Startups in India are now focusing a lot on software and enterprise related issues which in turn has reached households. A number of startups have found a new arena to learn, improve and develop – apartments and residential complexes.
Few companies are creating customized softwares for such residential blocks so as to manage accounts, conduct meetings, reporting problems, monitoring movements in parked vehicles and providing an online social platform within these buildings.
Like any other entrepreneur there was something that triggered Sangeeta Banerjee to start ApartmentAdda, “there were numerous issues at my apartment that volunteers meeting on weekends could not address,” says Banerjee, a software engineer by profession who quit her well paying job to kick start her startup baby.
Along with the help of her colleague, Venkat Kandaswamy, she managed to pool 15 lakhs to set up ApartmentAdda’s physical location in Bangalore, a startup which has more than 1.5 lakh users today. With this Banerjee also expects the startup to earn revenue of around 7 crore by the end of 2014.
“We realised there was a vacuum in this space,” said 35-year-old Banerjee who expects the company to earn revenues of . 7 crore by the end of 2014. A number of entrepreneurs like Banerjee are setting their sights on this market that is estimated to be growing at 30% annually. Industry experts estimate that the market for enterprise resource planning software will touch Rs 3,220 crore by 2015.
“Apartment management system is less than 5% of the ERP market currently but, as more innovative tools are developed, the segment will grow,” said S Sadagopan, founder director of the International Institute of Information Technology in Bangalore that provides incubation for a number of young technology ventures. Raja Sekhar Kommu, an alumnus of the IISc, was working at software services company Wipro, when he realised that typical ERP solutions available in the market provided business management or accounting solutions.
“But apartments do not have manufacturing or production; what they need is customised solution that cater to the convenience of residents,” said Kommu who teamed up with his colleague Gokul Singh to set up ApnaComplex with seed capital of Rs 5 lakh.
The three-year-old company, which expects to earn revenue of Rs 1.5 crore this year, works on a direct-to-consumer model charging a monthly subscription of Rs 15 per flat. Kommu said his company’s software is being used in 2,500 residential complexes , even as he begins negotiations to raise initial angel investment of up to Rs 4 crore.
Realty developers are of the view that ERP systems will become a critical backbone as managing the needs of hundreds of thousands of residents is an enterprise-size task.
“Societies are using customised software not only for efficiency and convenience, but also because maintaining database of residents has become crucial from a security aspect,” said Satish Magar, managing director of the Magarpatta Development Corporation in Pune. The company, which has developed the Magarpatta City, is developing a range of in-house software.
For many residential complexes, the ease-of-use that customised software provides is a big draw. In Hyderabad, Aparna Sarovar with 1,200 flats has adopted the ApnaComplex system that comes with a mobile application.
“It comes with an SMS system and an Android app for instant access,” said Irfan Shaikh, treasurer of the apartment society, which pays an annual subscripta property search portal. “In our system, residents can pay bills online and share information,” said 29-year-old Vikas Malpani, co-founder of CommonFloor, which recently raised Rs 45 crore of risk capital from Accel India and Tiger Global.
Malpani expects his company to earn revenues of Rs 150 crore in the next two years. As more residential complexes go vertical, demand for management systems that include social media features will rise according to 36-year-old Jay Kinker, founder of Mundrisoft Technologies. The Pune-based company has launched a socialmedia enabled system Society-Hive which integrates a society’s website with text messaging, email and online payments. “Societies stay connected and are efficiently managed,” said Kinker.