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real estate: Even with automation, real estate is going to be heavily driven by people & emotions: BeyondWalls’ Vikram Kotnis

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As the needs of homebuyers in India continue to evolve, it has become crucial for the developers and channel partners to understand and engage with the customers at critical points of their home-buying journey. Tech can play a role in this. Vikram Kotnis, Executive Chairman & Managing Director of BeyondWalls, says real estate in India, a multi-billion-dollar asset class, is gradually opening up to technology-led transformation. A tech-driven platform, BeyondWalls enables collaboration between real estate developers and channel partners to provide end-to-end offering for the homebuyers. In a chat with ET Digital, Kotnis talks about the challenges faced by the sector and how tech can address it. Edited excerpts:
Economic Times (ET): Technology has been around for quite some time, but it has not been able to make a big difference to the sector. What makes it so difficult?
Vikram Kotnis (VK):
The adoption of technology within the real estate sector, I agree, has been a bit slower compared with other industries. However, over the past few years, real estate developers have embraced digital transformation at an accelerated pace. They realise the value, speed, efficiency and disruption that technology adoption can bring to their businesses. Real estate developers are now turning towards technology solutions like AI, Big Data and integrated CRM, AR & VR to streamline their processes and innovate offerings to create enhanced customer experiences.

ET: Home buying is an expensive process that has multiple steps, people and procedures. Can the entire process be automated or can only a few parts of it be tackled through tech?
VK:
Consumer needs have evolved. Today, homebuyers demand an enhanced and hassle-free experience — whether it is discovering property options online or completing post-sales documentation — all with a single click. They want to be engaged across channels and want access to relevant information at critical stages in their home-buying journey. Technological solutions can facilitate a major part of the homebuying cycle. Property management solutions, accounting and financial solutions and CRMs have now become the norm.

However, this does not mean that technology will shrink the roles of traditional real estate stakeholders. Even with automation, real estate is still going to be heavily driven by people and emotions. So, while all the processes will be automated, they will be focused on homebuyers’ emotions.
ET: How big is the real estate market in India and the size of the property tech (proptech) market in India?
VK:
The real estate sector in India contributes about 6-7% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). It is expected to reach a market size of $1 trillion by 2030 and contribute 13% to the country’s GDP by 2025. The proptech segment in India has grown exponentially in the last few years and is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2030, from only $120 billion in 2017.

ET: What are the challenges faced by the real estate players in India and what is BeyondWalls looking to do?
VK:
One of the major challenges that industry faces is the lack of collaboration between developers, channel partners and homebuyers. BeyondWalls is a tech-driven platform designed to enable collaboration between developers and channel partners to provide a seamless end-to-end offering for homebuyers. The company helps developers gain sales velocity during project launches by augmenting their sales team and targeting the right set of homebuyers. It also offers developers curated services across the value chain — right from market intelligence to continued homebuyer engagement. BeyondWalls has a tech-enabled aggregation platform for channel partners that helps digitally transform their unorganised businesses and provides them with real-time access to project information and market insights.

ET: What has been the reception for the company’s products and services?
VK:
The firm has been operational in the Pune market for the past six months. During this period, BeyondWalls has successfully sold over 1,500 units of inventory across 20 projects and two townships in Pune and onboarded over 3,000 channel partners.

After its success in Pune, BeyondWalls has ambitious plans to expand to major markets like Mumbai and Bengaluru. The firm has plans to sell over 5,000 units of inventory in FY 2022-23 and onboard over 15,000 CPs to their platform.

ET: What would it cost for someone to avail BeyondWalls’ services?
VK:
As we have recently launched the platform so there is no cost for developers and brokers. But when we launch it for consumers, we plan to monetise it.

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