Interns On The Floor Of CommonFloor

“We need some fresh and diverse talent to help us with new insights and ideas”, haven’t we all heard this phrase in most meetings today? What better way than to get people with new perspectives into the organization’s system and build a pipeline of talented, young professionals. We at CommonFloor thought that through a well-structured internship program for talents from some of the most elite institutions across the country would benefit both the interns and us.

This year in the months of April and May, we had about 9 interns from across various IIMs working on projects for analytics, marketing, corporate strategy and CFx teams. Since interns are as good brand ambassadors of an organization as the employees, we thought making them work alongside employees would give them the real experience.

The interns had their first interaction with Lalit Mangal, Co-Founder Commonfloor.com where he introduced the company in a compelling manner with the story of how CommonFloor started and what’s unique about CommonFloor and future plans of the company which kept the interns glued for the whole time.

We believe that a mentor needs to be a friend and open to ideas, and that’s exactly what each of them experienced here. Each of the interns networked with their respective mentors to understand the nuances of how we do business and the various stakeholders involved in making the CommonFloor story a huge success.

5It was the freedom to take the learning from the classroom and put it to action at the work space that encouraged them to give insights on key projects and real business problems faced in CommonFloor. Although this internship was short-term, each intern gained practical experience that helped them develop new skills and also gain an insider’s view to a possible career path that they may want to pursue.

We were very eager to know what was in the mind of the interns during their time at CommonFloor. Here’s what some of them had to say about the amazing internship opportunity;

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4 (1)At the end of the internship project, the best internship project was awarded by CommonFloor to a deserving intern, making the whole experience enthralling for everyone. Interns for sure feel that they have become part of the CommonFloor family while they look forward to joining us on completion of their course.

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It’s always exciting to see more people be part of the ‘brand’wagon – CommonFloor. Quite an awesome feeling, ain’t it?

CommonFloor Retina Featured in TOI Today

The Times of India - Page 16 - July 7, 2015

The article talks about the evolution of virtual reality devices and how companies around the world are adopting this technology.In India it was CommonFloor to first pick up the need to incorporate cardboard for the virtual tour of property and thereby had launched CF Retina. Virtual tours is clearly becoming a value added and innovative offering for most new age companies.

CommonFloor partners with Zomato to leverage their Foodie Index API

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CommonFloor, India’s leading real estate portal joined hands with Zomato, the global restaurant search and discovery app, to introduce their Foodie Index into its locality map section to help users to identify perfect neighbourhoods based on variety of food joints accessible in and around them.

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Building on Zomato’s exhaustive restaurant data, the Foodie Index will facilitate the decision-making process of people looking for apartments or hotels with great dining experiences just a short walk away. With the Foodie Index, Zomato will use its in-depth local restaurant information and user-generated content to calculate a score that indicates the quality of restaurants in a particular area. It will enable CommonFloor to provide information on the quality of dining options in a particular neighbourhood by leveraging Zomato’s location-based Foodie Index. 

Lalit Mangal, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, CommonFloor added, “Zomato’s Foodie Index also has the same intent and vision as we have of simplifying property decisions. The index provides information beyond just the nearby restaurants and lets a user know how a location fares when it comes to the quality and variety of restaurants in an area. This will be extremely beneficial for seekers of rentals and paying guests and for people who like to compare neighborhoods based on the restaurant options for deciding a place to stay.”

Satyajeet Singh, VP Products & Marketing, Zomato said, “Users will now be able to zero in on apartments and hotels in neighbourhoods where they can enjoy the best dining experiences a city has to offer. With the Foodie Index API, we’re making Zomato’s rich content easily accessible and restaurant discovery incredibly easy. We’re constantly looking for ways to enrich dining experiences, and helping guide people to neighbourhoods that offer great food is a step further in that direction.”

“Anyone in the organization can be an inspiration” says Sumit Jain in an interview with Economic Times

Sumit Jain talks about his experience during his first year at work as a fresher from IIT Roorkee in an interview with Economic Times.

The brief and what I did in the first 100 days
As part of my campus placement at IIT Roorkee, I got an opportunity to work with Oracle. I was briefed about various teams and given a choice to work with any team I wished to, based on my interest. I chose to join the enterprise management team as a software developer. I had to build a full-stack application using open source technologies such as tapestry, struts, hibernate, etc and run it over the Oracle server. The idea was to build a proof of concept for the sales team to be able to demonstrate to clients.

The best leadership lesson I learnt                                                                                                     No work is big or small; it is the way you do it that makes a difference. You don’t need to be in a top position to inspire people. Anybody at any level in an organisation can do so. It’s not the stature of work that matters, but what you learn from working that counts.

The worst mistake I made                                                                                                                      I don’t recall making mistakes. However, I believe, no mistake is bad if you learn from it and don’t repeat it. What doesn’t break you only makes you stronger.                                                                                                     

The best friend I made on the job                                                                                                       My co-founder Lalit Mangal — who resigned at around the same time as I did. I used to get inspired by him and vice versa.

How I had fun at work
I used to play billiards at the Oracle cafeteria, if I ever got stuck with a complex problem. I found some amazing solutions while playing billiards and made some great friends.

How I managed my work-life balance
I did not bother about work-life balance. When you join fresh from college, you are full of energy and want to change the world. Work is life for you. When you start worrying about work-life balance, please understand, the iron inside has started getting rusted. It’s time to quit.

Read the article on Economic Times

TOI Front Page Goes All Orange in Delhi-NCR and Bangalore!

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Experience Live In Tours here

Roommate App Flatchat Gets $2.5M Funding From CommonFloor

FlatChatFund_P1Looking for a roommate can be a soul-crushing experience, especially if you are new to a city or on a tight budget. Flatchat wants to make the process a little less tedious for renters in India. The mobile-based platform recently picked up $2.5 million in seed funding from CommonFloor, one of India’s leading real-estate listing sites.

Flatchat, which currently has about 40 employees, will use the funds to hire more people for its product and engineering teams, as well as expand into cities where there are high concentrations of students, young professionals, and other people who need roommates.

The platform is available on mobile only and claims to have racked up 50,000 users since launching six months ago. About 350,000 messages were exchanged through its Android and iOS apps in May.

Gaurav Munjal, who founded Flatchat along with Hemesh Singh, says the startup wants to save renters from combing through dozens of listings on multiple sites and paying broker fees. Users sign up for the app with their Facebook account, create a simple profile, and then filter potential roommates by area and price range. All communications are done through Flatchat’s built-in messaging feature.

“You don’t need to call anyone, you interact with them through messages. Nobody was targeting this market before,” says Munjal. “We have become the fastest way to find a place or roommate.”

Most of Flatchat’s users are currently university students or single men, but the company plans to start marketing to female users.

For CommonFloor, which is backed by Google Capital, Flatchat represents a tactical investment because it covers a demographic that the site doesn’t serve, since it focuses on people who want to purchase property.

By working with Flatchat, CommonFloor has a stake in a new market and can also potentially retain renters as users once they are ready to buy their own homes. In turn, Flatchat gets access to CommonFloor’s data, which helps them pinpoint what cities to target next.

This article is also featured in Techcrunch

Image Credits: http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-938875p1.html

“Competition does not bother us” says Sumit Jain in a candid chat with ET Panache

When asked how he reads competition that has had its share of headlines in recent times, he says, “I have very less clue about the competition.” He explains, “It’s a distraction for us. We are only putting our head down and focusing on our work. You get to read about things for entertainment purpose, that’s a different thing.

But on whether this competition has made valuable inroads in the same space, Jain had this to say. “They are the hot chick in town and we are the girl you finally marry. You find the properties on Commonfloor. The product is not about what is good looking. It is about what delivers.” Jain adds that there is currently a lot of hype about the housing space, but the real problems are yet to be solved. In industry terms, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Read the complete article here

Sumit Jain says Commonfloor.com plans to launch IPO in 3-5 years

1200X628_CFIPO_P1Riding high on the growth in the online real estate segment, property portal Commonfloor.Com is planning to launch an initial public offer (IPO) in three-five years to raise funds for expanding business.The company also expects to turn profitable in two years.

“The online real estate segment is growing rapidly, mainly due to the penetration of internet and increase in usage of smartphones.To further expand our business, we might go public in the next 3-5 years,” company’s Co-founder and CEO Sumit Jain told PTI here.He did not, however, disclose how much the company expects to raise.

“We have been raising funds through various investors and utilising it for creating new products, investing in technology and data gathering. We will be further investing in these three areas to make the platform more robust,” he said, adding the venture will turn profitable in next two years.

The company recently launched two services including CF Retina, which gives virtual experience of the property, and live-in tours in which customers can take a complete virtual tour of the property.
“We plan to roll out live in tours in 17 more cities in the next one month. We currently have 15,000 properties listed through live-in tours and plans to list five lakh rental and resale units under the virtual tour feature in the next six months,” Jain said.

The company has about 10 million homes across 200 cities listed on its portal.The Bengaluru-based firm has so far raised over $60 million from Accel Partners, Tiger Global and Google Capital. “We are looking to turn profitable in the next two years. About 220,000 properties are listed on the site every month. We are well capitalised and have over half of the money raised till now in the bank. We believe in spending on innovation development which enhances customer experience,” he said.

Last year, the company had acquired Flat.To, a real estate service that helps students and bachelors find flats, paying guest accommodation and hostels across Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Kota, Jaipur and Delhi.With the acquisition Commonfloor.Com could cater to a new segment — students and bachelors, Jain said.

The article is also featured in

Economic Times

Business Standard

Business Today

The Hindu Business Line

In Search of Smart Cities

Smart Cities has been the latest buzzword in the urban landscape, which is expected to be a catalyst in transforming the way we live. They are essentially an integration of information technology, telecommunications, urban planning, smart infrastructure and operations in an environment geared to maximize the quality of life for a city’s population.

What will make a city ‘Smart’?

While there is no template for a smart city, it’s basically one that is more livable for its citizens. Moreover, it should be sustainable and efficient at all levels like energy use, public transport, communication and health and education facilities.

The following features will be the key pillars for any smart city:
1. Information and Communication Technology: According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report on ‘How smart are our cities?’ these will utilize information and communications technology to scale up an area’s workability, sustainability and livability. This will entail the use of data and digital infrastructure to manage energy and water usage to the creation of intelligent transport networks. Locally procured and indigenous technology and communications solutions will be the key tools for the transformation of any city.

2. Indigenous Water and Waste-Management Solutions: Low cost and decentralized initiatives to meet challenges such as water and waste management with the help of local communities will be only second to technology in defining a smart city. Smart meters, renewable energy, energy conservation, water harvesting, effluent recycling, scientific solid waste disposal methods etc. will be the hallmark of a smart city.

3. Infrastructure and transportation: The concept of smart city is all about embedding a new city with solid public transportation system. A smart city must have its own airport, railway stations, local metro, an efficient road network and other intelligent transport solutions.

4. Successful Public-Private Partnerships: The synergy of public and private spheres in the form of these partnerships will play a key role in the formation of smart cities. They will be instrumental in not only gathering necessary finances but also for the efficient delivery of utilities and services.

5. Redevelopment: This is an important aspect in the development of Brownfield cities. Reconstruction of those city pockets where other interventions are unlikely to bring improvements will be crucial to the making of a smart city.

6. Social Infrastructure: Smart cities cannot be devoid of the appropriate levels of social infrastructure – like schools, hospitals, public spaces, sporting and recreational grounds and retail and entertainment venues.

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Brownfield vs Greenfield Cities
In an ideal scenario, it is easier to build new cities rather than transform old ones into smart cities. However in the Indian context, upgrading cities is also as imperative and it may take several years to accomplish it. The 100 smart cities to be developed in India are likely to be a combination of Brownfield and Greenfield cities, each presenting its own unique opportunities and challenges.

Brownfield Cities: These will include existing heritage cities such as Allahabad, Ajmer as well as Vishakapatnam and Cyberabad.

Greenfield Cities: These cities will be created from scratch and will include Palava near Mumbai, NAINA in Navi Mumbai, Gujarat International Finance Tech (GIFT) City among others.

Challenges & Threats
The government’s ambition of modernising the existing cities and also develop greenfield smart cities will require precise planning, effective disbursement of budgetary funds and a large investment in infrastructure. The following are the major challenges faced by the government and local authorities in the development of smart cities:
City Planning Regulations: Rigid master plans and restrictive zoning regulations limit the availability of land.
Lack of Unified Governance: Fragmented accountability with separate rules and regulations for centre, state and district administration creates disparity in approach.
Improper Funding: Lack of proper funding and investment from the public and private sector is one of the biggest impediments in the way of developing smart cities.

Read all about Smart Cities here > http://commonfloor.com/pages/smart-cities-in-india

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