This information is dated by a couple of months. It is important, though. In August this year, Quikr, the digital classifieds company said that its real estate vertical had performed exceedingly well. So much so that the business has become profitable. Quikr’s revenue for the year March 2018 is expected to be around Rs 170 crore ($23 million). As far as claims go, this was Quikr’s the world is our oyster moment.

Context: Just last year, ending March 2017, Quikr had a total revenue of Rs 109 crore ($15 million). Total. Not just the real estate business. Long-term readers of The Ken will know Quikr as a mish-mash of five different businesses, but that’s all it managed. And now, just a year later, the company claims that things couldn’t be better. Just one vertical has brought in Rs 170 crore ($23 million). Which brings us into the picture.

The facts of the case are as follows. In the year 2016, Quikr, a digital classifieds company, acquired Commonfloor, a real estate property listing website. For $200 million, in an all-stock deal. In 2015, just a few months before the Commonfloor acquisition, Quikr acquired Indian Realty Exchange (IRX), an app-based aggregator of property agents. For an undisclosed sum. That same year, Quikr also acquired RealtyCompass, another real estate listings company, which at the time claimed that it was a real estate analytics company. Except that the analytics part doesn’t deserve any serious exploration. Again, this acquisition was for an undisclosed sum.

Moving forward to 2016, post-Quikr’s acquisition of Commonfloor, and its appetite still wasn’t sated. Next on Quikr’s shopping list was Grabhouse, a real estate website for rental listings. Once again, an all-stock deal. Rumoured to be worth around $10 million. Then in 2017, Quikr acquired HDFC RED (through its acquisition of HDFC Developers) and HDFC Realty, an online real estate classifieds business and a real estate brokerage business respectively. For $54.8 million in total. Again, an all-stock deal.

Pink slips, layoffs, resignations

Commonfloor, which had 1,400 people when talks with Quikr began, was left with 200 staffers when the acquisition was completed

To lord over all of these acquisitions, Quikr created a business unit called Quikr Homes.

To a casual observer, all of the above may seem like parts of a serious plan to dominate the online real estate business in India. A country where buying, selling, renting, brokers, buyers, and sellers of apartments and homes and pads, are all a string of problems in a business that survives on opacity and distrust.

Indeed, it should have been. But it hasn’t panned out that way.

In the last three years, in a mix of stock and cash, Quikr has invested anywhere between $300-$350 million in the real estate business.

AUTHOR

Salman SH

Salman has around four years of experience reporting primarily on consumer internet, startups, and the telecom sector. Previously, he worked with the financial newspaper Mint, reporting on startups and consumer internet trends. Prior to this, he worked with MediaNama and NextBigWhat. At The Ken, Salman will look at startups, technology trends, and the government policies shaping up around them. Loud metal, moshpits, and local gigs are he what he lives for.

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