The biggest problem which everybody faces in a new city is finding a good accommodation. And, most of the times dealing with the local brokers become a huge headache. Gurgaon-based Fella Homes aims at solving this problem. Founded in November 2015, Fella Homes is the brainchild of 5 friends – Kunal Singh, Digendra Singh Rathore, Yadwinder Paul Singh, Amit Gupta and Virender Pratap Singh. While Digendra, Yadwinder, Amit and Virender are batchmates from IIT-Roorkee, Kunal studied at Stanford University.
Fella Homes provides fully furnished ready to move rental homes for working professionals in metro cities. They are presently operating in Gurgaon, Noida and Greater Noida with a short term goal of expanding to 3 more cities by the end of 2016.
Today, in this session, we have Digendra with us to share their story.
Please tell us about Fella Homes.
“Fella” is a branded network of ready-to-move rental homes for working professionals in metro cities. The homes are fully equipped with standardized furniture, appliances and kitchenware and are rented on per bed/per room basis.
We take 2, 3, 4 BHK houses under management on revenue sharing terms with the homeowners and transform it as per the Fella standards.
To tenants, Fella provides a brokerage-free standardized experience of home search, physical visit, comparison, documentation, key-handover, monthly rent collection and service assistance.
To homeowners, Fella provides a Property Management Platform & associated services to eliminate the hassles of brokerage, tenant search & verification, rent collection, key management, maintenance and repairs along with a potential to earn higher rent.
The Founders of Fella Homes
What made you think of launching this venture? How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
It all started with SolarWaale, our first startup and our visit to the Silicon Valley in 2015. I, Yadwinder and Virender Pratap Singh were in Silicon Valley for 2 weeks for our Ycombinator trial. During our stay, we booked our rooms through Airbnb and stayed at a nice place. It was pretty cheap for Silicon Valley with all the amenities and facilities included. We felt, living in such a place with no worries about the basics, these people were much more productive, happy and creative.
Came back to India, shifted rooms to Gurgaon and realized what a pain it is, and how we are still struggling with the basics. Right from searching for a house it feels like a vicious trap. Uneven distribution of urbanization and employment opportunities is forcing more and more people in their 20s and 30s to remain out of their hometowns and settle in such cities where finding a perfect house on rent is a big pain. This sector lacks standardization and one can’t get assured services or quality after even spending a hefty amount. It is a common Indian problem, without a proven solution.
That’s when we conceived the idea. We wanted to make lives of people better. We started the groundwork by asking friends, how they would feel if they get a fully furnished flat at an affordable price, near their offices. Then there are sleepless nights, teamwork, loads of coffee and finally Fella Homes.
We are constantly trying to improve our services. And, we will never stop doing that. Our services are already appreciated by our tenants and homeowners. The quality of our services sets us apart from the rest.
Share the investment details.
How has the demand for your service grown since inception?
Significantly! We have properties in Gurgaon, Noida and Greater Noida with 100+ homes and 500+ happy tenants.
What were some of the challenges you faced in your journey with Fella Homes? How did you get rid of them?
These are some of the challenges we have faced while creating Fella Homes, in no particular order.
- Hiring: When the company looked like just a concept, it was hard to find talents who believe in your idea and want to push the pedal harder. We understood the value of networking at that time.
- Getting Homeowners to trust our business model: We had a hard time explaining homeowners our business concept. It is like an 180-degree shift in the mind of a homeowner to handing us the key of their home. It’s more than just convincing, we have to build a trust to the level of a family member. Honesty and our dedication to make a difference in their lives helped. Now, that we are gaining popularity with an increasing list of happy homeowners, this problem is gradually getting smaller. But, it still prevails.
- Sourcing products: In the process of fully furnishing a home we have to buy quality materials that include electronics equipments, furnitures, curtains and everything that a house should have. Being noobs in the field of sourcing, that also in household items, we were sometimes left scratching our clueless heads.
- The Tenant Problem: Our business model includes putting together strangers and making them roommates. Choices and preferences can collide. This needs a shift in human behavior, to get comfortable with the unknown, bond faster and to create lasting friendship. But we can’t control 100% of this situation. It is our emotional as well as ethical responsibility to make it a seamless experience.
What are your plans to further scale up the business?
We have aggressive expansion plans, and as a part of that, we have recently acquired another startup in similar domain – Noida based www.lifepad.in in July.
By the end of 2016, apart from Delhi NCR, we plan to be in at least 3 more cities with a target of 5000+ tenants.