July 21, 2024
Citynect – An Ahmedabad Based Proptech Startup Building Rental Ecosystem around Bachelors Housing

Citynect – An Ahmedabad Based Proptech Startup Building Rental Ecosystem around Bachelors Housing

Surat (Gujarat) [India], June 20: In the bustling urban landscapes of India, thousands of working professionals, especially bachelors, face significant challenges in finding suitable, scam-free accommodation that meets their needs for safety, comfort, and community.

Traditional online portals and broker networks often fall short, leaving them vulnerable to scams, high fees, and unsuitable living conditions, while women face additional challenges of safety and harassment.

The issue became personal for Hemant Solanki as he assisted a friend, a working professional dissatisfied with PG accommodations, in the search for a more suitable flat.

Despite exploring online portals like Magicbricks and Housing.com, Hemant’s friend found no help and had even been scammed by two brokers.

Hemant expanded his search efforts. He delved into online flat and roommate hunting groups, revisited online portals, and reached out to over 100 individuals. This eye-opening experience made him realise that the problem is not limited to his friend but affects a vast number of individuals.

To address this problem, He founded Citynect, a safe and helpful community for connecting bachelors in the city.

The initial challenges

The beginning for them wasn’t quite easy as he faced multiple challenges, including understanding the market and current solutions offered by existing players in the PG and hostel segment.

While researching, he realized that most PGs and hostels catered mainly to students, not for working adults who wanted a bit more freedom and their own space.

Another significant challenge was establishing a trustworthy community. Hemant created a community on WhatsApp instead of Facebook to have more control and remove unnecessary people.

“Initially, people were hesitant to trust us, but we persisted in promoting the community. It grew from 3,000 to 10,000 members in just a few months entirely through user referrals, with zero spent on marketing. This built our confidence as people were paying us for our help,” Hemant says.

They recalls that back in March 2023, they began with the idea of creating a networking app for single people moving to new cities for jobs or studies.

“But after we did a survey and talked to around 700 to 800 people, we found out they were mainly struggling with three things: finding a place to live, getting food, and making friends. We realised that finding a place to live was the biggest issue for them, so we shifted our focus to help with that,” he explains.

Differentiating from other platforms

Citynect helps in finding accommodations like Sharing Flats, Flatmates, and Pre-occupied Flats (Main Category), as well as sharing PGs for working professionals, corporate stay houses, and Private Flats for bachelors.

“So, for students from 16 to 18, there are multiple PGs and hostel platforms. For audiences above 25, there are platforms like Magicbricks and Housing, etc. But the main gap is at 18 to 25, where nobody is focusing, and this is where Citynect comes in,” Dhruv says.

He emphasizes that Citynect is focused on serving bachelors, particularly working professionals, making it a unique platform where tenants can connect directly with each other. “That’s our unique selling point,” Dhruv adds.

How Citynect is making money?

Citynect is a subscription-based platform that charges an upfront subscription fee from users who want to use its services. The startup plans to offer additional services like online background verification, rent agreements, etc., which it believes will increase its per-ticket size.

According to Hemant, Citynect lists properties available for bachelors, allowing owners to connect directly with tenants and avoid paying brokerage fees.

Funding and growth

Citynect began with just Rs 20,000 and has been a bootstrapped startup ever since. Notably, The startup has received an SSIP grant of Rs 1.3 lakh.

“We utilised resources like AWS credits to save our costs. Having an in-house tech team was very helpful in saving money,” Hemant said. The startup is now looking to raise funds to boost its further expansion plans.

The startup claims to have helped over 1,000 bachelors in Ahmedabad find accommodation. It recently began offering premium services, attracting over 250 subscribers and generating about Rs 2.5 lakh in pre-revenue.

Unlike other funded startups, Citynect focuses on organic growth and hires interns to manage its operations. This approach has made it profitable, with a more than 60% profit margin.

Future plans

Citynect aims to become a global brand in this specific niche by offering a comprehensive platform for accommodation, networking, and lifestyle management.

“We recognise that the accommodation search challenge is not limited to India alone. Individuals shifting abroad to places like Arab nations or Europe for work or study encounter similar hurdles,” Dhruv explains.

While the startup is primarily targeting Bengaluru, Mumbai and Hyderabad, Dhruv said these cities present significant challenges due to the presence of other major players.

“The main challenge lies in understanding the deep roots of these localities. While we have been active for the past year and have seen customers from Bengaluru and other areas shifting to Ahmedabad, indicating similar user behavior, the primary challenge will be on the owner’s side and their mindset towards our platform,” Dhruv elaborates.

It also plans to integrate AI technology into its online platform to offer real solutions and improve the overall user experience.

“In the future, our major focus will continue to be on developing features that directly solve real problems and make a significant impact on users’ lifestyles,” Dhurv added.

https://www.instagram.com/citynect.in

https://www.linkedin.com/company/citynect-flatandflatmates/?viewAsMember=true
http://citynect.in/