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Exclusive Interview with Hitesh Singla for RealtyNXT

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Hitesh Singla, Co-Founder & CIO at Squareyards

Billed as the largest real estate brokerage platform, the journey of Square Yards from a nimble start-up to a force to reckon with is replete with stories of sweat, determination and perseverance.

Square Yards is a proptech start-up driven by data analytics and proprietary technology that guides customers to zero in on homes that are in sync with their tastes, lifestyle and pockets. 

The brainchild of husband-wife duo, Tanuj Shori and Kanika Gupta Shori, Square Yards came at a time when property buying in India was a complicated mess. The company came into existence with a vision to ease real estate shopping by bridging the information gap and turn it into a hassle-free and delightful experience. 

Breaking ground in 2014, Square Yards now has a footprint in 10 countries including India, with more than 3000 employees across the globe; and there is no stopping!! 

REALTYNXT got in touch with Hitesh Singla, co-founder and CIO at Square Yards, for a tete-a-tete to know more about the company’s business model, their work ethics and future scaling plans. 

1.What problem statement is Square Yards solving and what all technologies has the company adopted to address them?

Our tech solves the typical real estate data asymmetry through search and discovery, it brings standardization and comparative market analysis, it helps reach to a wider target audience, it can help manage and digitalize the documentation, it helps scale the sales processes, and much more. 

Square Yards looks at proptech as an assisted sales process, wherein data, products, leads, automation drive the value chain, with an agent acting as a conduit to deliver these. 

A home buying decision is not an easy one. More so if the information regarding real estate products is unclear or lacks credibility. In such an unstructured and opaque real estate industry, Square Yards has imparted innovative makeovers by bringing the focus back on the convenience of the buyers. 

We have done this by; 

a) Adoption of Inventive & Unbiased Analytics & Usable Insights to guide buyers through initial search process 

b) Effectively hand-holding the buyer through the entire cycle of property purchase 

c) An objective of offering 360-degree services under one roof that includes mortgage, 

d) Use of a Multi-Modal distribution network that has a technological DNA but is augmented with a massive global on-ground sales force 

e) Build strategic partnership with developers and offer high Return Focused Investment Products. 

2.As a start-up, do you think that change is good and that the company should adapt to new things with time? 

Look, change is a never-ending process. The world around us is always in a state of flux and if you don’t match yourself with the pace, you will be left out in the lurch. We as a proptech entity are adaptive to change. We even welcome it. We are adopting new technologies in our growth journey so that we can serve our customers better and surge ahead of our competitors. 

3.And what about core values? Do you think one should adhere to them?

Of course! Core values are the essence of a company’s identity. They reflect the ethos and shape the culture of a company. At Square Yards, we maintain transparency with both the customers and developers so that decision-making processes are smoothened, and clarity is maintained throughout. 

4.What is Square Yards’ current business model? What are your current sources of revenue?

Square Yards markets and sells properties from Grade-A real estate developers to home buyers and investors across the globe. For every property transaction, while we keep our services free for the customers, we charge a commission from the developer. 

5.In terms of technology, where do you see your company in the next five years? What are your targets for next year?

Technology is the heart of our business. For us, technology is what sets us apart from other incumbents and start-ups in the markets. 

We recently unveiled our state-of-the-art AI enabled solution known as EDGE. This will further smoothen customer experience and in the same breath add impetus to our transaction count and the resulting GTV. 

In the next five years, our goal will be to shorten the home buying cycle from 60 days to 15 days. This will lead to quicker transactions. 

We are manufacturing technology for three entities-employees, developers and clients. The inhouse technology for employees is futuristic and up and running. Our next challenge is to bridge the gap between customers and developers by making them more adaptive to our technology. 

6.The Azadi Tour conducted recently was a rousing success. Talk us through the idea behind the tour and the response the company got. 

Yes, the Azadi Tour was the start to Square Yards’ Mega Real Estate Fests, Season -2. Held at 22 cities across 9 countries from 23rd to 25th August, the aim was to bring the best projects to home seekers, from the who’s who of developers. We brought exclusive offers to our clients. We dropped discounts on projects and the results were nothing short of delightful.

We clocked 891 transactions through a footfall of 7100+ and managed to sell a whopping 500cr+ inventory. I think this unprecedented success speaks volumes about the trust customers have in us. 

7.What can we expect from Square Yards in the coming years, say 5 years down the line?

We want to expand our footprint in the tier 2 and tier 3 cities in India and bring affordable homes to the lower- and middle-income groups. Our target is to capture 20% of the market share.

8.Who are your current competitors and how much of the Indian market share does Square Yards hold currently?

We have a current market share of 2%, though it’s a huge market open out there to consolidate. 

9.Are you open to work in collaboration with other proptech companies?

Yes, we are open to collaborate with other proptech companies, provided they have an altruistic bent of mind and come to a consensus that augers well for both companies. 

10.What is your observation about the future of proptech in India?

Proptech in India is still at a nascent stage as compared to the West. But the potential is huge. With programmes like Housing For All fuelling the demand for technology, the future of proptech is bright. Consumers are imbibing technology rapidly and to meet their expectations, real estate companies are veering towards technology. Proptech will increase efficiency and deflate costs. 

The residential real estate is set to balloon with rapid urbanization across India and whenever affordable housing distribution to the urban class through technology is considered, Square Yards is one of the first brands that come to mind. 

ALSO READ : Exclusive Interview Of Paras Arora The Founder & CEO Of Qdesq


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