Proptech startups see huge potential in Indian real estate market

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Bengaluru-based proptech startup, Smarter Dharma, is aiming to bring about a change in the construction industry by improving the resource efficiency in the real estate sector. This six-year-old startup is working with many real estate players in the country and leverages technology to deliver cost and resource efficiency for the sector and has helped it save up to 2,500MWh plus of energy, 4,000KL of water and avoided up to 1,400 tonnes of waste. Similarly, there is another proptech startup, WEGoT that provides water usage monitoring and analytics for residential complexes and has till date helped save more than 550 million litres of water across 25,000 homes in the last three years.

Though the market for proptech startups—technology startups focusing on the real estate market—is still in a nascent stage in India compared to the West, the potential is huge as many new programmes such as housing for all, affordable housing etc are expected to increase the demand for technology in the real estate sector. Many of the proptech startups are part of one of Asia's first real estate focused Startup Accelerator Program known as Brigade REAP that was initiated by the Bengaluru-based real estate major, Brigade Enterprises Limited. This programme, launched in 2016, focuses on technology startups whose end product or service is applicable in the real estate industry, be it residential or commercial projects. The sectors could range from internet of things, nano technology, cleantech and renewable energy, logistics and visual computing. The Brigade REAP also has industrial partnerships with organisations such as CBRE, Cisco, IIM-CIIE, Intel, Microsoft and Nasscom.

“The market for these proptech startups in India is still in a nascent stage but the potential could be huge. Every real estate player wants to increase efficiency and control costs. The technology of some of the proptech startups can be tweaked to suit the requirement of the real estate players. Off late, we are witnessing that there is a willingness on behalf of the real estate players in India to embrace technology. We try to create a platform for the proptech startups and connect them with other real estate players. Around 40 per cent of the proptech startups who have been part of our accelerator programme have raised additional funds. We give them live projects to work on where their technology can be customised as per the requirement,” Nirupa Shankar, executive director, Brigade Enterprises Limited told THE WEEK.

Many interesting proptech startups offering unique technologies have benefited from the accelerator programme that is based in Bengaluru. Ever since the programme started, around 21 proptech startups have graduated from this programme. Clairco is one of them. “We are helping businesses ensure cleaner air in their indoor spaces. Through our solution, we can even provide insightful and real-time date that helps measure and understand the air around us. We have a specialised dashboard that helps us do that. Our air purifiers can be customised as per the requirements of any new building or any old building. Moreover, we have a subscription-based model and we charge as per the usage on a monthly basis. The customer does not have to worry about service around our solutions as well. Over one lakh users have used our services till date,” Aaysuh Jha, founder and CEO of Clairco, told THE WEEK.

Another Bengaluru-based proptech startup ECOSTP Technologies Limited is helping in setting up sewage treatment plants that can run without wasting water and power. “When it comes to setting up a sewage treatment plant, many apartments and commercial complexes across India consume a lot of power. Our technology can help in saving power as it can work without wasting water and power as we use anaerobic bacteria for sewage treatment. We have treated up to 9,738KL of wastewater and saved upto 15MW of power in the last two years,” explained Tharun Kumar, the co-founder of the company.

Similarly, Pune-based proptech startup RENEWATE has a platform that is aiming to integrate multiple unorganised players and contractors in the renovation space. On the platform, the players can plan their estimate and can even get a visual feel of the future finished product. The company till now has onboarded more than a thousand contractors and have helped renovate close to 5 million square feet of space across the country.