NoBroker.com is a Bangalore based startup founded by Amit Agarwal, Akhil Gupta and Saurabh Garg. It is a real estate platform where you can buy/sell and rent houses by eliminating the middleman like agents.
The portal works on the backbone of an algorithm that identifies and restricts brokers from the portal and is the only platform in C2C space. NoBroker.com witnessed massive growth and high rate of acceptance and adoption from customers, due to a huge latent demand for non-brokerage marketplace. Today, NoBroker.com has created the world’s largest ‘customer –to – customer’ real estate ecosystem serving over 4.5 million customers, says Amit.
We at Bangalore Insider had the opportunity to catch up with Amit, the co-founder of NoBroker.com and to know more about the startup, read his inspiring story.
Give a brief info about your startup?
NoBroker.com is a disruptive brokerage-free property search portal that connects house owners & seekers directly by eliminating the middleman. A unique real estate platform that makes it possible to buy/sell/rent houses without paying any brokerage, NoBroker.com is revolutionizing real estate space not just by eliminating brokerage but also by making it convenient and hassle-free experience with its services.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
Home-seekers have been paying brokerage year on year without seeing any advantage of the middleman. The only reason the intermediation existed was that there was a huge information asymmetry in the market. NoBroker.com removes this information asymmetry and provides a marketplace for free exchange of information that earlier used to cost as much as 1-2 months of rent as brokerage.
The portal works on the backbone of an algorithm that identifies and restricts brokers from the portal and is the only platform in C2C space. NoBroker.com witnessed massive growth and high rate of acceptance and adoption from customers, due to a huge latent demand for non-brokerage marketplace. Today, NoBroker.com has created the world’s largest ‘customer –to – customer’ real estate ecosystem serving over 4.5 million customers.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
I am an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and IIM, Ahmedabad. I worked extensively with the Management Consulting division of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Banking and Financial Services vertical. I have worked with many leading Indian and foreign banks during my eight year stint at PwC, leading consulting teams and worked directly with top CXOs on critical aspects such as formulating business strategy and enhancing on-ground profitability.
Prior to taking the entrepreneurial leap with NoBroker.com, I was working with ANZ Bank, leading its strategy function in India and formulating its countrywide strategy. I played an instrumental role in getting the bank two additional India branch licenses from the RBI.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
We are based out of Bangalore. The place is best for us as it has a very positive start-up vibe and has proved perfect on all accounts.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
As someone leading a customer-focussed business, I constantly endeavour to keep pace with customer expectations. One beautiful thing about customer expectations is that they are constantly evolving. Technology advancement of today becomes a habit for tomorrow. As technology evolves, so do our customers. We are in a business where we do not just have to fulfil expectations but also anticipate them beforehand for customers to be able to appreciate us.
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
As we are trying to disrupt an extremely unorganized real estate sector in residential as well as commercial space, we believe our only competitors are brokers. We believe that we are better than them because we offer free access to information. Brokers add value in the sense that they have better appreciation of available properties in an area. For this service they charge exorbitant brokerage. Brokers add very little value in that sense. If the same information is freely accessible, consumers can be benefitted in a major way.
How hard is it to have a work life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
There is no balance. Work goes on 24*7 for me. I attend colleague and work-related call on weekends and on vacations. I firmly believe that when you do what you love doing, then at some point it is hard to differentiate between work day and week day. It doesn’t seem taxing.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no, then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
We have raised an initial round of funding from SAIF Partners of $3mn in 2015 followed by a Series B of $17mn from Japanese investor Beenext and Korean investor KTB Ventures in 2016.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
One biggest misconception people have about me is that I am more of a book worm and not into sports. I guess it is because I frequently talk about books that I’ve read. The reality is that I am a big-time sports enthusiast. I love playing badminton and squash.
What gets you excited about this company?
For any consumer driven business, the best part is reviews. The kind of overwhelming response we’ve received from customer so far give us the encouragement to carry on and introduce more and more advancements that they can use. Within 4 years of having started we have today amassed a customer base of 4.5 million active users.
It feels good to have solved a real problem.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
My day starts with spending time with my kids and dropping them off to school. Post that I go to office until about 8.00 pm on most days. 8.00 pm to 10.00 pm is time spend on phone, family and friends (which is 80% work related phone calls where I pretend to spend time with family). I end my day with my favourite hobby i.e. reading before I go to bed.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
I co-founded the firm with 2 of my very dear friends and IIT and IIM alumni Akhil Gupta and Saurabh Garg. We met at our alma meter and had similar experience in house-hunting where brokers would charge heavy fees for very minimal effort. It gave us the idea to create NoBroker.com.
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