Way back in December 2015, when we started NestAway, with the intention of addressing the rampant discrimination prevalent in the home rental market, the demographic attributes were all mapped to a single city’s dynamics—Bangalore. Once we commenced operations, we grew fast and, after the first six months, we expanded our functions to the National Capital Region (NCR). Our plan was to go pan-India and launch in the top six cities—Hyderabad, Mumbai, Gurgaon and Pune, in addition to Bangalore and NCR. Within the first month of the NCR launch, we realized that our business logic, which was based on understanding the rental rates and the demand supply match, was largely people-dependent and we perhaps had just understood Bangalore and not the rest of India.
We realized that the road ahead had a diversion. Either we could hire people, a lot of them, to understand and create the geography-specific data for each city that we would require to expand to, or we could pause growth for a few months and create a platform to understand all the real estate data that already existed on the web, and use this to build prediction models at each locality level to predict the rental demand that would come, and the rental prices for each such demand. It was incredibly hard to change direction at that point, but we did and, in the next three months, we created Localitics, a real estate statistical data science platform that could not only predict where rental demand is going to grow, but also where India would be most likely to add the next new houses. We embraced scientific thinking and halted our people-led business growth to grow into a better data science-led model. Today, Localitics is used across all 10 cities in India where NestAway is present and churns out data to help us expand to the next set of cities.