Earnnest: Empowering the Future of Real Estate with Fixed Income Instruments

Ashish Khandelia,   FounderAfter a prolonged slow down between 2015-2020, real estate is poised for a multi year upcycle. FY23 was one of the best years in about a decade and most listed players are guiding to another 15-20 percent increase in FY24. However, despite the robust performance, capital availability is tight. In 2018, India's credit markets shifted from surplus to a capital short environment, due to the default of IL& FS, a prominent financial institution. A 2020 research article authored by Certus Capital identified a gap of $100 bn in financing need for the Indian real estate sector and highlighted lack of visibility on capital sources. The key solution lies in implementing sectoral reforms at the state level, improving regulations and procedures rather than relying solely on fiscal incentives. Restarting domestic credit flows is crucial, as no other capital source can meet the sector's funding requirements. However, domestic institutions currently hesitate to reengage swiftly.

Thats where Certus Capital steps in. Revolutionizing the way real estate professionals handle finance and investments, the firm has built a robust platform that channelizes domestic capital to the real estate sector. In Feb 2022, Certus launched its digital, secured debt investing platform, 'EARNNEST.ME', anchored around
real estate. The platform has received an incredible response with 60 percent investor repeat rate and is off to a great start.

EARNNEST.ME is dedicated to providing access to high quality debt investments secured by real estate, aiming to provide regular returns, typically in the range of 14-16 percent. The company holds a strong belief in real estate credit as a promising opportunity, considering the robust performance of the physical sector despite limited capital availability. Since its launch in February 2022, EARNNEST.ME has successfully concluded transactions amounting to approximately Rs.1,900 million by March 2023. As of March 2023, investments through the platform have returned around 15.6 percent, through a combination interest and principal pre-payments. To illustrate, an investor who invested Rs.1 million across the closed deals on EARNNEST.ME between February 2022 and March 2023 would have already received Rs.156,000 back by March 2023.

"Transparency is a key value upheld by EARNNEST.ME, providing investors with comprehensive information about investment opportunities to assess their suitability", states Ashish Khandelia, Founder of EARNNEST.ME. The team remains accessible and responsive to address any inquiries or provide additional details that potential investors may require prior to making their investment decisions. The platform welcomes Indian residents as investors, with a minimum investment amount currently set at Rs.1 million.

Furthermore, the company is backed by a highly skilled team. The leadership team at EARNNEST.ME possesses extensive transaction experience spanning various asset classes and capital structures. Collectively, their combined investing and advisory experience exceeds Rs.20,000 crores. With a cumulative experience of approximately 130 years, the team members have held prominent positions in both global and Indian financial institutions, including KKR, Morgan Stanley, GIC, Deloitte, HSBC, HDFC, Mirae Assets, and more. Senior members have extensive experience in their respective fields spanning investing, lending, investment banking, portfolio management, tech development, and financial product distribution.

In conclusion, EARNNEST.ME is rapidly gaining recognition as the most transparent and inclusive means of engaging in secured debt investments in Indian realestate sector. The response to the platform has been very positive. As the EARNNEST.ME platform continues to expand, it also serves as a spring board for the firm to initiate a Credit and Special Situations Fund which aims to raise between Rs.500-1000 crores.