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How selling my Flat in Mumbai led me to found my Startup

Hi Fellow Rodinhooders,

My greetings to all of you!

Before getting into details of my story, I take this opportunity to thank Alok Kejriwal for guiding aspiring entrepreneurs like us in our startup journey and for managing such an energetic community.

This is my first post on Rodinhoods after being a silent reader all these months. It’s about my story of what I used to do for a living and why I sold my Flat in Mumbai and which led me to found my startup. I believe my story is better narrated if it’s told along my journey from Dotcom 1.0 to Dotcom 2.0.

My Journey from  B2C Dotcom 1.0 to Banking software world:

After graduating with an Engineering degree from southern India, I started my career selling Auto loans in Delhi for Bank of America’s Direct Sales Associate. After a year, I founded my first startup in 1998 for selling auto loans and home loans on the web. I couldn’t sustain and scale but was lucky enough to know few senior people from ICICI Bank who have ventured out to set up a loan portal from Mumbai. I joined their newly setup software product division to build Loan origination system targeted at Banks. We built a first of its kind software in India, sold and implemented in a couple of Banks. Then the dot com bust came in 2000 and our product division was sold to ICICI Infotech.

At ICICI Infotech, I got the opportunity to go across continents to pitch, sell and implement our loan solutions. This was the time I bought my flat in Mumbai.

A year later, I moved to Malaysia and stayed there for 8 years to cater to Banks in Southeast Asian markets. There I got the opportunity to assist the Banks with best practice business processes for Home loan, financial planning and wealth management. Then after a 2-year stint in Singapore, I wanted to come back to India for good and start on my own again in the fin-tech domain leveraging my expertise in Home loans and wealth management business processes.

Then I sold my Flat:

When I came back, I sold my 1 BHK flat in Mumbai to consolidate and reinvest in my hometown. In spite of having spent over 15 years in automating end to end home loan processes for Banks and its Home loan customers, I was facing a lot of difficulties in knowing the right steps to be followed in the sale purchase transaction.

During my selling process, I went through a lot of decision challenges like rightly pricing the property for sale, should I refurbish or sell as is, do I engage with a single broker or multiple brokers etc. Upon finalizing the sale with a Buyer working as Investment Banker in real estate domain, we both had to run around between lawyers and Banks to learn the next steps in their transaction process.

That’s when I realized that there is no single party in the transaction chain i.e. Real estate search portals, Buyer Agent, Seller Agent, Buyer lawyer, Seller Lawyer, Buyer Bank etc to take end to end ownership in guiding the customer in how to go about with the sale purchase transaction like MOU or Sale Agreement, procedure with respect to TDS deduction filing, claim, procedure with respect to capital gain etc. So the learning was – customer journey in real estate starts much earlier than he touches the Bank for Loans and has so many intricacies which Bank does not get involved in guiding the consumer on how to go about with it.

Also, I faced issues in making decisions with respect to what type of property type should I reinvest in, which is better a plot or flat, self-construction or builder property, under construction or completed property etc.

My learnings from my personal real estate transaction journey led me to think about the hassles a first time home buyer planning to buy a house in future would have to go through. It also led me to think about the decision challenges a repeat home buyer would have to face while thinking of investing in real estate for various reasons like rental saving, passive rental income, wealth creation, wealth preservation and wealth transfer.

All these thoughts guided me to make a tool for first time home buyers and real estate investors to provide end to end journey guidance  from his/her point of start, motivation and desired outcome. That’s how Propwiser.com was born.

My Journey so far in Dotcom 2.0 Era:

We are a team of six people operating out of Coimbatore and working on Propwiser. Propwiser is being launched today, 1st April 2017 for beta users.

Propwiser is envisaged as the end to end customer Journey guidance tool across all phases of real estate journey like Financial planning, buying, owning, selling, rent-in, rent-out, tenancy management and portfolio management.

It provides guidance to consumers from the angle of financials, loan, taxation, legal and commercial aspects of Indian real estate. It’s not a listing, search and discovery portal but we aggregate data from all renowned property sources in India and facilitate a one-stop search cum decision management.

Eventually, it would become a platform for consumers to make decisions, connect with Service providers like Banks, Agents, Builders, and Lawyers – collaborate with them and with transacting parties to track transactions to closure.

The tool would be free for consumers and revenue would be from service providers like Banks, Builders, Agents, and Lawyers.

Why are we sharing this with you?

The idea behind sharing all this with Rodinhooders is to get your valuable feedback on Propwiser. Does it make sense to you? Have you personally faced any of these issues while dealing with real estate as a Tenant, Homebuyer, Landlord, Seller etc? Any particular area we should focus more on?

We would be very grateful if you visit www.propwiser.com and provide your feedback as early adopters of the tool.

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Founder & CEO at Inforvio Technologies

5 Comments

  1. Hi Shreedhar.. congratulations!!
    Inspiring story and the beta version looks promising. Conceptualization has been well thought through.. the tools for example. Apps which are upcoming will surely add more justice. UI and Content also great. Videos are well done. Overall – a neat beginning. You may want to think if you can move away from traditional emails system to keep customer updated or things like forming a propwiser community within, etc. Best wishes!

    • Hi Sandhya, Thanks a lot for taking your time out to review our offerings and for the wonderful and inspiring feedback. You made the day for me and our team!.

      Propwiser community is a great idea ! We are considering whether to do it within Propwiser or in facebook? Need to do some research on the pros and cons between the two approaches. Any advice on this is welcome.

  2. Hi Sreedhar,
    Congratulations for starting your StartUp of Dotcom.2 era !
    You are highly experienced in your field and surely have done great work in conceptualizing all the aspects of Propwiser
    But as you are aware, when it comes to Legal procedures and compliances etc. Home Buyer always wants a ‘Relationship Manager’ who can always be available to him to take care of everything.
    Also we Indians have this habit of taking ‘decisions’ on superficial data as digging deeper into information confuses us more.
    Most of the deals in real estate happens due to expertise of Real Estate Agents.
    My point is – your StartUp will be needing huge manpower of your own (apart from the Tie-ups) which your are doing.
    So clearly even if ‘Advising’ part looks easy here but ‘Execution’ part is tough for which you would have to device a proper time bound mechanism. All the best to and your team of Propwiser.

    • Thanks a lot Deepak for taking your time to look at our proposition and for sharing your feedback. I cant agree more with you that handholding cannot be purely digital and there needs to be a physical person to guide them through. We are thinking of call center based support by a Relationship manager who can guide the customer in homeloan selection, legal aspects, homeloan documentation etc. Wouldnt feet on street model be a costly affair and comparitively less scalable?

      • Hi Sreedhar,
        I am sure you are aware about how these Government Offices work. No paperwork gets completed in time if you don’t have contacts inside these departments. That’s why these Agents who knows how to get work done (of course by bribing) comes into play. This is harsh reality of India. That’s why I showed concern only about Legal Aspects and Compliances parts only. I am pretty sure rest of the things can be easily managed by Relationship Managers from Call Centres. Customers don’t release full payments till work is not complete and if you are charging them full money in advance then these Paperwork delay can cause you severe headache (dealing with corrupt Babus is quite a headache).
        Just discussed the practical issues which you might face in ‘execution’ part.
        Rest of the things are quite in place. All the best !

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