Flat-line: will start to replace real estate agents

Entrepreneur Igor Kalganov

Tomic Igor Kalganov from 17 years lived in rented apartments, so knew firsthand about the problems of this segment of the market. “A large Committee, the long search, the need to look with the eyes on the apartment, because photos often don’t match reality, says RBC. — To find a good apartment with good hosts in Moscow — is a great success”. In April 2014, together with partner Sergei Ponomarenko Kalganov decided to offer the capital market of electronic realtor, who would work without fee (for both tenant and landlord) and would provide a full range of services: from photographing and listing it on popular sites to insurance and minor repairs.

Million the first time

The exact number of elite Moscow apartments no one knows. In 2011, the Moscow Deputy mayor Andrei Sharonov gave a figure of 300 thousand, it decided to focus Kalganov. The hypothesis that the demand for the offered services, he decided to check personally. “I phoned more than 100 people who handed over the apartment to understand what difficulties they encountered, — the businessman tells. — I was told about the failure to pay and the damage done to the apartment, which was detected after the Congress of tenants.” The name of the service “33 Elephant” — is working. “We just got used to it and decided not to change it,” explains Kalganov.

By may 2014 Kalganov and Ponomarenko made a business plan and began looking for investments. According to Kalganova, at the first presentation of the project was really enjoyed by the investor (his name he refused to disclose) that in June the trade was executed: 50% “33 Elephants” the investor laid out $1 million.

It can be assumed that the investor has become familiar to young startups. LLC “E-realtor”, through which service “33 Elephant” conducts business, was established in July 2014. In September, the owner of 51% of the company became Dennis Kozlowski. People with the same TIN is co-owner of the company PayQR, in which, as he wrote RBC, 300 million rubles were invested Sergey Kozlovskiy, co — owner of Corporation “Inkom”, one of Russia’s largest networks of real estate agencies. You can view the website here and find more details about the agencies. Familiar Kozlovski told RBC that Denis is the son of Sergei. I have Ponomarenko, the company Ingenius Systems (websites and applications), which collaborated with PayQR. To receive comments of Dennis Kozlowski failed.

Now the sole owner of the “Electronic agent” is in the register Iposeltia Services Ltd., in which, according to the Cyprus register, 25% owned Kalganova and Ponomarenko, and 50% Growth Fortune Ltd.

The Figures “33 Elephant”

$1 million — the volume of attracted investments

34 311 ads about renting provides the database service

4 days — the average time of exposure of the apartment

951 the apartment is managed by the service in Moscow

2.2 thousand rubles per month — the average bill for the service

22,7 thousand visitors came to the site in March 2016

Source: company data, SimilarWeb

Difficult thousand

In September 2014 Kalganov and Ponomarenko introduced the product to the market. Initially, “33 Elephant” offered a set of different paid services: verification of tenants, generating contracts and ad photography. Within a month, the project earned a total of 1 thousand roubles. “to Us it became clear that the model does not work because the few people that are willing to pay, says Kalganov. — A bill in 1000 rubles, we put in a frame and began to think over the change approach”. By this time, “33 Elephant” spent 20% of attracted investments (mainly development and remuneration).

In the new version of the project it was decided to make a bet on complexity. Old and new features Packed in two packages — “Security” (check tenants, changing locks, comprehensive insurance of apartments against fire and flooding, civil liability to third parties) and “Cozy apartment” (minor repairs, cleaning up after tenants leave, quarterly review of the apartment) is worth 1.5 thousand rubles and 1 thousand rubles Fee was to be charged monthly regardless of whether that customer uses the services or not. But monthly sales were still recorded units, but investment is melting at a rate of $40-50 thousand per month.

The situation has turned over a new commercial Director — Vladislav Sannikov, who moved to the service with a similar position of Groupon Russia. “He forced us to go offline and talk about their services to clients when taking pictures of the apartment, recalls Kalganov. — Since it’s what we do: offer for 500 rubles. professional photographing and placing ads on all sites, and when you come to a meeting and tell them about the packages that are there, but not trying to sell them on the phone”. The introduction of the new approach increased sales in several times: every fourth client after the meeting, bought the package and were made within three days of first payment. In addition, having studied similar services in the U.S. market, the founders “33 Elephants” found that fees better to take a percentage of the rent, and not in the form of a fixed payment. After the introduction in may of 2015 fee 5% of rental rates (for each package) service for the first time has overcome a lath in 50 contracts a month. On April 18, 2016 “33 Elephant” work with the owners of the 951 apartments. Kalganov said that the average bill for contracts — 2,2 thousand rbl. a month. Based on this service can save almost 2.1 million rubles per month. Kalganov refused to disclose the financial performance of the service, admitting that he has yet to return. According to him, the cost of customer acquisition pays for itself in four to five months of working with him. “Because the contract is for 11 months, we can say that we are working with a 50-percent margins,” said Kalganov.

Entrepreneur Igor Kalganov
Photo: Dmitry Shatilo for RBC


Entrepreneur Igor Kalganov Photo: Dmitry Shatilo for RBC

In order to let your apartment through “33 the Elephant”, the owner is logged on the website and fills in information about the property. It can upload your photos or have photography. In this case, to it the Manager would come already signed by “ZZ Elephants” service contract. After approval, information on the apartment service announcement about it is published on leading Internet sites about real estate (“Yandex.Real estate”, CYANOGEN, etc.). According to Kalganova, every second customer who ordered the service of photography, subscribes to a paid service packages (as they are Annex to the service contract). More often than not take “Security” over which the service undertakes to review the financial viability of the tenant (with credit bureaus and bailiffs), but the Treaty has no legal responsibility for the financial discipline of the tenant. “No guarantee”, — says Kalganov. Instead, the service offers the landlord a service to receive lease payments by a certain date, if he agrees to leave the security Deposit at the disposal of the service. “In this case, even if there is a delay of payment by the tenant, the apartment owner will receive the money in time, explains Kalganov. — If the delay exceeds 14 days, we on behalf of the owner terminate the lease with the tenant looking for new tenant”. According to Kalganov, in the practice of service already have been such cases: the new owner managed to find in less than a week.

Every third customer in addition to “Safety” acquires a “Cozy apartment”. With this package accommodations are provided in the order before delivery by a team of professional cleaners (at the expense of service). In addition, the service responsible for resolving all potential conflicts. “For example, if at the check-out it turns out that a broken toilet, then we, at his expense, fix a problem, and the cost of the toilet deduct from the security Deposit, says Kalganov. On the contrary, if the old broken fridge, we side with the tenant, explaining to the owner that the landlord vehicles in a crash not my fault. The less communicate with each other owner and the tenant, the better for both of them.”



“The project looks interesting, but there are issues as to what scale it can achieve”


Victor Osyka, associate of Almaz Capital

“At first glance the project looks interesting, but there are issues as to what scale he may eventually achieve. In Russia 50-60 million apartments, and some of them for rent, but what, nobody knows. Let it be several hundred thousand apartments in Moscow and several million in all of Russia. If the average cost of renting in Moscow is $600, the annual capacity of 300 thousand at market rental apartments will be about $2.2 billion Rest of the Russian market can be estimated at $3-6 billion per year. Some of these funds may be used for marketing and, therefore, can get the service. It is possible to hypothesize that to give some of the money for trust management by the apartment owners who live in another city or abroad. But foreign startups in this field have not shown the explosive growth that makes me wonder in the explosive dynamics and “33 Elephants” on the way to large scale”.


“I am impressed by their business model, because it’s not just the scheme “buy-sell”, and the whole service”


Alexey Avdey, head of product “the Secondary real estate market” CIAN.EN

“Service “33 Elephant” went on many in the rental market, offering two packages of services of trust management. I am impressed by their business model, because it’s not just the scheme “buy-sell”, and the whole service. They have a quality site and easy-to-use app. But the market is in crisis, so they will have longer to find the owners and convince them to buy packages. In addition, in case of an exit in regions can prove that the model is poorly scaled, as in regions of much lower prices, but this does not seem fatal, because the Moscow market is large enough”.

“The emergence of similar services I was positive”


Maxim Matveev, service ads JCat.ru

“The emergence of such services is appreciated positively, as it shows the transition to a more civilized market and that customers are ready to service various products that make our lives easier. If we talk about the changes in the rental market, that is, of course, the General reduction of prices on apartments, increase the supply on the market. Now on the market of the tenant, therefore increasing competition between homeowners and renters place higher demands on the quality of apartments”.


“Big business is not to build”


Eugene Luchinin, co-owner of apartments for rent The Locals

“Business “33 Elephants” is not similar to a normal listing with ads. As far as I understand, this service is for property owners who want to rent with headache issues of tenants. As I can imagine, the efficiency of the business model of such services depends on the size of the market (apartments from the owners much, but they are willing to pay?), rates of customer acquisition and costs of command and staff (for example, service apartments). If the first two points all is well, then the third can eat the lion’s share of revenue. Feel that big business is not to build, at least for now and in Russia”.


“For want of success formed the culture of business relations and a serious level of trust in the service market”


Ivan Drobyshev, PR Manager of the company “Aclass”

“I rent an apartment in Northern Moscow last five years. To find a good offer it was hard, but now nothing has changed. Several times I wanted to leave, but in Moscow just for a change of scenery to do this is unreasonable and difficult. I totally understand the idea of service: for today’s “landlord” is very advantageous to give a nervous and time-consuming process of selection of tenants, especially if the company proposes to maintain relationships with tenants and take some responsibility. It is possible to realize the old dream of Moscow is to rent an apartment and go to winter in Bali, and the service will help to control the situation in the house. However, for the success of the desired culture formed a business relationship and a serious level of trust in the service market, where all are used more likely not to trust anyone. On the other hand, the lessee has no special sense to overpay for the service, and a formal agreement, because it will cause serious price increases in the future”.