Online realtor Commonfloor is the latest to join the list of new-age companies showing loyalty to "profitability", till recently not counted as a priority in the fast-growing e-commerce universe.
Defined by growth and GMV (gross merchandise volume), all major e-commerce companies have been in the red for years, while continuing to offer deep discounts.
Myntra, a prominent fashion portal which was acquired by Flipkart last year, was the first one to break the norm earlier this month and say it was targeting profitability by end of 2016. Online furniture company Pepperfry was next, talking of a positive bottom line in the next 24 months.
"We will definitely turn profitable in the next two years," Sumit Jain, chief executive officer and co-founder of Bengaluru-based Commonfloor.com, told Business Standard. This comes eight years after it was launched in 2007.
About 200,000 properties are listed on the site every month, out of which 50 per cent are sold out or rented out, he said. Currently, the service is available in 200 cities, and is likely to be expanded to 350 cities in the next one year. The size of online transactions mediated through real estate portals is expected to reach a sizeable number soon. Currently, only a miniscule portion of overall sales in the real estate segment takes place through the online medium.
However, the sector is divided over whether online would be a big part of transactions in the real estate space. Real estate consultancy firm JLL managing director, south, Juggy Marwaha, said, "Real estate is a look-and-feel product. It will be very difficult for sales to pick up through the online medium." In January, commonfloor.com raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Google Capital, the internet giant's late-stage growth equity fund.
Though Jain did not disclose the amount of funding, according to people in know, it was around $10-12 million. The funds raised by Google Capital will be used for bringing out more innovations. "We will launch a new innovation every quarter going forward," Jain said. The portal recently started virtual tours for resale and rental properties, which will allow users to take a 360-degree view of the site eliminating the need to visit the property in the initial phase. "Photographs are a thing of the past now," he said.
Earlier, in February, it had come with a new technology called Retina, which allowed people to see their under construction property virtually through a device. CF Retina, a combination of the app and the headgear (priced at Rs 999), helps a potential buyer get a near-real experience of a housing project that one is looking to buy or rent out. This is mainly for under construction projects.
Founded by Sumit Jain, Lalit Mangal and Vikas Malpani, CommonFloor has so far raised around $50 million in three funding rounds from Tiger Global Management and Accel Partners.
In September 2014, the company had raised $30 million from Tiger Global Management.
DRIVING THE IDEA OF PROPERTY HOME WITH TECH
Interested people can take virtual tours of the portal for resale and rental properties, allowing to take a 360-degree view of the site eliminating the need to visit the property in initial phase
- In Feb, it had come out with a new tech called Retina, which allowed people to see their under construction property virtually through a device