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A house for the Net-savvy, courtesy Sanjeev Bikhchandani

15-September-2005
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A house for the Net-savvy, courtesy Sanjeev Bikhchandani

After revolutionising the way people find jobs through its flagship brand Naukri.com, Info Edge Pvt Ltd, has ventured into providing a platform for buying and selling of properties online with the launch of its new portal 99acres.com.

The site aims to be the single gateway for information exchange among builders, brokers, and property buyers.

With a booming urban population, buoyant commercial demand and favourable government initiatives, the company had got the timing correct, felt Sanjeev Bikhchandani, founder and CEO, Naukri.com. "Previous ventures in the late nineties failed because the timing was not right. It is also a question of execution and we hope we are heading in the right direction," he added.

The portal aims to have 100,000 properties listings on the site across 30 cities in the first six next months. The site will be kept free for the brokers and property dealers for the first one-and-a-half months. Later, brokers will be charged Rs 15,000 per year during which they can list any number of properties on the site. The builders will be charged Rs 15,000 per month.

The company has made an investment of $2 million for the new site and aims to garner revenue of Rs 10 crore in the first 12 months.

The company is quite upbeat about its new venture. "With the Internet becoming a mass medium from a class medium due to increased penetration and competition very low in the new segment, we are very upbeat about performance," said Bikhchandani.

The company had a turnover of Rs 45 crore in 2004-05 and targets to achieve Rs 100 crore by the end of the current financial year.

Refuting speculations that he was going to sell his business, Bikhchandani said, "We would stay independent and grow our business."

The company is also exploring new opportunities in education, local classified sites and industrial yellow pages and would be entering overseas market with offices at Dubai and local matrimonial and job sites in the Middle East and South Asia.

The company will also exploit the opportunity in m-commerce through dissemination of content by SMS within three to six months.

Info Edge has hired FCB Ulka for its creatives and has earmarked Rs 5-7 crore for the promotional campaign of its new venture.

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