Interview with Tanuj, IIM Alumni and Founder at Square Global

This is Tanuj's story and his startup Square Global:

Tanuj's, Square Yards is the No.1 pan-India organized real estate advisory for residential properties. Growing at a scorching pace, it has established presence in 20 cities & 5 countries across the globe within a short span of 18 months.

Backed by the competence & impeccable service quality of more than 600 employees across the globe, Square Yards offers a host of cross-border real estate investment opportunities to investors & home buyers. 

Tell us about yourself and your organization?

Tanuj Shori, founded and manages Square Global comprising of entities under 2 brand names – Square Yards and Square Capital.

As CEO of Square Yards, Tanuj has been instrumental in setting up the 700 people organization from scratch, building processes, driving sales targets, differentiating niche positioning and creating strong business development practices.

Today, the company has its presence in 20 offices across 5 countries and 14 cities of India. Many of Square Yards’ initiatives like CRM Technology, Global Intelligence Cell, Big Data Analytics driven decision drivers etc have now become industry benchmarks.

What are your company roots? What was the 'eureka' moment when you decided to start the company? Who initially funded it? Was there any angel funding /PE/VC funding involved?

Square Yards was born because we all were harassed home buyers.

After years of managing our personal investment portfolios in real estate, we were scouting for trustworthy real estate middlemen who could help us chose and transact the right investments conveniently. Lack of any such organized global option prompted us to start Square Yards 18 months back. We bootstrapped for around 15 months before raising USD6 Million from a clutch of investors in Hong Kong and Singapore

In 25 words or less, what are you all about? What problem do you solve and for whom?

Squareyards is the ONLY organized real estate advisory in India offering 360 degree services for realty investments around the globe with the best payout options

What is call to action for your customer segments? or your partners ? or your potential investors?

We are unique. There is not even a single company in India which has full stack capabilities to add value to each stakeholder in the ecosystem. Our customers get trust, transparency and the best value for their money. Our partners benefit from our expertise, ownership, global scale and execution capabilities.

How do you make money (or plan to make money)? Who are your primary customers and why do they choose you?

Being the ONLY organized real estate advisory in India offering 360 degree services, we serve home buyers through the entire lifecycle of property buying. Right from “Searching & Shortlisting”, “Site visits & Property identification”, “Transactional, financial & legal documentation” to “Post transactional support & Portfolio Management” we do it all for FREE! We make our monies through sales commissions and marketing fees from 500+ A category builders across the globe who partner with us.

A large chunk of our clients are NRIs and PIOs based out of Middle East, South East Asia, Australia, Africa, North America, UK & Europe. They have happily lapped up the opportunity to entrust their real estate purchase hassles to us.
While we continue to offer world class services to our Indian clients, we are witnessing a steady growth in the numbers of our NRI/PIO clientele. Since the past 2 quarters overseas transactions amount to roughly 40% of our monthly sales numbers. This figure itself is testimony to the need of the host of services which we offer why they choose us.

What are your marketing channels? How do you use social media for marketing? What are the platforms you primarily use for marketing? Have you outsourced your social media marketing or plans for future?

Over the past one year or so Squareyards has been featured by every leading daily including Times of India, Economic Times, Mint, DNA, Financial Chronicle, Financial Express, Business Standard, Hindu Businessline etc. Our inputs regarding various micro-markets in India and macro parameters impacting the industry are also featured by various publications and TV channels in their property supplements. Our pre-series A round of fund-raising got significant coverage on the internet with, VCCircle, Dealcurry, Inc42, magicbricks writing about us. The recent merger announcement with also got covered by around 16 media houses and portals. We are active on all forms of Digital & Social Media not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, G+, Pinterest, Slideshare etc.

However, since our business is very heavy on research, data analysis and financial models we have a robust email and chat engagement process in practice with existing and potential clients. We are working on building strong in-house social media marketing team with professionals from variegated experiences in Digital & Social Media marketing.

How big is your Business Development team? What is the current mix - purely technical vs MBAs? What are you plans for ramping up Business Development Team?

Our Business Development team liaises with Developers to structure deals exclusive to Square Yards. We have a total of 6 people around the globe working in Business Development, they are industry veterans and possess a variety of qualifications like MRICS etc. apart from being MBAs from premier institutions.

What are your dreams for your company?What trends do you see heading into 2014 and beyond that are relevant to your industry and company?

We believe we are on track on create a truly global organization. With the kind of platform we have created (India’s largest organized real estate advisory in a short span), we believe it will be collective leadership failure if we don’t achieve multiplier growth from here. Within real estate domain, we want to create pseudo monopoly with significant market share targets using multi distribution channels and creating one of its kind aggregator model. In terms of numbers, we wish to achieve 15% market share in real estate advisory space in a span of 2 years (which would imply 20x growth) and we believe these targets could be conservative. At the same time, we wish to command significant gold standards in client servicing and word of mouth brand building.

Technology innovation and sustainability will be key drivers for value in real estate industry in the coming years. To be in sync, we are taking various measures such as introducing augmented reality innovation ‘Scapes’ to home seekers by showcasing the homes and projects via virtual reality. We have also acquired an online search & discovery platform to ramp up our technology platform. One more important trend to look forward to in near future is the collaboration of Government in changing the landscape of real estate. One of such initiatives is Modi’s plan to develop smart cities in India. By our partnership with developers like Antriksh group who are developing Smart city in L Zone, Delhi, we ensure that we are in pace with current trends of the industry.

What are the biggest challenges you are facing in scaling your business up? What’s the #1 to # 3 thing on your To-Do list?

The biggest challenge as always, for Square Yards, is attracting high calibre talent to join our ever burgeoning ranks. #1 Aggregation – Launching and aggressively growing aggregator model in real estate broking #2 Going Global – Launching global products and residential business #3 Market Share – to gun for 15% market share in India primary residential market

Last but not the least, are you looking for hiring interns or full time managers for your company? If yes what is the best way to reach you or your HR?

Yes. Mark a mail to ( Refer IIMnet Interview in subject line)

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