t have any personal agenda. The only agenda should be to execute the vision. Ensure everybody in the company has the same agenda.
  • Be the first to take the blame and last to take the credit. Lead from the top & execute on the ground.
  • Don’t raise capital to raise again. Raise capital to build and not run. Take the company to a significantly higher level before you raise again.
  • Tell the bad news first. No one is perfect enough to not to make any mistakes. If you are not making mistakes, you are not trying hard.
  • Have a succession plan for yourself and the progression plan for the level below. Make yourself replaceable by empowering people.
  • Go tough with the problem. Be generally nice to the people around. It doesn’t harm to appreciate if somebody is doing a good job.
  • If you aren’t doing anything that can’t be replicated, you are just going to be a catalyst. Change the behavior; make sure you leverage it.
  • It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Stamina is as important as speed, probably more. Be fast and be strong.
  • Be the last man standing. Be the guiding force. Be the custodian of the vision. Be the first one to come and the last one to go.
  • If you throw shit, people throw back more. If you throw flowers, people might not return the favour. I feel the latter is any day better.
  • Generating revenue is not bad. You don’t make product to make money, you make money to make product.
  • As a leader, whatever you do, you inspire a lot of people. Be responsible in whatever you do. It’s not just about you anymore.

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Ever Noticed These Houses In Everyday Things?

Ever visualized how houses would be in our day to day objects? We could think of a few and here’s what we have gathered for you!

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Have more ideas on a how you see home in day to day objects? We would love to hear from you at social@commonfloor.com.

CommonFloor conducted India’s First Ever Home Buying Class on 18th July 2015

4 (2)Home buying, for most of us is one of the most taxing and time consuming activity as it is an important decision that one would take in a lifetime. Buying a home can be as exciting as it is overwhelming, but the more information you have, the better off you’ll be. CommonFloor hosted India’s first ever home buying class for novice home buyers to get all their property buying queries answered by experts, thereby giving them an opportunity to learn the different aspects of home buying and to be a responsible home owner.

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The event was hosted at the CommonFloor Bangalore office on 18th July and was spearheaded by CommonFloor’s Domain Research team. The expert panel consisted of industry thought-leaders like Mr.Jagannaathen – Managing Director of Vintage Wealth Managers (India) Private Ltd, Ms.Shobha Bhavikatti – Legal Expert, Legalis, Mr.Vikram Hegde – Business head at Finance Buddha & Mr.Naresh V Narasimhan – Principal Architect from Venkataramanan Associates. They shared some interesting insights and anecdotes about best practices of Home Buying with the audience and also answered all their property related queries.

2 (1)The session acted as a great platform for the potential home buyers to get connected to some prominent personalities from legal, home loan, architectural background and get the best possible advice for their queries. The knowledge driven session led them to understand the nuances of property buying like home loan, do’s and dont’s legal formalities, litigation issues, to even flooring and vastu related information.

3 (1)With the success of this program, CommonFloor plans to take this initiative to more cities and educate more home buyers about the best practices of property buying and thereby help them buy a home without any fear.

IMG_4385This initiative aligns with CommonFloor’s vision of enabling people to make property decisions more wisely and easily and thereby making the buyer feel empowered.

 

CommonFloor’s CF Free-lenser initiative appeared in Hindustan Times’ weekly supplement, HT Estates

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CommonFloor’s latest initiative CF Free-Lenser featured in a trend story in ET

CommonFloor has introduced ‘CF Free-Lenser’, a unique platform for freelancers and amateur photographers in the country to work and earn. As part of this initiative, CommonFloor is calling-in entries from photographers who are interested to capture pictures of a locality which can depict the essence of that area. Through this first of its kind program, CommonFloor will be able to generate location centric pictorial data across the country and at the same time be able to offer jobs for many who love photography.

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What If Famous Brands Made Houses – Property Humour by CommonFloor

Ever wondered how it would be if famous brands that are recognized for their flagship products made houses? We thought why not just imagine what ad campaigns would be like if houses were added to their product range under our Property Humour series.

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CommonFloor Retina review by PCQuest magazine

The world of virtual reality is fascinating. You can experience a live concert, an apocalypse, a war zone and what not with a virtual reality headset that creates the environment right where you want it. It’s one of the biggest next gen. technology, which will and have already find its application in a number of fields such as gaming, designing, simulation, defense, aircraft, etc. Virtual reality finds its application in a variety of fields. One such is Real estate. With a virtual reality headset, you can experience the various aspects of a real estate project without even visiting the site.

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CommonFloor.com, an online real estate platform has smartly incorporated the technology into its ecosystem. Their product-CommonFloor Retina is the combination of Google cardboard, an in-house developed app and an android device. To use CommonFloor Retina, a user simply needs to sport the headgear to experience virtual tour of the property of his/her choice. You need to install the CommonFloor Retina application from the Play store, which integrates various properties from builders.

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The headgear creates a 3D experience of the property and let a buyer understand various perspectives about the property such as space, ambience, etc. The device has a magnetic liver on the left side, which takes you to different areas of the property such as living room, kitchen, lobby, etc.

This affordable device is one really useful product for builders who want to cut the cost and space to construct a model apartment, which takes time and a good investment. Builders can install the headgears in their offices to give buyers a demo of their project or can send their executives to buyer’s home for the same.

The platform currently supports Android smartphones LG Nexus 4 and above, Moto G 2nd gen, Samsung Galaxy 4 and above, Moto X and the Xiaomi Mi3. We also tested the headgear on Z9 Nubia, Samsung galaxy Note 2, which was not the best experience, but kind of worked.

Besides this, the headgear can be used to experience various other interesting applications. Some of them are 3D games which are quite fun to play with. Here are some apps which you can download from the Play store: Lamper VR, Vrse, Insidious VR, InMind, etc.

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