Founder Interview: zamoona.com
Real estate startups are coming back. For a long time, the big 3-4 online real estate portals were the only go-to resource for buyer & sellers alike. There were gaps in services, but not many were coming forward to address them. Over the past year or so, many young startups are identifying these gaps, from tranparency to user experience, and coming up with their own solutions. One such startup is zamoona. Anant Goel (Founder) shared more insights about the venture.
I like to call this the second coming of real estate startups. The first batch focused purely on amassing as much data as possible, whereas now we see startups focusing on the UI/UX and better search. What is the differentiation provided by zamoona?
By the very nature of real estate, it is inherent for a successful real estate portal to have quality researchable data. Thanks to the advances in technology, delivering and consuming ‘better UI/UX and search’ is also now much more feasible in India than it was say 5-6 years ago. In my opinion, neither data nor advances in UI can be a credible differentiator on a sustainable basis, but will define the basic survival of real estate platform.
zamoona differentiates itself as the only real estate market place that goes beyond property search and enables secure initiation, tracking and management of leads. It provides you with the ability to Advertise, Interact and Manage.
Advertise and search properties and requirements to buy, sell, rent and reach out to interested listings
Interact online or through anonymous calling feature (under testing) securely – without sharing your contact details
Manage all the leads, interactions on a secure dashboard and share your contact details only once trust is developed
And all these features are for free for all consumers – seekers as well as owners
Who is the team behind Zamoona and how/why did you choose the Real estate sector?
It’s Ashish and I at the core, complemented by a team of few individuals, together having over three decades of in house experience in technology, real estate and management consulting.
Early on, while we were researching various sectors, we felt that real estate is one of the most under served sectors, while the problems faced by consumers are so many and so huge. We picked a few and are trying to solve them.
Can you share some growth numbers since starting? Number of listings, dealers etc
zamoona is too nascent to talk about numbers. We are still in beta launch, adding on features and functionality as we speak, while taking continuous feedback from our stakeholders. We went live in the first week of October (7th to be precise) and are grateful to have a significant number of genuine owner properties and growing.
One practical/anecdotal problem that I have based on real estate search portals is that dealers list a lower price in order to get customer attention – and as the deal nears closure they revert to the true (often higher) price. Any checks in place to ensure true prices are listed?
Quoting a lower price to attract customer attention is an age-old practice to entice buyers/tenants. This unfortunately holds true even in developed and regulated markets. Real estate prices also, by their very nature, vary from floor-to-floor, house-to-house, road-to-road and pocket-to-pocket. We do provide flag a property and flag the creator (of the property), but I have yet to come across a way (technological or otherwise) to tackle this phenomenon. Further an estimate of property prices in the area is like a mirage – you feel good when you see it, but it doesn’t quench your thirst – neither for buyers nor for sellers.
My only thoughts would be that like any other deal – if it’s too good to be true, it probably is! One has to do comparative research and talk to few service providers/owners in a particular area, understand the unique features of each offering and then proceed cautiously to materialize a deal. zamoona aims to help by facilitating the data and corresponding interactions in a secure and a non-intrusive manner.
The general perception is that only a specific demographic in India uses online real estate search portals. What is your insight on this?
This indeed is true. Like any other industry, there is a segment of consumer that use Internet and a further smaller segment that transacts online. Our research revealed that while a major segment of internet savvy customer conduct their real estate specific research online, very few are willing to actively create a property or requirement – primarily to avoid the intrusions by sharing their contact details. The core belief behind zamoona is that people feel more secure and confident and hence we increase the pie of consumer using Internet for real estate search, interactions and transactions.
What is the next step for growth for Zamoona? More cities, funding or focus on expanding in current locations?
All of the above . We are currently very busy with NCR and would continue to focus on this region. We would love to expand to more cities but we will need much more in terms of resources – both capital and human to achieve that. We are constantly hiring and looking for more capable resources. While accomplishing the above, we want to make sure that we are in constant touch with our existing customers, take continuous feedback and provide them with features to help them transact better and quicker for their real estate needs.
What would your one tip be for aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you believe in something, do it! If it fails, there is no better learning! If it succeeds, there is no looking back!
More information at zamoona.com