Open Talk @DSIM
An Interview with Hasan Ali Kanba, Marketing Manager of Zenify.in
Zenify is a fixed price portal where one can directly book at the given price. It was founded by Sudarshan Purohit, Ankur Agarwal and Kailash Rathi in 2012, Zenify provides the tenants with an option to directly book a property online. Zenify manages the entire life cycle of a rental agreement. It uses its technology, analytics and design to provide an assured rentals and property management services.
Q1. Welcome Mr. Hasan Ali, it’s a pleasure to conduct this interview. To begin, let’s talk about your business, how the idea of Zenify came and how did you get started?
Ans. Zenify.in was started by Sudarshan Purohit, Ankur Agarwal and Kailash Rathi- three graduates from IIT-Madras. Fresh out of the college, the trio’s were comfortably placed in high paying jobs. As migrants to the city, they faced a multitude of issues while trying to find a place on rent.
The language barrier and an unpleasant broker experience showed them path to come up with a solution to address the problems that migrants face in a new city. Having a history of family business back in their hometowns, they had a strong motivation to start their own business.
They had ideas, they were willing to take risks and they had an undying entrepreneurial spirit. They decided to take the plunge. After a thorough market research, Zenify.in was started in the year 2012 with an aim to help young migrants adjust easily in the city. Their intention was to create a niche model for house rentals which is beneficial for both tenants and owners.
Q2. Wonderful idea to start-up! Let our readers know about your business model and marketing strategy?
Ans. Zenify.in is a rental management company which provides seamless rental experience to owners and tenants. The current rental experience to homeowners and tenants is pretty bad leading to multitude of issues; we are solving these problems through technology. From finding a tenant to managing a property and to providing assured rentals, Zenify is redefining the way property rentals are managed.
With a unique online offering, Zenify is the only company in India which provides assured rentals and in depth property management services thereby making the entire process of renting in and renting out a truly ‘Zenful’ experience. We leverage conventional and digital channels for our marketing efforts.
Q3. Can you share the process of developing Zenify and some of the challenges you faced along the way?
Ans. When we started Zenify, our main challenge was in acquiring properties from owners. It was quite difficult to create that trust and confidence among the owners to completely trust us with their property. We faced similar issues with tenants as well while collecting the security deposit.
Secondly, our business model is such that picking the right kind of property is extremely important. Understanding the market, knowledge about the area and the psyche of the people are some of the key aspects that we need to consider while acquiring a property. When we started out, there was very little information about these aspects. Figuring out which property to pick-up and which one to drop was yet another challenging task for us.
However, over the years we have been able to overcome these challenges through in-depth market research and we have built long-term relationships with our customers.
Q4. Hasan, we would like to know, what is the role of digital marketing in your business market initiatives? How you are using social media platforms to promote your business?
Ans. Digital marketing plays a huge role in our business initiatives. Our major chunk of lead generation flows through this channel.
Being a B2C business we predominantly use the Social media to drive relevant traffic to our website and for branding. In a startup you are always short of funds and social media gives us a good leverage in terms of branding and lead generation in a very cost effective way.
Q5. So, where do you see the future of digital marketing in the industry?
Ans. Digital marketing has changed the way how marketing was being done in the past. Marketing as such has never been so focused and data driven since the onset of Digital Marketing. It has certainly reduced the big bucks on marketing expenses and certainly brought in much better results.
Q6. Who are your major competitors? How do you deal with the competition?
Ans. We currently don’t have any direct competition keeping in mind our business model. We have indirect competition from Companies like commonfloor.com, housing.com, 99acres.com that are listing platforms where owners can list their properties and tenants can scroll through to select a property and thereafter get into discussions, negotiations and agreement for finalization with the owners. Unlike others once a property is registered with Zenify, the owner gets an assured rental for the agreed time period.If the tenant discontinues the agreement, Zenify continues to pay the rent even when the flat is vacant.
Zenify also takes care of all maintenance related responsibilities and tenant complaints that arise during the agreement period. Zenify ensures a broker free experience, eases the process of finding an ideal tenant/owner, significantly reduces the time spent by an owner in managing the property, manages and maintains property without any hassle and provides a cost effective solution to owners as well as tenants.
Zenify is the only company in India which provides assured rentals and in depth property management services.
Q7. We would like to know, what future goals do you have for Zenify?
Ans. Zenify currently manages 1500 crore worth of properties in Bangalore. Within the next five years, Zenify plans to manage INR 1, 00,000 crore worth of properties across the country. In the coming months, Zenify aims to take the entire process of rental management 100% online.
Q8. We heard you had been funded recently. Let us know more about company’s funding?
Ans. We have received angel funding from Atul Jalan and Gana Yantrika Systems. Atul Jalan is the CEO and Founder of Manthan systems and Gana Yantrika Systems Pvt Ltd is a privately held company which invests in companies with unique business models and use technology to advance market access.
We have set a few ambitious goals for our organization for which we will require more funds. We are currently in talks with a few investors who can bring in financial support as well as technology expertise to the table.
Q9. Well Hasan, finally at the end of our interesting conversation, any advice for entrepreneurs willing to start an e- commerce business?
Ans. There is no best time to start your venture than “Right Now”. Respect time and time will respect you.
“Thanks for your time Hasan and Hope to see Zenify on a new height soon.”