Meet Kanika Gupta Shori who started Square Yards post her second child which is now India’s largest Real Estate Brokerage & Mortgage Marketplace
Listen to your intuition, make space for yourself to feel all the feelings and make self-care a habit in your life.- Kanika Gupta Shori, Founder and COO of Square Yards
How you began your entrepreneurial journey?
Way back when my second born was barely six months old, I was attending a party with my husband Tanuj. While mingling at the party, I was asked by many as to what I was doing with my career. While I dodged the question by stating that motherhood was consuming all my time, deep down I knew that was just an excuse. I decided then that I will not let myself make my kids an excuse for not having a career.
This thought led to the founding of Square Yards. As an NRI couple, living and working in Hong Kong in 2014, me and Tanuj (my husband), were keen on investing in the property market in India.
We soon identified that there was a burning need for an independent and unbiased real estate advisory that would not only guide homebuyers through the search and discovery process but also handhold them through the homebuying process conveniently.
I decided to give it a go and laid the foundation for Square Yards in terms of early execution, putting in whatever savings we had and giving up every asset we owned. Tanuj later quit his full-time job and joined with me, handling the development of the business while I took care of processes, HR and operations.
Square Yards platform offers an integrated consumer experience and covers the full real-estate journey from search and discovery, transactions, home loans, rentals, property management, interiors and post sales services-fully integrating buyers to an extensive network of 500+ partner real estate developers, 150,000+ agents and 100+ banks and NBFCs.
Describe the challenges you faced at the onset of your journey?
In the early days, I had to face a lot of challenges when the company was operated from Hong Kong. Square Yards was a new kid on the block and hence got very little acceptance from developers. In order to overcome this challenge, we shifted our base to India and opened up offices in various Indian cities, put up sales force as well as ground staff.
On-boarding the right talent and creating a stellar team was the biggest challenge. We realized that we need to build people and people will build our business. Thus, we explored existing talent pools across the country and resorted to deeper searches to put together an all-star team. Scaling up a model in a sector where numerous startups found traction early but failed when they tried to scale and ensuring customer satisfaction while maintaining operational efficiency was another big hurdle.
How was the support from family and your partner when you started the journey?
My husband Tanuj has been my greatest source of support and has stood beside me through thick and thin, ever since the formative years of Square Yards. My family has stood beside me like a rock and helped me maintain the fine balance between work and kids while I am away from my children due to work commitments. They are the reason why I can be a COO and a mother at the same time and create an organization from scratch in a male-dominated industry.
Being a mother, how do you balance both work and kids?
As a mother of two boys, I am always trying to maintain the perfect balance between my work and family, irrespective of travelling for 7-15 days in a month and staying away from my kids due to the vast geographical spread of Square Yards.
I have created a robust system of strong routines for my kids which continue irrespective of my presence both at work and home. Organization and planning are the secret sauce here. I keep a tab of all school activities of my kids and even after-school tasks meticulously, and make sure that all routines are functioning smoothly whether I am at home with my kids or travelling. I maintain constant communication with my kids every day, talking about the little details of their lives and trying to be virtually present in their lives while travelling.
I also talk with my kids about my work and how I love doing it, so that they become more understanding and know why it is important for me to travel.
What are your future plans in next 5 years in terms of expansion of your business?
Today, the Square Yards platform offers an integrated consumer experience that boasts around 4 Million+ property seekers, 75k+ digital enquiries and 1500+ property and mortgage transactions every month. Square Yards is firmly planted on the growth path, having perfected the business plan with strong processes, use of AI-enabled cutting edge technology, and a constant focus on bringing the best products to the consumer.
In the next five years:
- We aim to have 15-20% market share in each of our verticals, besides having 20% market share in the primary residential distribution market.
- We want to become the largest integrated property solution platform for “everything real estate”.
What are your tips for fellow Moms in Business or those moms who want to start their own business?
Listen to your intuition, make space for yourself to feel all the feelings and make self-care a habit in your life. With planning and thinking ahead, you can catch up soon on your business and sail right back into the active workforce. Take small steps to ensure that you never really get out of touch and stay prepared for joining back.
Communication with your spouse about sharing responsibilities is also important and will give you sanity in all to-dos and help you achieve attainable work-related goals each day, no matter how small they are.
Staying in the loop by constantly following industry related news and keeping abreast of what’s happening in your field, will help you fit right in, when you are plan on joining back.