Meet Somil Mathur (Dubai, 2020), the co-founder and acting CTO of PropReturns college work and their business. Their resilience propelled them forward, leading to the establishment of PropReturns - a solution to the fragmented and opaque Indian Real Estate market. Somil shares his work-life balance journey while dedicating his energy to building this meaningful venture, a groundbreaking platform in the Indian Real Estate market. His remarkable journey started at BITS Pilani Dubai in 2020, where he, alongside college friends, delved into the world of start-ups, facing challenges while balancing
After finishing school in 2016, Somil enrolled in BITS Pilani Dubai for his B.E. in Computer Science Engineering. Unlike his peers, he immediately immersed himself in hackathons, even attending the first one as a favor to a friend without knowing what to expect. He grew fond of the process and their victories, leading him to spend much of his time coding. Throughout his time at BITS Pilani Dubai, Somil achieved numerous honors and awards, proving crucial to his personal and career growth. His passion for thinking and working beyond the curriculum made it evident that entrepreneurship would be his focus moving forward.
Discovering his coding niche, Somil surrounded himself with ambitious individuals who motivated him. Starting from scratch as a college student, he and his friends ventured into the world of start-ups, aiming to create something meaningful. However, balancing college work and running start-ups brought numerous challenges. Dealing with the pressure of being in two places at once and facing uncertainty and lack of experience, they encountered naysayers that took a toll on them mentally. Nonetheless, they faced adversity with resilience and determination, refusing to let setbacks dampen their spirits. Somil credits his family's immense support and belief, especially his mother's constant encouragement to ignore critics, as key factors in propelling his career.
Amid challenges come inevitable failures, part of the process of seeking the best idea. For Somil, the best part was working on what he loved with trusted peers, feeling blessed by the opportunity. He fondly recalls their hostel room conversations, bouncing start-up ideas, and persevering through numerous failed experiments. Eventually, they found an idea they had full faith in, leading them to venture into the Indian Real Estate market.
Despite graduating from BITS Pilani’s Dubai Campus, the three were drawn to the unique characteristics and challenges of the Indian Real Estate market. The market is highly fragmented and lacks transparency, with little to no regulations on being a broker. Investors and those seeking commercial spaces must coordinate with multiple brokers, resulting in extended sales cycles. Moreover, Real Estate data and insights are not easily accessible to retail investors. They then conceived PropReturns, a platform resolving these issues by offering users easy property discovery and access to otherwise inaccessible Real Estate data. Acknowledging the significant impact of the region of establishment on a start-up's trajectory, Somil and his peers saw great potential and comfort in investing their time and skills in the Real Estate market of their home country.
As graduates of 2020, Somil and his college friends faced challenges while incorporating their company amid the pandemic. Living and working in three different countries for over a year presented its ups and downs. Working from home while establishing the start-up came with unique obstacles in communication and coordination during the early stages. However, their strong friendship and collaboration from college enabled them to devise remote work processes and strategies, helping them avoid burnout.
Somil highlights that startups experience continuous ups and downs, and he doesn't see one specific biggest challenge. However, he firmly believes that adopting a problem-solving attitude can help overcome most of these hurdles. At his startup, building the right team holds significant importance. They carefully select individuals, understanding the pivotal role of a strong core team in a startup's success. The company has shown impressive growth since its inception in 2021, starting with a 4-person remote team and now flourishing to nearly 40 people spread across two cities.
Now Somil runs PropReturns as the acting CTO and the co-founder. He admits establishing a work-life balance for roles that demand 100% of him has proven very challenging and admits to still struggling with it at times. Over the years, he has learned that it's impossible for anyone to be at their 100% all the time. He emphasizes the significance of mental health for entrepreneurs and the need to prioritize it while also mentioning the importance of emotional intelligence in maintaining a constant level of dedication. He suggests that setting boundaries and understanding what works and what doesn't is crucial for every entrepreneur's journey.
From walking to Zoom in the brutal Dubai heat to buy and deliver groceries to people’s rooms as a pilot for an ambitious idea, to now having an investor base of more than 20,000 HNIs who use their platform to invest in Commercial Real Estate, Somil's entrepreneurial journey from a driven student to the co-founder and acting CTO of PropReturns is a testament to his unwavering determination, diligence, and resilience. Overcoming challenges, he found his niche in coding and surrounded himself with a motivated team, laying the foundation for their successful start-up. Despite the ups and downs, Somil and his friends navigated the complexities of the Indian Real Estate market and emerged with a solution, PropReturns, addressing critical issues and revolutionizing the industry. As he continues to lead PropReturns, Somil remains an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs, proving that with resilience and dedication, remarkable achievements are within reach.
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