Society management

How startups are leveraging technology to reshape the management of society

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As housing companies in India become larger and larger, with many apartments comprising over 1000 units, managing them has become a huge task for resident protection associations or committees. From providing security, managing guest entrances and staff attendance to monthly collections and maintaining payment reports, the work residents have to do is endless. The pandemic has added more tasks to the list such as maintaining social distancing standards, restricting the movement of delivery personnel, sanitizing and others.

My door

The enormous inconvenience encountered by residents has led them to use apartment management applications offered by many players such as MyGate, NoBrokerHood, SmartGuard, Jio Gate, Apartment Adda, ApnaComplex and a few others. In recent years, we have also seen the launch of many new providers of security and community management solutions. Moreover, those that do exist have also behaved quite well. For example, MyGate reached 20,000 communities in March 2021 and around 3.5 million households are now on its app. It also processes INR 150 crore in monthly maintenance payments.

“We see this as a huge opportunity and it will also play a central role in transforming the reach of local businesses, so it also plays a very important role in society. Considering the scale of the opportunity, there is There are bound to be more. However, we believe that in the years to come, leaders will emerge and that there will likely be some consolidation in the space, ”said Sanjay Swamy, Managing Partner, Prime Venture Partners, who has invested in My door.

The market opportunity

Housing companies are complex spaces. Five years ago, almost everything went the old-fashioned way, whether paying for maintenance, hiring a maid, authenticating a visitor, or receiving a delivery.

“As residents of the closed communities of Bangalore, we have felt the need for change and, in five years, we have built a digital experience for almost every need in the community. You can pay your bills, register a guest, book pest control or other in-home services, accept a package, sell an old cabinet, hire a housekeeper, even sell your house on MyGate, ”Vijay said. Arisetty, Founder and CEO of MyGate.

While MyGate started out with the intention of making the door frictionless, it has since added more features to its plate, such as

  • Buy products and services at home
  • Make rent and utility payments
  • Buy or sell second-hand items
  • Participate in the housing society elections
  • Buy, sell or rent homes at any of the 20,000 MyGate companies nationwide
  • Make private and secure VOIP calls to neighbors, keep

For NoBrokerHood, a great visitor, company, and payment management app, the idea took root when the founders realized that most residential companies in India still relied on physical ledgers to manage everything. “This outdated approach was impractical, lacked transparency, and manual record keeping made it vulnerable to errors. This major need could be easily solved through a technology-led intervention. This motivated us to expand our services beyond being a real estate search portal to leverage their technological capabilities to further improve company life and community management through NoBrokerHood, launched in 2018 ”, said Akhil Gupta, co-founder and CTO, NoBroker.

The app allows company residents to manage company entry, staff attendance, payments and accounting, club maintenance, all through a single platform. The technology-driven upgrade allows company managers and residents to access digital records in real time, making company management processes faster, smarter and more secure. Other key features offered by NoBroker include:

  • Collection of recurring payments such as rent and maintenance costs by integrating NoBroker Pay into the app
  • Intercom function
  • SOS button for emergencies and guard patrols with geolocation of QR codes
  • A feature called “Explorer which allows users to access a range of community services in and around their companies
  • Users / homepreneurs / homebakers can also list their own services and organize events to connect with customers

Other platforms also offer similar services that reduce the burden on residents and residents’ committees.

Additionally, service providers in and around the company – especially those like small kirana stores that are not listed on mainstream e-commerce platforms – are listed on these apps, unlocking a double benefit for sellers. and buyers. “We adopted ApnaComplex in August 2013. This has dramatically improved our communication with residents on money matters and has also dramatically improved the achievement of timely child support payment and collection of overdue contributions,” explains Pankaj Lal, committee member on the ApnaComplex website.

How Covid changed the game

Like many industries, there are also many external factors that come into play in this space and what matters to the customer is the company’s ability to keep pace with the times. As product requirements and customer preferences keep changing, the pandemic has brought about tremendous change and opened new doors for these businesses. For example, NoBroker claims to have grown from 500 to 10,000 companies within 5 to 6 months.

These startups jumped at the opportunity and added more features to their bouquet. Over the past 18 months, MyGate has released more than ten features to help its companies and users cope with the pandemic. It started with temperature and mask checks in April 2020 and continues on and on and more recently it has also launched Society Vaccine Status.

After the viral outbreak, NoBroker enabled contactless entry via facial recognition for regular staff entering the company to prevent accidental transmission. It also added the following features:

  • Grocery service functionality to help residents of closed communities access essential items and grocery services
  • Homechef function to connect singles, students and young professionals with home chefs within their company
  • AI / ML-backed COVID tracker to gather and share real-time containment zone data with company residents
  • A Vaccine Finder function, synchronized with the CoWIN portal, on the application

“We realized that while everyone’s consumer behavior and shopping habits are different, the needs and demands of residents of closed communities are more or less the same. These include cleaning, repair and grocery services, pest control, as well as the services of plumbers, electricians, mechanics, florists, home chefs, etc. We have continued to upgrade the product with the changing needs of customers. The main objective of the updates was to make the life of society safer, more secure and more comfortable for all residents, in addition to increasing the stewardship of the community, ”said Gupta of NoBroker.

After the pandemic, local municipalities began to depend on the apartment management team to distribute official circulars on Covid restrictions among all residents. “This has increased the demand for official company platforms like ours that offer a central database to residents and communication channels like a mobile app, emails and SMS to ensure that all residents, including the elderly, receive the information. Covid has also brought other tools to society such as vaccination camp organizers, good karma advice for neighbors to offer help to Covid outbreaks, such as home cooked meals, a concentrator of oxygen, etc. Said San Banerjee, co-founder and CEO of ADDA.

Road ahead

Experts believe that service providers will increasingly evolve into an omni-commerce marketplace that supports multidimensional user demands on a single platform. “The idea is to occupy a continuous, even permanent, place on the user’s home screen by meeting their various needs through multiple use cases. It is a fight for relevance in a highly competitive ecosystem and only demanding brands with unique value propositions – despite the evolution towards an increasingly homogeneous and integrated market – will be able to prosper in the years to come ”, Gupta said.

Even today, only 15% of housing companies in India are using a community app, providing a huge opportunity for these apps. “In five years, that number will increase dramatically. The product will also become more sophisticated and we believe that the collective knowledge, not only of the community, but of entire neighborhoods will be available with one click and ready for everyone to use, ”said Swamy of MyGate.