Interview of Otis Critchley Founder of Jagaha
Interviewer- Can you provide me with a description of your business?
Otis Critchley - Jagaha matches businesses (& investors) with commercial properties in the Mumbai metropolitan area. We have the largest inventory of commercial real estate in Mumbai with over 17,000 offices, shops, showrooms, restaurants and entire commercial buildings with us. Every single property listed at Jagaha has been verified in person by a member of our team – what you see online, is what you get! Instead of running an advertisement model like many of the other property sites, Jagaha has its own commercial real estate advisory team that is the most active in Mumbai doing over 30 to 40 different client property inspections per week working with many different corporates, retail establishments and restaurants.
Interviewer- How did you get started in this business?
Otis Critchley - I moved to Mumbai in 2011 and soon thereafter started a residential property placement firm for expats, in due time my clientele starting asking my firm to find them commercial properties for their respective firm’s businesses. The task of finding suitable properties in Mumbai proved to be extremely challenging; namely, we were fully dependent on property sites that often provide inaccurate, fake or misguiding information and then we had to coordinate with dozens of real estate brokers to show properties, many of which proved to be not dependable. There were clearly too many inefficiencies in the process and the success rate of finding the right commercial property proved to be much more difficult than for residential. In the middle of 2015 it was clear what we needed to do, provide a commercial real estate portal in Mumbai that had the maximum amount of verified properties. At that time and even more so now, every search from accountants to doctors to restaurants to you name it, will occur thru a google search. So either you pay to have your goods and/or services on another platform or you build your own. In April of 2016, we launched Jagaha, our own commercial property portal, and we have been building our footprint in Mumbai’s commercial real estate space since!
Interviewer- Why do your customers select you over your competitors?
Otis Critchley - There are a few reasons: transparency, strong online presence, brand (our goal is to make sure this grows tremendously!), the quantity of verified properties, professionalism & knowledge about the commercial real estate marketplace would be at the top of the list. Also, one of the reasons why Jagaha has been able to have more Mumbai commercial properties with us than the other property sites is that it's completely free to advertise one's property at Jagaha and in fact, it gets better than that, we do all the work: we visit your property, take pics & videos, write a detailed property description, create a YouTube video of your property, create your own URL, and market your property online.
Interviewer- What are the biggest issues for running this business?
Otis Critchley - The biggest issue with our current model is that payment is made after we complete our service as we get paid when we deliver value; namely, we get paid when we help close the commercial real estate deal for our clients. Having payment made after the fact has led to clients taking their time to pay, which only prolongs our already quite long sales cycle. We have fixed this problem to a certain degree in that prior to the first property inspection, the client must sign off on paperwork that confirms he/she will pay Jagaha’s fee at the time of registration.
Interviewer- What suggestions would you like to give to the young budding entrepreneurs?
Otis Critchley - There is that advice to jump in and just start! And that’s not bad advice; however, if looking to start your own firm expect that everything will take 3-5x longer than you anticipate. For more practical advice, make sure that your pockets are 3-5x deeper than you expect they need to be. Things take time & strategies will change. You won’t have a perfect plan, nobody does, that’s the norm so be prepared to also spend 3-5x longer building your business than you’d think as well! Please do check out our YouTube channel that goes into our firm’s “Why?” which is best summed up by our #MoveForward tag line where we want to help our clients, businesses, grow and prosper in Mumbai and beyond.