NoBroker becomes India's first proptech unicorn with fresh $210 million funding

·3 min read

An Indian startup that is improving the way millions of people in the nation lease or buy an apartment is the latest firm to become a unicorn in the South Asian market.

Bangalore-based NoBroker has raised $210 million in its Series E financing round, its founders told TechCrunch in an interview. Tiger Global and General Atlantic, two existing investors, and Moore Strategic Ventures co-led the eight-year-old startup’s Series E financing round.

The round values NoBroker, which has raised $361 million to date and counts Elevation Capital and Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma among its investors, at $1 billion, up from about $350 million in April 2020. There was no secondary transaction -- that is, sales of shares by any existing investors including the founders -- in the new funding round, the founders said.

NoBroker helps people looking to buy or lease an apartment avoid brokers, thus avoiding brokerage fees. The startup operates in several major Indian cities, including Bangalore, Delhi, Pune and Hyderabad. The startup has more than 7.5 million properties listed on its platform and over 16 million people have used its services.

Over the years, NoBroker has expanded to several additional categories, including financial services (to offer customers help with securing the rent, for instance), and home services such as cleaning, fulfilling furniture needs and movers and packers. These services are also independently available to customers who have not rented or bought a place from NoBroker platform.

NoBroker now also operates a service, called NoBrokerhood, that is aimed at communities to stay connected and manage and keep track of visitors. NoBrokerhood, which also allows society residents to buy and sell items from each other, competes with some of the offerings of MyGate, which is also backed by Tiger Global.

The new funding follows months of strong growth as Indian states relaxed lockdown restrictions earlier this year and mobility resumed. The startup has grown three times since last year, said Amit Kumar Agarwal, founder and chief executive of NoBroker, in an interview.

“NoBroker’s digital-first approach to efficiently solve renting, buying, maintenance and related needs for real-estate owners, tenants, buyers, residential societies and developers is paradigm shifting, said Shantanu Rastogi, managing director of General Atlantic, in a statement.

"Focused execution with a customer-first mindset of the founders bodes well for NoBroker’s continued penetration in this market solving for the toughest problems. In the future, NoBroker’s product stack will also find relevance in several under-regulated developing markets around the world. We are excited to be part of NoBroker’s continued success.”

Agarwal and startup's other founders -- Akhil Gupta and Saurabh Garg -- said in a joint interview that NoBroker will deploy the fresh funds to expand to 50 cities in a span of two to three years, up from six currently.

"We are seeing an upward trend in the property buying segment and this funding will help us deepen our investments in resale and primary sale verticals," said Garg.

India has produced over three dozen unicorns this year -- more than all other years put together -- after several high-profile global investors, including Tiger Global, SoftBank and Falcon Edge Capital, began to double down on the world's second-largest internet market earlier this year at the height of the ravaging pandemic.

In a letter to shareholders earlier this year, Tiger Global identified India as one of the few markets where it was planning to deploy billions of dollars. SoftBank Group chief executive Rajeev Misra said earlier this month that the Japanese firm has invested more than $3 billion in India this year and can invest up to $10 billion in the country next year.

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