In a conversation with Mr. Raghav Kapur, SILA reveals Technology, Now A Game-Changer In Indian Real Estate

SILA is a platform for real estate. We have efficiently scaled over the past ten years, managing more than 100 million square feet of assets with more than 15000 people across India. SILA offers general contracting, project management/advisory services, and facility management to numerous industries. Large corporations, real estate funds, landowners, and developers make up a diverse portion of our clientele.

SILA entered the real estate development market in 2019 with a concentration on the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). The goal of the brownfield development approach is to cooperate with NBFCs/Funds and offer remedies for difficult circumstances affecting their portfolios. The development division of SILA is currently building 400,000 square feet of real estate. The businesses of Services and Development have received investments from Norwest Venture Partners and Samara Capital Group, respectively. Mr. Raghav Kapur – Vice President, SILA shares more insights on the same


1) What can you tell us about the south Indian facilities management (FM) market?

The South Indian Facility Management (FM) market accounts for approximately 40% of the organised facility management market in India. Commercial offices and IT parks in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad contribute to a majority of the market share.

The size of office campuses, the availability of good talent and the relatively high quality of development projects in South India, make the region an attractive destination for MNC’s to set up offices and global capability centres (GCCs) in the region.


2) Bring the SILA clientele to light? What is the South’s facility management market size and demand?

SILA’s clients in the south include Swiggy, IFB, Decathalon, Bangalore Airport, Strides, Mahindra, Godrej. We also service third-party contracts via flex office services providers and aggregators such as Tablespace and JLL in South India. We service offices occupied by Facebook (Meta), Google, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Dell.

Apart from the offices, we service retail and hospitality clients within Bangalore Airport, in addition to Orion malls, Garuda malls, Nexus malls, Forum malls, Mantri malls, Phoenix Malls.


3) Why was the company founded, and what were its goals? Briefly describe your experiences since the company’s founding.

SILA was founded in 2010. Our goal is to build a scalable Real Estate Platform, while keeping technology, governance, and people at the forefront.

I have been working at SILA since the past seven years and have grown to head the FM business in the South and the East of India. The company is extremely progressive and has been built around its core values of being proactive, honest, and relationship driven. I am a proud shareholder of the company now, and constantly invest my savings back in to the company from time to time.


4) Describe the country’s iot/AI/Big Data Analytics/Robotics/Self-Driving Vehicles/Cloud Computing business and how your organization is enhancing the lives of its customers

The usage of IoT and AI is still at a nascent stage across the Real Estate Industry. Globally, prop-tech has been slow to scale relative to fin-tech, food-tech, and technology driven logistics companies.

We at SILA are currently working with an in-house tech- team and partners to bridge this gap to derive a solution that will eventually help reduce operating costs, improve safety, and achieve data-driven decision-making. Over the past couple of years, we have started using IoT, AI based technology and Robotics while maintaining assets, especially in newer developments.


5) How will facility management develop in India?

The Indian facility management services market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20% over the next 5 years*. The addressable market size of the organized FM sector alone is constantly growing – driven by the growth in the IT, Real Estate, and the manufacturing and logistics sectors.

The current addressable market is still dominated by un-organized services providers, accounting for approx. 65% of the market size vs the 35% that is shared amongst organized service providers such as SILA. As the country develops, the balance between the unorganized to the organized players will flip, resulting in large opportunities and consolidation of the service provider/supply side.

Technology adoption along with a focused effort towards ESG & sustainability initiatives will drive the growth of companies in the sector going forward.


6) What major trends are promoting the development of Big Data analysis, AI, and machine learning?

 Iot and Smart buildings have conceptually existed for a few years now, however the need and relevance have drastically increased post the pandemic. Integrating IoT sensors allows for a non-intrusive and intelligent method to maintain real estate.

With a return to office and the demand to maintain safe and sanitized physical environments, usage of smart sensor-based technology has been on the rise. Robotic technology has also started being used at facilities. We have recently used cleaning robots at offices occupied by Goldman Sachs and some of JSW Steel’s industrial facilities.


7) What are your market-related future plans?

Our focus will remain on building a sustainable business that contributes to the global efforts around sustainability and diversity. The adoption of technology is now a need to have, and we will focus on investing in and developing the right technology that keeps us a ahead of the curve.


8) What are some of the challenges faced by the industry today?

The FM industry in India is still growing and maturing.

The pace of technology adoption is slow. This is because of the frugal mindset of the customer and the way most contracts are structured in India. Service providers are usually awarded ‘cost plus’ contracts via a competitive bidding process that is centred around pricing, paying little heed to quality, sustainability initiatives and technology adoption. In developed markets, most contracts are outcome based, paying service providers a fixed price, which encourages them to drive more efficiencies and adopt technology faster. Post the pandemic, we have been experiencing some change, but we have a long way to go.

The other challenge is the competition from the unorganized sector and the low barriers to entry in the space. However, as compliances and labour laws get more stringent, we will see this become  lesser of a challenge.

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