In Conversation with… Amit Kumar Agarwal, Founder, Nobroker.in
Please tell us about what your start-up is?
NoBroker.com is India’s largest online real estate platform, where we connect owners, tenants, buyers, and sellers directly with each other without any brokerage in-between. We have become very large in the past seven years, we are continuously adding 4 lakh new customers per month, we have a total customer base of over 1.3 Crore. We are not just only on real estate, but we are also into rent payments, financial services, into no broker hood, which is large visitor management, financial management, and software for apartment societies. We are also a leader in terms of painting, cleaning, packers, and movers as we run India’s largest marketplace for packers and movers.
What are the hurdles that your start-up faced in the initial stage?
In terms of the challenges or hurdles that we faced in our start-up in the initial stage, I think I would say that customers have always loved the option of the closing deal without any broker in between, so thankfully we never faced challenges from the customer perspective, but real estate is a competitive field and we had to raise our funds to invest in a company, to make it larger so in the initial stage the challenges we faced was a too convincing investor that something like this can work because No brokerage is not a copy-paste idea from USA or China. It’s an original idea for solving a problem that is specific to India. So, investors have to ask us which is the Uber, or Amazon equivalent to this company and we said there is none because that is the problem, we as consumers are facing, I think the only challenge we faced was convincing investors that this a great business proposition but thankfully over the last seven years many investors has trusted us from American Investor like Tiger Global, General Atlantic, and investors from South Korea, Japan, and Singapore.
How important is teamwork in starting any start-up and how would you describe your team?
In terms of the importance of teamwork, I would rate it as extremely important, when you are starting a company, you have nothing but basically an idea and a passion towards doing something but apart from that there is nothing concrete so it’s the team which matters which means everything. So not only do we three founders, Akhil and Saurabh work very cohesively together but also, I would say that as time has passed company has become bigger, and now, I would say most of the work is done by my teammates.
The people who work with me are extremely passionate, they are very ownership-oriented. So many of the investors also asked us why is it so we have been able to run so many different businesses from home services to financial services to real estate under the umbrella of Nobroker.com and my answer has always been this is because of the great people we have on the team. I often say that the objective should be to attract good people, people with whom you can work cohesively not people who are intelligent but are difficult to work with because you spent most of the time in office so a very cohesive meritocratic culture takes the company ahead.
What differentiates your start-up from other players in the market?
NoBroker.com is completely different from every other classified player in the real estate space the reason Is that we don’t work with the broker we directly connect them with owners, tenants, buyers, and sellers. While every other classified make money from a broker and work with a broker, we ban broker on our platform. So Nobroker.com is a completely differentiated model there is no other company in the world which does what we do and on the scale what we do.
What were the setbacks that your start-up faced because of Covid-19?
Of course, covid has been a challenging time for everyone. For NoBroker.com it has been a mixed journey whenever a lockdown has happened the business has gone down because a customer cannot get out of their houses and see flats but overall if you see across the past one year Covid has helped us a bit so we have grown double in terms of revenue our customer base has grown aggressively because now more and more customers are wanting to come and try NoBroker.com and avoid brokerage and save money. In a pandemic, the tendency to save money, the tendency to not make a physical visit, and the tendency to use the internet and digital means to solve problems have been increased, so it has helped us a bit. But yes, overall, as a society these times have been challenging but in terms of business, we have done well. In the real estate buying and selling has seen a lot of attraction, a lot of traction and the number of closer, buyer, and seller have been increased in last one year.
What does the future look like for NoBrdoker.com in the coming years?
We are very excited about what’s going to come in the upcoming years. We hope that NoBroker.com will become a very, very large company with a very large market share and we hope that we will become a household name just like a company working in e-commerce, and food delivery. As we are serving a large number of customers and saving thousands of crores of brokerage per year and we hope we can continue to do this at an even more aggressive pace and continue saving money for our customers and adding value to their life.