The Japanese telecom giant led the round in the property search company, with additional participation from Falcon Edge and other undisclosed investors. This new raise takes Housing.com to $121 million in investor money over the past two years. Notably, SoftBank said it is now the company’s largest shareholder, although it didn’t reveal the size of its investment/stake or Housing.com’s post-money valuation.
PropTiger raised $30 million from U.S. media giant News Corp just last month, showing that there is investor demand in India’s online real estate space. Unlike its rival, which covers 12 cities and offers consultancy and loan services in addition to search, Housing.com covers more of India and is entirely focused on connecting viewers with potential leasings and sales.
Housing.com claims its service includes over 350,000 properties and 15,000 new developments across 45 cities in India. In an interview with TechCrunch, Advitiya Sharma — co-founder of Housing.com — said the company plans to use the capital to expand to cover 40 million listings across over 300 cities in the country.
Sharma, who was inspired to start the company after experiencing the annoyance of India’s many fake rental listings as a student, said Housing.com plans to significant expand its staffing numbers from 1,500 right now.
That increase will primarily be down to covering an expansion of its in-house data collection team — which visits, details and vets information and photos of every property on the site — as it moves into tier-three cities in India.
The company has also just introduced an ‘on/off button’ that helps landlords easily relist their properties once a new tenant’s lease is up. Thus if they found their occupant via Housing.com, they can easily find another one that way when it is time.
Sharma further explained that Housing.com is working on expanding its focus on its Slice View new development booking service after seeing success with an initial clutch of exclusive sale projects.
Housing.com secured exclusive agreements on four new developments across three cities in India. Sharma said it sold more than half of the units — with a gross merchandize value of around $10 million — within just five days, with buyers located as far away as Africa and the U.S..
Sharma added that the company isn’t likely to need new funding for at least a few years, if at all.
“Our business was already in a good financial state, but we wanted to grow very very fast which is why we have taken this funding,” he explained.
“The Housing.com team has a great vision and deep insight into what it takes to build great products, and transform the way people research and transact in real estate.” said SoftBank vice chairman Nikesh Arora in a statement.
This investment in Housing.com follows a SoftBank-led $210 million round for Ola, an Uber rival in India, in November.
The company, which also put $250 million in GrabTaxi in Southeast Asia earlier this month, recently announced plans to invest as much as $10 billion in startups in India and other parts of emerging Asia over the coming few years. That means that we’re likely to see plenty of other funding windfalls for developing businesses across the region.