From anonymous gossip to bricks and mortar… Indian real estate search engine and listings site CommonFloor, which last January raised $10.4 million from Tiger Global and Accel to expand beyond property listings, has acquired mobile local social app Bakfy, an anonymous gossip app for students.
The value of the acquisition is not being disclosed but Bakfy co-founder and CEO Ashutosh Garg confirmed to TechCrunch the deal is a mix of cash and equity. The startup was founded around February last year. It had raised a small seed round and rolled out its service to around 60 colleges in India, gaining some 5,000 users.
Bakfy will now be shut down, Garg confirmed, as CommonFloor is not about to branch into anonymous student gossiping. Rather it has its own groups feature which Garg characterized as a social network for apartment buildings.
“[CommonFloor Groups] is a similar hyperlocal social network for apartments,” he said. “That’s where the synergy is. They want to focus more aggressively on social and mobile, and they liked what we were doing so they decided to get us on board.”
Bakfy had previously self described as ‘Secret for colleges’. But given the latter’s travails to make anonymish social networking stick without things getting too sticky content-wise, so to speak, the startup grabbing a swift exit from a hyped but shaky space to a solid growth market (online real estate) clearly ended up being a no brainer for Bakfy’s three founders — whatever the deal’s cash value.
For evidence of the perceived growth potential in India’s online real estate market look no further than a $90 million funding round from Japanese telco SoftBank for the Housing.com property portal, last December.
On the CommonFloor side, the acquisition is a talent acqui-hire with all three Bakfy co-founders joining as “entrepreneurs in residence” to help it build social and mobile products.
Speaking to India’s Economic Times, CommonFloor CEO Sumit Jain said: “Talent acquisitions is one of the best ways for us to get teams on board, which are collaborative and entrepreneurial, think out-of-box and are hungry to develop disruptive products. We are bullish on mobile and Bakfy team brings a proven capability of scaling up a mobile-only social network in India, which is quite unique.”
Garg conceded anonymous social networking is a difficult space to monetize, but also talked up the growth potential for real estate market he and his co-founders are now jumping into. “We were much more excited about the fact that the Indian real estate industry is one of the fastest growing industry’s in India after ecommerce,” he added.