FastFox Rental Properties Earn Over Rs 100Cr Annual Rent in Gurugram Alone
The annual rent paid by customers for properties sourced through FastFox according to Pallav is upwards of Rs. 100 crore.
Pallav Pandey is cofounder and CEO of FastFox, an online platform aggregating residential units for rent. An IIT Kanpur Electrical Engineering graduate, he is a founder Knowlarity (backed by Sequoia Ventures). He is an angel investor in technology ventures like Docquity, and Crown-it. Pallav is also the founder of Viplav Communications, India's first political consulting and analytics company that introduced modern enterprise quality market research and decision making to politics in India.
The problem FastFox solves is this: A typical customer looking for a house to rent checks around 14 properties over 12 days through 5-6 different brokers. It’s an extremely cumbersome and outdated process that makes no sense in the internet age. Thus, FastFox was launched with the belief that we could make the experience much simpler for people trying to find the right rental homes.
Pallav says, “We are operating within an extremely fragmented industry where we primarily compete with small-time brokers working in local areas. Although there are multiple large companies which have started operations in the rental space, most of them are focussed on specific segments, add to them the traditional online classifieds platforms.
There is no full-service provider like FastFox at present. While we may be competing with many players when it comes to specific services, there is no other player in the end-to-end rental home seeking domain other than us. So our goal is to consolidate the market by providing consumers with a wide range of services on a single platform, and ensuring a standardized, efficient and seamless customer experience”.
Through a unique and one-of-a-kind Open House framework, the platform identifies and ‘opens’ the best, most rentable properties for customers to visit during specific hours. Home-seekers can check all property related information online including 100 percent authentic property pictures and can then visit the properties at the designated Open House time.
Moreover, customers visiting a property can share their feedback by scanning the QR code through the FastFox app. This gets them handsome discounts on the service and also information of the most relevant home options available for visit immediately. The feedback is also critical for FastFox to continuously improve the selection of homes made available to customers.
FastFox has serviced more than 1 lakh customers in the past few years. Each month around 5,000 customers find rental homes through the platform. The typical target customer segments are young couples, families, and professionals below the age of 35 years who are looking for rental homes in top tier cities.
“40 percent of urban dwellers in India live in rented properties. The total value of this market is $32 billion, largely from rental revenues, of which $2 billion is generated from rental brokerage alone, each year. That’s the market we are looking to capture,” Pallav explained citing data from the Government Census.
The team of 70 at FastFox is based in Gurugram. Pallav adds, “Gurgaon [or Gurugram], as you know, is called the Millennium City, and is a highly lucrative real estate market considering the vast presence of corporate organisations and multi-nationals and the sheer number of people they employ. A significant number of these employees come from other parts of the country, hence the demand for rental properties is very high. This includes a large number of mobile users and digital consumers, not to mention a sizeable migrant population coming from different parts of the country for jobs. This makes it one of the most high-growth markets for rental businesses.
We have registered a growth of 20 percent month-on-month in sales by value on the platform in the last 6 months”.
The annual rent paid by customers for properties sourced through FastFox according to Pallav, is upwards of Rs. 100 crore.
One of the biggest challenges of operating a residential renting platform is finding available rental inventory in the market to service the burgeoning clientele. Having a solid inventory database can make or break a service provider in the rental real-estate market, and it is necessary to quickly build a vast data pool.
Pallav says, “The way we solve this problem is by partnering with various parties such as brokers, affiliates, and home owners directly to acquire the majority of inventory available in the market. Through both current & historic data, as well as machine learning, we select and open the most ‘rentable’ options for customers after evaluating them on the basis of 108 diverse parameters”.
Till date FastFox has raised close to $7 million. They are backed by a consortium of institutional venture capital investors led by Lightspeed India Partners and Blume Ventures. They plan to raise more external funding within the next 6 months to achieve two goals: Gain 15 percent market share in Gurugram in FY 2019, and to expand operations in three other key metros, Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore.
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