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Vikrant Khare, Co-Founder of “Rental Uncle – An online platform which assists consumers throughout their home search journey”, Shares Their Startup Story

Rental Uncle

Please Introduce yourself

Myself Vikrant Khare, CEO & Co-Founder of Rental Uncle. I am an Ex-Army Officer an alumnus of National Defence Academy and took a premature retirement from Army after getting injured during Military Operations. Thereafter to pursue my career in corporate world I did my Exec MBA from IIM-Lucknow and got an opportunity to work with various corporate in General Management roles. I hold a total experience of 12 years.

When and how did you think about Rental Uncle?

Rental Uncle grew out of my fascination with start-ups and the way many of them have turned industry dynamics upside down. I too was looking forward to doing something that would question the conventional setup and at the same time bring real value to the market.

The co-founders bashed their brains against each other’s for quite some time before coming up with the idea of what is now Rental Uncle. We spent a lot of our after-office hours juggling ideas and discussing start-ups in general. A chance sighting of some data on the number of non-Delhi students needing a place on rent in Delhi got us thinking. Our Eureka! moment. We surveyed some of the popular rental accommodation hotspots in Delhi NCR and concluded that while the search for a place on rent involved effort, the brokerage charged from tenants was a real pain in the neck. The kind of money that was being charged as brokerage seemed outrageous to us. Online property listings had provided some respite but even they had begun to be plagued by issues like fake listings, unverified data and lack of on-ground assistance for consumers.

Herein was a chance to do something radical while making things a lot easier for consumers. Padamsree Warrior says, “Don’t second-guess yourself. When you see a door open, walk through it”. We did exactly that. We decided to setup a company to assist people in searching rental accommodations, without charging any brokerage. We met a friend who was familiar with the house renting eco-system and told him about our idea. He thought we were going crazy and wished us luck. I think that was all the encouragement we needed.

Introduce your Co-Founder/Founders and Team.

Rental Uncle Team

  • Vikrant Khare (Self)
  • Roopak Gupta– Alumnus of Officer’s Training Academy, MDI Gurgaon. 11 years Operations Management Experience.
  • Neha Singh– An alumnus of Delhi University and BHU, Neha a post Graduate of Geo Sciences later developed her career into Marketing and Sales. Neha is also a Google Certified Digital Marketer.
  • Arun Goel – Arun is a qualified Chartered Accountant with 8 years experience across service and manufacturing sector

Explain more about Rental Uncle, what makes you special??

RentalUncle is an online technology platform which assists consumers throughout their home search journey…end to end.We provide personal assistance until the consumer finalizes a place and moves in. Rental Uncle also allows property owners to showcase their rental property to a much larger number of prospective tenants. Listing a property on rentaluncle.com is free. It is all about bridging the online and offline meadows of home search journey.

Let’s say you are looking for a place on rent. You reach rentaluncle.com and explore accommodations there. A set of basic and advanced filters will help you narrow down your search in accordance with location, budget, amenities available etc. You shortlist the places you like and book a visit date and time. Our relationship executive will meet you on that date and take you around to visit your shortlisted places. When you find a house you like, you can finalize it with the owner and you are set. Simple and fair.

We don’t charge the consumer any brokerage. A commission is charged from the owner only when a consumer finalizes the place through Rental Uncle and moves in.All assistance to consumers is absolutely free and I think that is what sets us apart from most of the people operating in this space.  Most property listing websites will stop at sharing owners’ contact details but we go all the way to provide on-ground assistance. Basically we have brought together the benefits of online research and on-ground personal assistance. Not many people are doing that.

We are very particular about not showing false or unverified data on the website. So we have an on-ground data collection team to ensure authenticity of the property information being displayed on rentaluncle.com.

Rental Uncle holds strong back-end technology starting from listing of properties on App, Tracking of consumer search journey, dispatch algo and deal closure facility.

Also, when consumers finalize a place with Rental Uncle’s assistance, they get a cool gift voucher!

What challenges did you face while setting up Rental Uncle?

Before we had quit our regular jobs, a major challenge was juggling the dual existence. We would get off work in the evening and then reach our rendezvous to work on Rental Uncle till late in the night.  It was exhausting- physically and mentally. It still is. But all of us agreed that unless we gave it a 110%, nothing worthwhile would ever be achieved.

At times, we also struggled with recruiting the right people. There was a day when one of us interviewed 30 people straight in a single day. And didn’t find even one suitable candidate.

In the initial days, convincing property owners about the merits of joining Rental Uncle was quite a task. However very soon we started getting requests from Property owners to get their property listed and now we have daily queues.

Besides these, we have faced a number of issues like any start-up does when starting from a scratch. We had to consider a lot many possible scenarios regarding a consumer’s journey through our system. Each scenario had its own loophole that had to be ironed out. It was like writing a country’s constitution.

There are days when we feel like giving up. But we know we have miles to go before we sleep. We know we have to keep pushing the status quo. And so we keep at it.

What’s the current status, Rental Uncle funding and future plan?

The current admission season at Delhi University, which began from July, 2016 is quite hectic for us. We have seen good response, at times even overwhelming, from consumers.

600+ paying guest accommodation owners in Delhi-NCR are already part of our platform. Nevertheless, we are looking forward to strengthening our presence in Delhi-NCR by bringing more and more property owners onto our platform. In due course of time we would love to expand to other major Indian cities too.

In the immediate future, one of our top most priorities would be to further refine our online platform and services by employing new and more efficient technology. We are also toying around with ideas about providing incentives for property owners to come onto our platform. But it’s too early to say more on that.

 

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It’s a cool thing that VID is doing. Stories do have the power to influence and to inspire. By sharing stories of success and aspirations, I am certain VID would be able to encourage those who are holding themselves back from pursuing their dreams and passions. High five from Rental Uncle!!

Rental Uncle : Website | Facebook

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