Technology

Indian listing portal lands $90M

Housing.com will use SoftBank investment to expand database, add 'on-off' buttons to properties

Locon Solutions, operator of Indian listing portal Housing.com, has nabbed $90 million in a funding round led by Japanese telecom behemoth SoftBank Group.

The raise provides the latest indication that investors see promise in India’s online real estate space, coming less than a month after another enormous conglomerate, News Corp., threw its weight behind another Indian listing portal, PropTiger.com.

Housing.com says it operates in over 45 cities and has over 350,000 verified listings along with more than 15,000 new projects. The company claims to have raised more than $121 million to date.

Housing.com plans to use the cash to map over 40 million properties across 300 cities in India, and provide “on-off” buttons to homeowners and agents. The buttons will convert the listings in Housing.com’s database into assets for the website by allowing a property owner or agent to flip them on to quickly list a property, Housing.com said.

Housing.com recently launched what it calls the world’s first interactive home-booking platform, “Slice View.” The company said it used the platform to exclusively market more than half of the inventory of four Indian home projects, and has received requests from various developers for similar campaigns.

The deal between SoftBank and Housing.com bears some striking resemblances to the one forged between News Corp. and Indian listing portal PropTiger.com less than a month ago.

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Both involve conglomerates with enormous market caps — SoftBank is worth around $72 billion, News Corp. $78 billion. Both involve large investments –$30 million by News Corp., $90 million by SoftBank — in Indian listing portals.

And both seem premised partly on the idea that the investing conglomerate can leverage other companies under its banner to energize the listing portal it’s invested in.

In announcing its investment in PropTiger.com, News Corp. said the site would benefit from the network effect of its various businesses and the specific real estate expertise gleaned as an owner of realestate.com.au operator REA Group and Move.

SoftBank said that its new “partnership” with Housing.com will help it “further invest in the digital infrastructure of India and build synergies with its network of Internet companies in India and around the world.”