: Interview with Vishesh Dahinwal ( IIM A alumni) endeavours to find accommodation or renters for houses based on a user request and provide staff support to resolve these requests and also offer other value added services with suitable pricing. To know more about the organization, click here

  1. Who are the founders of your company?  What are your company roots? :


  1. Vishesh Dahinwal, Vishwanath Donti


  1. In 25 words or less, what are you all about? :
    1. An online marketplace to help professionals find accommodation by leveraging existing social network to crowd source the information and create trust.


  1. What problem do you solve? :
    1. Find accommodation or renters for houses based on a user request.
    2. Provide staff support to resolve these requests and also offer other value added services with suitable pricing


  1. How did you get started?
    1. The founders are part of the target demographic, and faced issues finding accommodation for themselves and a smooth process to do that.
    2. Sensing an opportunity, and evaluating competitive offerings, we found a niche and build the solution in 2011. Since then we have been refining it and building traction among users


  1. What makes your company special?  How is your product differentiated in the eyes of the consumer?
    1. Our site is purely focused on the rental market. It treats individual requirements as a request while providing tools for landlords and renters to close out the request.
    2. The site is primarily focused on professionals and recent graduates who frequently relocate and is a demographic that will be inclined to avail our services
    3. Our site does not act as a classified, but mirrors the offline rental market and hence is a tight blend of offline and online.
    4. Our competitors are sites like magicbricks, 99acres and local entrepreneurial brokers. Our portal can be used by brokers to enable their business though.


  1. How do you make money?  Who are your primary customers and why do they choose you?
    1. At the outset our service is free, so that we can build traffic and build virality via networking effects.
    2. Eventually we will charge for value added services as below
    • House management – End to End house management service, maintenance etc
    • Corporate serviced apartment services – Provide housing services to corporate for their short term and long term requirements via serviced apartments.
    • Transaction fees on various economic transactions – Brokerage, Deposit money financing, on ground staff support etc


  1. 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?
    1. We are already marketing on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. Also sharing of requests has been built into the application for users to share their requests among their friends.
    2. We will look at our establishing our brand and channelize market effort via                                         i.    Visits to universities during placement season so that people can raise housing request immediately 

                    ii.    Target large housing projects so that owners can put up apartments for rentals

                    iii.    Publish flyers at common areas such as super markets, malls etc

                    iv.    Targeted advertising financed by revenue model on national channels


  1. 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?
    1. So far we haven’t felt the need for a large business development team as it’s a C2C model
    2. Founders and few friends are marketing the site on alumni networks and campus events to minimize costs.
  2. What’s the #1 thing on your To-Do list?
    1. Grow the network and virality of the site by getting more user requests on board.
  3. What are your dreams for your company?
    1. Eventually we want to be a national player in the rental and second sales market.
    2. We want to be the leader in organizing this sector and lead the industry in providing solutions
  4. What trends do you see heading into 2012 that are relevant to your industry and company?
    1. Provide more and more information to end users for them to make better decisions. Information includes features of the house, rental trends in the market, ground support and hand holding and most important is closing of deals end-to-end.
    2. Provide targeted solutions such as a managed apartments module, or broker admin module or apartment complex management module etc.


  1. What’s your #1 need going forward… other than funding and customers, anyway?
    1. Brand awareness among the targeted community
    2. Fulfillment of as many requests as possible


  1. What are the biggest challenges you are facing in scaling your business up?
    1. Scaling up on user adoption.
    2. Initiating virality into the site


  1. This one is all you… Anything else you want to tell IIMnet community members?
    1. IIMnet is also among the target demographic and we would love to see as many members utilize the service and also provide feedback on how to improve it.
    2. Inputs on best practices from other similar sites and mentorship on how to take the site to the next level

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