Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate to launch six projects in FY18

The Shapoorji Pallonji Group entered the affordable housing segment last year by joining hands with Standard Chartered Private Equity, IFC and the Asian Development Bank.

Diversified Shapoorji Pallonji group’s real estate arm is lining up at least six projects across the country in 2017-18, with two in the affordable housing segment, a senior company official said.

“We plan to launch at least six projects this financial year. Out of these, we would be developing two projects under our ‘Joyville’ brand to build affordable homes,” Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate chief executive Venkatesh Gopalakrishnan told PTI in Mumbai.

Of the six, 2-3 projects are being planned to come up in the megapolis, two in Pune and one in the National Capital Region (NCR), he said, adding that the company already has 40 million sq ft land bank across the country.

“We will be officially launching our affordable housing project in Virar by September-October. The second project under the Joyville brand at Hinjewadi in Pune will be launched by March 2018,” Gopalakrishnan said.

The SP Group entered the affordable housing segment last year by joining hands with Standard Chartered Private Equity, International Finance Corp. (IFC), an arm of the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Under the agreement, the partnership will invest about $250 million, which will be used primarily for buying land and setting up initial infrastructure. The company launched its first project under the brand Joyville at Howrah near Kolkata.

Asked whether the company is looking to raise funds for these projects, he said, “We already have the land, so the funds would be raised on project to project basis. This would be mainly through debt.”

About the impact of the new Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA) and the goods and services tax (GST), he said there will be certain teething issues in the beginning, but then developers will have to adapt to the change.

“As per the RERA, we have registered five ongoing projects, with four in Maharashtra and one in Bengaluru where the rules are out. We have projects in West Bengal and the north, but the rules there are not yet out,” Gopalakrishnan added.

Source:-.livemint.

Leading Cause of Death of Startups: Real Estate

Ross Mayfield, CEO of SocialText, and a long-time blogger himself, is finally getting an office.

For two years his company has operated virtually, with employees working from their homes across the United States. He calls it “net-enabled bootstrapping” because the company has used technology tools to operate at a low cost and grow from within.

He says real estate is the leading cause of death of startups, and notes:

“I am convinced that being virtual is the best way to start a company. The benefits go beyond cost (although the culture of frugality can go a very long way). In our case, it improves the product. But generally it is more productive. When the bandwidth for collaboration is constrained at times, you gain a certain focus.”

Be sure to read the entire post, including the comments. He also notes the downsides of virtual businesses.

Two other blogs have picked up on the post and added their own insights — check them out too: Steve Shu, and WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg who notes that the WordPress team operates virtually, also. (WordPress is a popular Open Source blogging software.)

I find blogs such as Ross’s and Steve’s and Matt’s — which discuss their own experiences and observations — to be excellent sources of insight to “see” trends.

In this case, they give a great sense of how technology startups operate today.

Forget three guys in a garage — that was your father’s startup. Today it’s 3 people spread out across the country or even across continents, each in their home offices or back porches with laptops, mobile phones, and WiFi.

For more, read my essay “Trend: Small Businesses Go Virtual.”

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

HDFC Red CEO on How Drones and Machine Learning Can Improve the Real Estate Listings Business

HDFC Red CEO on How Drones and Machine Learning Can Improve the Real Estate Listings BusinessHDFC Red CEO on How Drones and Machine Learning Can Improve the Real Estate Listings Business
HIGHLIGHTS
Builders themselves are very enthusiastic about adopting technology
By 2020, the digital natives, will be buying houses
Machine learning has the potential to be a real game-changer
The startup-within-a-big-company is a narrative that’s becoming increasingly popular, but Sohel I S, CEO of the property portal HDFC RED, feels that six years on, the mindset genuinely applies to his organisation, where the average age of the team is still 28.

“We’re able to make decisions quickly and don’t have to go through so much hierarchy and we’ve had to be very fiscally responsible,” Sohel tells Gadgets 360. This also helped the company have a relatively narrow focus from the beginning, something he says helped a lot.

While many of the best known companies in the property space in India got their start in the rental market, HDFC RED stayed out of that segment, focused instead on the buying and selling of private homes from the beginning.

Last year, Housing.com announced layoffs and shut down its rentals; visit most of the other popular sites and the first option you now see is “Buy”. In some ways, RED was ahead of the time when it launched and Sohel sees the current trend as a validation of its business model.

“When we were getting started we talked about what all we should be doing, and we were clear that we aren’t going to try and do everything at once,” he says. “The problem with rentals is that there is a lot of demand, but the supply is very erratic. You’re spending money to acquire each listing, but that money is only good for about three weeks. In that much time, any house which is in a decent condition, where the rent is reasonable, goes off the market.”

“On top of that, the listing will be there on a dozen sites, and you’re all spending money to improve the quality of the listing and bring information,” he adds. “It’s just not really practical.”

On the other hand, the supply side for selling houses is a lot better, he explains. For one thing, builders are ready to pay to be on the platform. Additionally, you’re capturing the data for an entire project and not just a single house. And of course, the listings are live for a lot longer, so the money that is spent on getting and maintaining them is a lot lower in the long term.

Additionally, Sohel continues, the builders themselves are very enthusiastic about adopting technology. It’s a cost effective way to grow, and in a market where buyers are often not purchasing locally anymore – buying property in their hometowns while living elsewhere, for example – technology becomes essential to finding homes.

“Also what’s happening is that the second generation of builders is now taking over, the ones who grew up around technology and have a lot more exposure to the world,” Sohel explains, “and this means that people who are much more comfortable with technology, are much more immersed in technology, are the ones who are making the decisions now.”
And this is bringing about a big difference in the way buyers and builders are using technology. “Six years ago, people were worried that you wouldn’t buy anything online,” Sohel continues. “But when I saw people start to buy clothes online, I knew that this was possible.”

“Today, we use video conferencing for discussions, VR tours of the building to give you a 360-degree view of the apartments,” he adds, “and it’s been stopped now, because there’s not much clarity on what you can and can-not do with drones, but we were doing some really great things, like using drones to shoot the view from every window on every floor of the building, so you can decide if the 15th floor is right for you or the 20th.”

But all of this barely scratches the surface of how technology has been changing the real estate business according to Sohel. The real game changer, he believes, is artificial intelligence. “Machine learning has been moving too slowly if you ask me, mostly confined to the lab, but it’s a real game-changer,” he says. “Right now, there is a lot of data. And not much of it is useful to everyone, and it’s presented in a way that makes it hard to find the information you require.”

“What we can do is improve on the presentation of data to help you find the houses you need more easily. The next thing we do is congruence, where we help you to fine tune the data and come up with a filtered list that suits you,” he explains. “Then there are recommendations, where we can actually say we know what you like, we know what you really want, and these are the houses you should look at.”

HDFC RED has applied for a patent for its recommendation engine, and it uses everything from social profiling, to demography-based suggestions, but he admits that this is one area where further improvements are required. “I mean imagine if we know the kind of music you listen to, and what music other people like,” he says. “Maybe if we know that you’re someone who likes to listen to rock music, you’ll be better off with neighbours who like it too, so they won’t complain about your music playing late, right?”

It’s a slightly far-fetched notion, as he quickly admits, but it does show some of the ways in which the real estate business in India is changing. “Things like having an app for your property to showcase it, which then becomes an internal social network once the houses are sold,” he adds, “or setting up a VR zone to demo houses instead of having people come to the project unnecessarily, this is moving from being high tech to just hygiene.”

“By 2020, the digital natives, the ones who grew up with the Internet, will be buying houses,” he says, “and right now, we’re taking care of the search part of the equation. By then, you’ll have to have solutions for site visits, negotiation, payments, and paperwork for these buyers.”

Tags: HDFC, HDFC RED, Property Search, Real estate, Housing.com

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Quikr buys online real estate portal Commonfloor.com

Quikr has been strengthening the portfolio of services it offers since mid-last year. Photo: AFPQuikr has been strengthening the portfolio of services it offers since mid-last year. Photo: AFP

Bengaluru: Online classifieds firm Quikr India Pvt. Ltd, one of India’s most valuable start-ups, bought real estate portal CommonFloor in a distress sale orchestrated by Tiger Global Management Llc, the influential US-based hedge fund that is an investor in both.

Quikr, valued at an estimated $1 billion, and CommonFloor (maxHeap Technologies Pvt. Ltd) didn’t disclose the terms of the transaction, but two people familiar with the matter said Quickr paid $120 million in an all-stock deal. The people spoke on condition of anonymity.

CommonFloor was valued at more than $150 million when it last raised Rs.60 crore from Google Capital in December 2014. The company raised a total of Rs.321 crore from Tiger, Accel Partners and Google Capital since 2011.

Quikr and CommonFloor have valuations that seem disproportionate to their revenue.

Quikr reported sales of Rs.24.78 crore for the year ended 31 March 2015 while CommonFloor generated sales of Rs.45.76 crore for that year, according to documents with the Registrar of Companies.

Despite having generated revenue that is much larger than Quikr’s, CommonFloor attracted a much lower valuation because of the valuation metrics used by e-commerce investors that may seem peculiar to shareholders in traditional businesses.

Classifieds firms such as Quikr are given more generous valuations because of a large customer base that can potentially be monetized in future through advertising and the winner-takes-all nature of the business.

Quikr primarily has just one rival to contend with: Olx, which is backed by Naspers Ltd, a South African mass media company. Online real estate, on the other hand, is a crowded market with at least five well-funded companies, apart from upstarts that keep cropping up.

Apart from boosting Quikr’s sales, the CommonFloor deal will make it easier for the combined entity to raise money at a time investors have turned cautious on Indian start-ups after a boom that lasted until the middle of 2015.

[“source-Livemint”]