Kerala-based proptech startup BuildNext has raised USD 3.5 million (about Rs 27.7 crore) from investors, including Pidilite Industries’ subsidiary Madhumala Ventures.
Started by IIM Bangalore alumni Gopi Krishnan V and Finaz Naha, BuildNext was incorporated in 2015. It started providing branded home building solutions in Kerala and Hyderabad from November 2019. The pre-series A funding round was led by Pidilite Industries’ wholly owned subsidiary, Madhumala Ventures, the company said in a statement.
Existing investors Konglo Ventures, Vineet Kumar (CEO, Native) and Deep Gupta (FatEngine) also participated in the round, among others. BuildNext will use the capital from the latest round of funding to further expand its R&D capabilities and upgrade its virtual reality technology experience centres. It will also expand into new markets such as Bengaluru, Chennai and Coimbatore while strengthening its foothold in its existing markets.
Gopi Krishnan, Co-founder and CEO at BuildNext, said, “Our aim is to use our custom technology platform to drive transparency and overcome inefficiencies in the entire process of constructing and designing a house.” “Pidilite’s faith in us is a strong reinforcement of our vision and plans. These funds will help us establish a strong presence in South India, and help us achieve our goal of adding 1,000+ homes to our current portfolio,” Finaz Naha, Co-Founder and COO at BuildNext, said.
The company offers premium building experience to customers right from design to handover, including complete customisation and virtual reality walk-through. BuildNext’s target market is 1-5 floor single or multi-family residential projects starting at 1,500 sq ft area per home. Its IT-enabled construction and interior service leverages a breadth of in-house tools and technologies for visualisation, estimation, product selection, procurement, budget control, project tracking.
BuildNext has also built its own project management application which is available for customers to track the construction through a mobile app. The customers also get daily summaries of activities at their work site. During the COVID pandemic which hit India in April 2020, the adoption of technology in Indian real estate has increased and, as a result, investments in proptechs, too, have increased.
According to Housing.com’s report, India’s proptech sector has attracted over USD 551 million in 2020, surpassing investments of USD 549 million in 2019. In its recent report, CII and Colliers India estimated that investments in proptech firms could touch USD 1 billion in 2025, almost double from the 2020 level. “Technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) were being utilised pre-pandemic. However, the adoption of such technologies increased manifold over the last two years,” the report added.
Last month, PropShare raised USD 47 million (around Rs 367 crore) from investors, including WestBridge Capital, to ramp up hiring, strengthen technology and offer more asset classes for investments on its platform. Bengaluru-based PropShare, which was founded in 2016, is a technology-driven real estate investment platform that enables investors to purchase commercial real estate assets. In June, Settlin, which is into brokerage for resale homes, raised USD 1 million (about Rs 7.7 crore) from investors to expand business.
In October 2020, Australia-based REA Group Ltd and US-based News Corp fully acquired Elara Technologies, which owns three leading realty portals Housing.com, Makaan.com and PropTger.com. Bengaluru-based NoBroker.com raised USD 210 million from investors in November last year at USD 1 billion valuation to become the first unicorn in proptech sector. NoBrokers.com, which was founded in 2013, is a one-stop shop for all property related needs from renting, buying, home services, financial services and society management. It does not charge any brokerage from customers.
Among other major deals in proptech space this year, Xanadu Realty, which helps builders in design, marketing, and sales of properties, received strategic investment from HDFC and HDFC Life Insurance Co Ltd. In May, HDFC acquired 7.2 per cent stake in Loyalie IT Solutions Pvt Ltd (now Reloy) for Rs 1.1 crore. Reloy, which is primarily into managing the customer loyalty programme and generating referral sales for real estate companies, had in January raised Rs 5 crore from investors, including Inflection Point Ventures, to expand and grow its business.
Proptech firm Square Yards, which is into housing and home loan brokerage, is planning to launch its Initial Public Offer (IPO) to raise funds. Real estate consultant Anarock, which is mainly into housing brokerage, has acquired 75 per cent stake in myHQ, a booking platform for co-working spaces, in a cash and stock deal of around Rs 125 crore.