We are publishing an interview of Ms. Khushali Thakkar – an associate of Jagaha.com – A Mumbai based startup.
Please tell us about the founders
Otis Critchley is the founder and is an American who moved to Mumbai 5.5 years ago back in October 2011 and has an extensive background in the stock market as well as in real estate. He started Bandra Rentals to help expats get settled into Bandra and the surrounding neighborhoods in Mumbai – this was after his first real estate experience in Mumbai where he saw over 60 apartments before he decided on one, not because he was picky (or so he says ;), but because he was not able to filter apartments, the brokers had never seen the apartments themselves and they didn’t pay attention to his budget showing him places that were 3X his quoted budget nor did the apartments fit his basic requirement.
Over the years Bandra Rentals slowly expanded and got into office space rentals – one of their clients asked if we do commercial space and of course the answer we gave was “absolutely!”
Finding an office space in Mumbai for the client was not an easy chore and during this time we approached real estate brokers, had to go to property sites such as 99acres Mumbai & Magicbricks Mumbai which were less helpful than the brokers we contacted! Fake posts were the norm – a means for realtors to get leads from clients, the intention was not to add value for the user we found out soon thereafter.
We saw this opportunity and decided to do something about it and on April 22nd, 2016 Jagaha.com was launched after many many months in the beta phase and even more months getting the site sorted from scratch including building out our own proprietary code.
I started working with Otis in January 2016 after visiting the Jagaha.com office which was operating out of a bungalow in Bandra West where I had come when he was meeting with the entire team and the team of website developers as they were going over Jagaha.com’s beta version I was more than impressed and coming from Housing.com, I was well aware of design and UI and felt that Jagaha.com was top tier. I accepted the position and here we are just one year completed since launch!
What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
In short transparency in the Indian property market, namely commercial properties in Mumbai. Let’s put it this way – if looking for an office or a retail property where would you go? You could go to realtors and try your luck there (to be fair there some excellent realtors out there and many we do business with on a daily basis) or you could try to go to one of the property portals, but the standards are quite low frankly in that only a small number of the properties are verified. Please take a look at the two blog articles we wrote on this subject recently.
Now why is it important for Jagaha.com to verify all the properties with real pictures/videos and correct information? In short, we are saving companies precious time. Wouldn’t it be better to properly filter through the next office spaces (or restaurant/retail space) online first before going and visiting each one without knowing what it looks like similar to Otis’s experience many years ago looking for an apartment in Bandra? Not to mention, that those going to look for properties for their company are usually the owners if not C level people. We as a company are essentially as valuable as the amount of time we save our clients in finding properties in Mumbai successfully!
Now we can also claim that we have more commercial properties on our site in absolute terms (and of course all verified) than any other property site when it comes to commercial properties in Mumbai – more than Magicbricks Mumbai and more than 99acres Mumbai.
Jagaha.com has the inventory and the quality for office and retail properties in Mumbai.
What is the uniqueness about your Startup?
– We are a team of fifteen (soon to be 20) and half female.
– We only do commercial real estate (we are specialists in the space)
– 100% of the properties are verified
– We have more commercial properties in Mumbai than every other realtor by a mile and even more properties in the space than Magicbricks Mumbai and 99acres Mumbai
– We have a YouTube Channel with all the properties there
– We DO NOT run an advertisement model like the other property sites
– We have our team of Mumbai commercial real estate experts that can help from start to finish from the initial strategy call to filtering down the right properties to the inspection to negotiation and handling all legal paperwork.
– All properties listed by the carpet area (the usable area) and not built up as that is not what the user wants. Take a look at this blog article: http://www.jagaha.com/blog/search-by-carpet/
– Map functionality, as one moves the map on the results page the results change which we found that is what our users wanted in the Mumbai commercial real estate space
– Posting is free for landlords and developers and not only that, for no cost we actually send a member to every single property you find at Jagaha.com to inspect the property, take pictures and verify the information.
– We only accept posts from owners and developers to ensure such quality
– The Jagaha.com team takes the call! Whenever their is an inquire we take the call as the calls come to us so the landlords and developers are not bothered by every single inquire as many can be fake.
What is the revenue model? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium.
Premium etc. ? Explain your thought process.
Since we are bootstrapped we have to make money somehow early on… we didn’t want to do the advertisement model so early on as our main goal was, is and will be to provide accurate information to improve the search process for commercial properties in India. And if we took advertisement money then we would have to post what we were told to post and that would hinder quality. So we decided to go the route that few other property sites have gone and that is through transactions. So the only way you have to pay Jagaha.com is if you close a deal through Jagaha.com whether it be a property seeker or a landlord or a developer of a commercial property in Mumbai. We charge what would have been already charged – we think that’s a pretty fair deal!
Who are the consumers that you are targeting? How is this going to affect them?
Realtors, landlords/developers and those searching for commercial properties in Mumbai. It’s simple we provide accurate information, pictures and videos which benefits users that come to our site looking for properties for themselves or for their clients and in turn, that generates traffic for owners and developers to showcase their properties with if you don’t mind us saying, a terrific user interface. In short, we are saving energy and time (and what’s more valuable than time!?) by connecting buyers/renters with sellers/lessors.
What is the big picture of your startup? Will it lead to something bigger? If so, how?
The bigger picture is to continue to reduce the time spent and improve the experience of those looking for properties and of course those looking to sell or rent our their properties. We believe that in bringing transparency to an industry that is some may consider unethical and where plenty of black money has been parked – we believe that the best antiseptic is sunlight and if we can help do our part to fight corruption in this country, then Jai Hind!
Any other information about your startup that you would like to share with us.
We have recently entered the coworking space as we have increasingly seen a great deal of interest in this category of commercial real estate. New changes to our website will be reflective in the coming weeks.