Square Yards: A Global Prop-tech Leader
Real Estate, one of the most globally recognized sectors, is the second largest employer in India after agriculture and is anticipated to grow at 30% over the next decade. Expected to touch US$ 180 Billion by the year 2020, the housing sector of the Indian Real Estate is envisaged to contribute a colossal amount of 11% to India’s GDP.
India’s rank has jumped 13 spots in the Global House Price Index, to reach the 9th position, among a total of 55 international markets. But, was the Indian market always this plain sailing? No. Not until the establishment of the largest Indian real estate transaction platform: Square Yards.
The Foundation Stone
October’2013, marked the bedrock of a vital initiative by an NRI couple: Tanuj Shori and Kanika Gupta Shori, living in Hong Kong. While investing in Indian properties themselves, the couple discovered the buying process to be extremely challenging, opaque and broken, despite real estate being the most significant investment of an individual’s life. With a mission to deliver a superior real estate transaction experience to investors and buyers across the globe, they laid the foundation of Square Yards that soon shaped up as the finest and the largest tech-led distribution network.
Products and Services
Marketing and distributing portfolios of more than 500 Grade-A developers to global home buyers and investors, Square yards grew from 3 people to more than 2000 employees across 40 cities and 10 countries in no time. It is the only Indian company to hold multi-country real estate licenses and enter into collaborative arrangements with leading international developers. It has the largest distribution network of Indian real estate and is the #1 channel partner for leading Indian and International developers. The company offers the following RE investment products to its clients worldwide:
- India Primary Residential (Affordable)
- India Primary Residential (Mid-Market)
- India Primary Residential (Luxury)
- India Primary Commercial
- UAE (Dubai) Off plan
- UAE (Dubai) Resale/Lease
- Australia – House & Land Packages
- Canada – New Development
- Canada – Resale/Lease
- UK – New Development
- Alternative Assets (Co-working spaces, Car parking, Student Housing)
The Key Differentiators
Square Yards offers a comprehensive and integrated menu of Indian & International property portfolios after carefully spotting the opportunities across multiple asset classes in different countries and analyzing these through multiple investment parameters like rental yields, capital appreciation, cost of capital, transaction costs, taxes etc., individually and in co-relation with each other. It differentiates itself by offering 360-degree services and a premium user experience during the entire property buying journey- from initial online search to deep on-ground research & site visits to final transaction closure and also extending to facilitating mortgage, personalized post-sales services & portfolio management. Roughly around 50% of these investments are cross-border transactions, making Square Yards, a global leader in cross-border real estate.
“Indian customer, in lock step with global trends, is an increasingly smart digital user and is expecting businesses to provide personalized and effective services at scale. Considering the size and dynamics of Indian real estate industry, I believe that significant opportunity exists to help customers take optimized and delighting property decisions through innovative business model underpinned by our online to offline (O2O) customer-centric approach”, says Tanuj, the founder and CEO of Square Yards.
Square Yards has brought in unique innovations in the world of real estate technology and analytics in multifarious ways. The portal- Squareyards.com offers in-depth data and strong usable insights on the primary real estate which are generated through analytics focusing on the needs of the users. City Level Heat Maps help in exploring the most promising locations based on a range of factors like price, connectivity, etc. Price vs Size Scatter Plots map the available property options based on the price and size of the estate. Needs-Based Recommendations, which is an automated engine provides scored and sorted projects based on unbiased algorithms.
Square Yards also brings the entire project inventory online for facilitating transactions through its e-commerce platform where the customers choose and block their desired unit by paying the online booking amount. Apart from this, the post-sales services are supported through a dedicated client portal for the spontaneous resolution of their service requests.
Square Yards’ target customers are home buyers and real estate investors across the globe. It has facilitated real estate investments worth more than USD $1 Billion and mortgages worth $300mn to 12500+ satisfied customers worldwide through the direct presence of more than 2000 employees in 40 cities in 10 countries including India, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Singapore, UK, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia and Canada.
“At Square Yards, we are focused on surpassing USD 1 billion in GTV annual run rate this year. In terms of market share, we are looking at capturing 15 – 20% share in the primary residential sales market in the country over the next few years. We expect our broker-driven initiatives such as Square Connect to catalyze much of this growth. Apart from continuing focus on Indian real estate, which should remain a lion’s opportunity (with 10x growth plans over 2 years), we are investing aggressively into the International real estate, which is one of the fastest growing and most profitable segment of the business. We would gradually expand to 25+ International markets with an aim to become the largest aggregator of primary real estate anywhere in the world”, says Kanika, the co-founder and the COO, Square Yards.
“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness occurs while you’re climbing it”, says Tanuj, with reference to the immense success of the company in 2018. The Financial Year’ 2018 was a path-breaking phase for Square Yards on multiple fronts, including key operating metrics, rationalizing cost structures, unit economics, tightening of processes and synergies with technology and improving productivity.
- The Largest Indian Real Estate Distributor
- 2nd Largest Mortgage Distributor
- 5-2% of the Total Market Share (Indian Real Estate Off plan Brokerage, India Mortgage Brokerage, Dubai Offplan Brokerage)
- USD 727 Mn.- Gross Transactional Value (73% rise)
- USD 27 Mn.- Gross Revenue (64% rise)
- USD 23 Mn.- Net Revenue
- 12K- Completed Transactions (96% rise)
- 12 Mn.- Website Visitors (87% rise)
- 3 Mn.- Leads Generated (70% rise)
- 20%- Volume Through Agency Partners
- Only Indian Player to be RERA Compliant in Maximum Indian States
With only 4 years of existence, these staggering numbers are relative to the sector, clearly propelling Square Yards in the new trajectory which is far ahead of any organized competition in the country.
The CEO’s Advice
Corresponding to start-ups, Square Yards too had its share of crunches in the initial phase of the company build-up. “Getting venture capital, establishing industry relationships, being cent percent unwavering about the process is not easy”, says Tanuj. “In such a scenario it is pivotal to maintain the right balance between the desired growth and tweaking the business model in order to match the market objective”.
“I am an entrepreneur by accident, and I believe entrepreneurship is a widely misunderstood term. I would rather substitute the word entrepreneurship with a key strategic role, an individual who has the platform to make decisions that could change the business model and impact fate and growth of the organization and other stakeholders around him/her. It is imperative to remember that whether you’re your own boss or working under someone, you are fully responsible for your profile, for deliverables and for profitability. The ‘perform or perish’ mantra that applies to a corporate job, applies to entrepreneurship even more vividly. And if you find that you’re unable to take decisions that drive growth and revenue or you’re unable to make an impact, it’s best to pave the way for someone who can!”