Interview with Kanika Shori, COO, Squareyards
1)What motivated you to choose entrepreneurship?
As a NRI couple living in Hong Kong, me and Tanuj (my husband) were very keen about investing in Indian property market. Thanks to a very unstructured market led by a bunch of intermediaries, the experiences have not been very good. Other friends in India and abroad shared the same grievances indicating that the problems were widespread.
It seemed to us that there was a clear cut need of an independent and unbiased real estate advisory that cannot only guide buyers through the search and discovery process but also handhold them through the start to finish of property purchase in a convenient manner, thereby bridging all the gaps in a property purchase. Thus Square Yards was born in October 2013 in Hong Kong with a team of just 3 individuals. Today we are a prolific team of around 1000 employees with 29 offices in 9 nations.
2) What is the core aim of your business model and what kind of problems are you trying to solve?
We market and distribute portfolio of over 500 Grade-A developers to homebuyers and investors across the world. For every property sale, Square Yards charges a sales commission from the developers. It should be noted that under our revenue model nothing is charged from the buyer for the services rendered.
In an unstructured and opaque real estate industry, Square Yards is imparting innovative makeovers to the real estate industry by bringing the focus back on the convenience of the buyers. It has done this by:
a) Adoption of inventive and unbiased analytics along with usable insights to guide buyers through initial search process
b) An objective of offering 360 degree services under one roof that also includes mortgage advisory, real estate marketing, property management and much more
c) Use of a multi-modal distribution network that has a technological DNA but is augmented with a massive sales force deployed all across the country and globe
d) Build strategic partnership with developers and prepare high return focused investment products
Today in the primary real estate transaction space, Square Yards enjoy the highest annual revenue run rate of USD 30 million. It has a monthly transaction volume of 650 deals that is again highest in the nation. It has just been three years and the company is an EBITDA Positive company with strong focus on unit economics. We have been one of the pioneers in introducing some of the ground breaking technological, marketing & process innovations in Indian real estate industry.
3) How has been the experience so far of doing business in an unorganized sector like real estate?
For us the unorganized nature of the Indian real estate is not a challenge but an opportunity to capitalize upon and offer value innovations that can create a new scalable and profitable business model in real estate advisory. We realized that, like any other industry, various stakeholders in real estate, be it brokers, developer or customers, are receptive to new technology, innovative business model and any process changes which could make the transaction flow easier. We have realized that in the industry, there is a latent yearning to accept a large organized player, who could provide scale advantages in providing solution