Housing.com hoped to disrupt the online real estate market, but its plans were derailed after its maverick founder Rahul Yadav was ousted by the company’s board more than a year ago.
What followed were a range of pivots, and finally a $70-75 million merger with rival online real estate startup PropTiger.com.
The combined entity has also raised $50 million from Australia-based online real estate advertising company REA Group, and $5 million from Japanese telecom behemoth Softbank Group Corp.
The new company board will be add representatives of REA and Softbank. A representative of News Corp, which is the single largest shareholder in PropTiger, will chair the board, the companies said in a statement.
Dhruv Agarwala, co-founder and CEO of PropTiger, will become the CEO of the joint entity. However, Jason Kothari, CEO of Housing.com, has decided to move on. He will advise the joint entity through the transition till end of February.
PropTiger has been known for acquiring rivals. It acquired Maakan.com and digital design startup Oobi, in April 2015.
The joint entity wishes to retain the Housing brand.
In an earlier discussion with HT, Kothari had talked about Housing’s plans. It has closed all its services, except one -- connecting people to buy and sell houses, essentially the role of a broker.
”We are now focusing on just buying and selling residential property – that’s the biggest business in real estate, about 80% of all deals,” Kothari had told HT earlier.
Kothari had also said that in the next one to two years, Housing will focus on the offline market, of which the market is highly unorganised.
According to estimates, by 2030, India will become the third largest real estate market in the world with the sector contributing to over 15% of the nation’s gross domestic product. The joint entity wants to capitalise on this growth.
“With 1.2 billion people and a rapidly growing economy and middle class, India’s future as a real estate powerhouse is exceptionally bright, and we’re proud to be a part of this expanding sector. Clearly there is a compelling commercial purpose to the deal, but we also firmly believe in providing transparency, analysis and insight so that all Indian families, regardless of traditional background or means, will have a better understanding of the property market,” said Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp.