Today, India, is witnessing a formation of SMEs and start-ups, sustained by the government’s combined efforts to form a sustainable eco-system for entrepreneurs in the country. On the other part, the entrepreneurs—a large number of them being millennials—believe in sheltering global objectives and the mantra adopted by start-ups replicate their astoundingly ambitious outlook that was not prevalent till a few years back.
As we can see now more than ninety percent of people use the internet before buying a home. The real estate brokers have embraced online marketing with images of properties and virtual tours in order to lure their potential customers. Being technology-driven the real estate investment advisory, Square Yards offers a comprehensive, integrated menu of property & asset portfolio from developers across the globe. It is the largest prop tech and one of the largest Fintech distributors in India.
Founded in 2013 and on an accelerated growth path, Square Yards is the largest distributor of residential real estate in India, and it enjoys a virtual monopoly in the Non-Resident Indian (NRI) markets. Since its inception, Square Yards have facilitated property investments worth USD $1 billion to 12500+ satisfied customers worldwide through its direct presence in 40+ cities in 10 countries.
Square Yards also provides dedicated real estate allied service expertise through its group of companies. Its financial arm, Square Capital, brings further transparency, home loan assistance and knowledge capital in the mortgage decisions concerning the assets. Square Yards Fintech platform, Square Capital helps it distribute USD30-40mn worth of mortgages every month.
The marketing arm, Bling Marketing of Square Yards offers a wide range of services to the real estate developers like conducting global events, lead generation, media buying & brand promotion among others. Square Yards is building India’s first and largest mobile-based aggregation platform, Square Connect, for real estate brokers, independent financial agents and business professionals, providing them access to much larger inventory, opening up more possibilities and helping them increase productivity. Square Yards is also pioneering a unique cross border real estate platform marketing international properties to the global investors worldwide.
An Inspiring Leader of Square Yards
An IIM graduate, Tanuj Shori, CEO of Square Yards had more than 8 years of experience in Capital Markets before he founded Square Yards. During his tenure with Standard Chartered Bank, Lehman Brothers and Nomura, he worked with the Asia Pacific & US equity markets. Tanuj has been a fast achiever throughout, and apart from a strong educational pedigree, he rose to become one of the youngest Executive Directors in Nomura. In less than 4 years, Tanuj has led Square Yards to a dominant position in most of the markets it operates in.
Under Tanuj’s leadership, the organization has grown to 2000+ strong people and it currently boasts of net revenue rate of $2.5Mn per month (annualized ~ $30Mn). Company’s transaction run rate of 1500-1800/month (including both real estate & mortgages) is exponentially more than any online or organized offline real estate or mortgage player in India including some of the leading developers and NBFCs. It has raised USD40mn of capital since inception, from Reliance, HNIs, and capital market professionals and is gearing up for subsequent funding rounds.
Tanuj has been instrumental in setting up the organization from scratch building strong practices, an aggressive sales culture and enabling processes & technology. Many of the Square Yards’ practices like its unique sourcing strategy, multi-channel distribution, sales metrics & incentive structure etc. have now become industry benchmarks.
Taking Challenges as a Progressing Opportunity
At the start, Square Yards also faced a fair share of challenges concerning to growth, such as scaling, funding and recruiting the right talent etc. But the core values such as passion, aggression, integrity and transparency have worked as fundamental to its success.
Square Yards believes that they are on the right path of disruption, and it has always helped them be aggressive with its growth targets and the numbers spell out the success they have achieved. However, the biggest challenge the company face is in terms of human resources. Thus, most of the talent procurement of the company has been done from ancillary industries such as insurance, wealth management and banking. However, a large part of talent pool doesn’t consider real estate as natural career progression and thus, the struggle remains to actively grow the talent pool to keep up with aggressive expansion plans.
Real estate in India is a highly unorganized and fragmented industry. Even the leading developers does not have a presence beyond one city resulting in a limited market share. On the transactions side, there are barely any organized players operating on a pan India scale. The need of the hour, which Square Yards serves, is a large organized player, who can provide scale advantages to the ecosystem benefiting all stakeholders. Through the company scale, they have created a platform that not only attracts customers, but also developers, real estate professionals, independent financial agents, stock brokerage firms and financial institutions.
Serving Top-class, Trustworthy and Transparent Tactical Services
Square Yards stand out amongst other competitors thanks to its emphasis on offering completely trustworthy and transparent services to real estate buyers. Unlikely, many players in the real estate market, handhold the customer through the entire transactional life cycle from discovering property to, entering into an agreement also with documentation and taxation. They focus on after-sales services, which puts them apart in the market as does their durable relationship with developers and brokers. The company has the largest end-customer reach thanks to their presence across the world and its dominant position in the NRI market. Moreover, Square Yards relies on a multi-modal distribution network which augments its ability to deliver customers belonging to diverse demographics and markets.
Square Yards doesn’t merely offer an online directory of available properties to customers. It assists them with 360-degree support during their entire property buying journey. Their web portal offers deep research, data driving insights and unmatched decision tools that help investors zero in/on a location or project. The company also has an in-house mortgage team, which then steps in to provide loan advisory and documentation facilitation. They ascribe a dedicated relationship manager to each customer to support in the initial payment process, builder-buyer documentation and concierge services including hand-holding the customer till property possession.
For facilitating transactions, Square Yards brings the entire project inventory online through its proprietary e-commerce platform where customers can choose and block the desired unit by paying the booking amount online. Post sales, services are supported through a dedicated client portal for quick resolution of their service requests. This brings unprecedented transparency in the entire ecosystem while delivering best-in-class user experience.
Moving Forward towards the Goal
In an unstructured & an opaque real estate industry, Square Yards started with the primary aim of bringing back the focus on serving real estate investors satisfactorily by providing them with usable insights on various investment options and hand-holding them through the entire cycle of property purchase besides offering 360 degree services under one roof which also include home loan facilitation & mortgages. It’s altering the way real estate investments are looked at in India.
Square Yards believes if anything, real estate is the most important financial investment anyone makes in their active life. The passive nature of the asset class and lack of data and investment-led research points exclusively for cross border transactions make it mostly a domiciled investment. They are trying to transform this scheme of things through the use of technology and relevant data points.
Square Yards’ vision is to capture 15% share in primary residential sales in India over the next five years. They are now looking to replicate the success they have had in the country in the global market through efforts targeted at empowering discovery of global properties.
Square Yards understands that the major issue in India real estate is trust, delivery and lack of organized workforce. In the past few years, many developers have failed in satisfying their client’s delivery commitments as per the project timelines. To add, there are significant working capital challenges. As an intermediary, one of the major challenges is to resolve differences and disputes between developers and clients.
SQUARE YARDS is trying hard and has been partially successful in bringing positive change to the ecosystem by bringing in the best global practices such as developer due diligence, investment advisories, escrow mechanisms and tripartite agreement structures involving the developer financing entity. Going forward, with enhanced consumer awareness and Real Estate Regulatory Bill (RERA) kicking in, SQUARE YARDS anticipates to further plays a part in steering the industry ecosystem towards greater transparency.
Apart from continuing focus on Indian real estate, which should outlook a lion’s opportunity (~with 10x growth plans over 2 years); Square Yards is capitalizing aggressively into the International real estate, which is one of the fastest growing and most profitable segments of the business. It is currently building an International agency network of certified agents on multi-level revenue sharing model. Square Yards would increasingly swell to 25+ International markets to achieve its vision of becoming a largest global aggregator of the primary real estate.
Furthermore, in Square Capital, Square Yards is investing in the technology to form a multi-sided marketplace for complete paperless disbursal of home loans. Square Yards has planned to advance and invest in two new verticals; Square Connect and Square Care. While Square Connect is a broker aggregation platform, Square Care is a dedicated property management service for its NRI clientele.