When visitor and security management startup NoBrokerHood came to the market in 2019, it did a curious thing. After a short period of charging resident welfare associations (RWAs) Rs 10 ($0.13) per apartment per month, it made the decision to offer its services for free. Well, free for one year for new users but entirely free for societies using the services of older rival MyGate. 

Both NoBrokerHood and MyGate are mobile-based security and community management solutions for gated communities. Residents can allow or disallow visitors—guests, delivery agents, cabs, household help—through an app, and the decision is reflected on a mobile device with the society’s security guards. At the time of NoBrokerHood’s launch, MyGate, founded in 2016, was offering its services on a subscription basis. The company charges RWAs Rs 5,000 ($65.5) per month for the mobile device given to security guards. 

NoBrokerHood’s arrival left MyGate scrambling—the former scaled up to “12,000-plus societies in no time”, according to a former NoBrokerHood employee. MyGate followed suit with a ‘lifetime free’ plan ‘lifetime free’ plan ANI News MyGate launches lifetime free plan to help housing societies cope with post-lockdown realities Read more  in May 2020, pivoting to a freemium model—a free version with ads or a paid version without. That was then. Nearly two years later, the startup is almost unrecognisable from its former self. 

MyGate today offers a host of security management services, but it has also made inroads into offering multiple community-specific services. Such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions for RWAs to help with accounting, billing, expenses tracking; a Community Engagement Platform (CEP) called MyGate Club for big brands to interact with residents via curated experiences; community omni-commerce omni-commerce Omni-commerce Omnicommerce is an integrated “all-channel” retail approach that seeks to deliver consistent, seamless, personalised experiences that culminate in secure, frictionless payments.  with MyGate Exclusives, a member-only platform for exclusive deals. 

Near the end of 2021, it acquired MyCommunity Genie, a platform that provides an adaptive discounting model for residents to come together and buy as a group from more than 150 sellers in Bengaluru. It also launched property search marketplace MyGate Homes, in addition to tying up with real estate listings company Housing.com to expand the reach of its listings.  

The pandemic certainly played a big role in MyGate’s transformation into this many-headed hydra. The company is now present in more than 25,000 housing societies across over 27 Indian cities. But the pandemic only opened doors. MyGate’s decision to expand stemmed from the difficulties it faced with getting its customers to pay for its model.  

AUTHOR

Aayush Agarwal

Aayush covers businesses that are primarily Internet for The Ken. In his previous stint at Goldman Sachs, he spent slightly more than a year analysing investment opportunities in the China Internet space. A science graduate, he completed his postgraduate from the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode. Write to him if, among other things, you wish to talk about e-businesses, journalism or just offbeat career choices.

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