More and more veterans are making a success of their second career, post retirement. Col. Sameer Kanwar has now joined that elite band of entrepreneurs, through his venture, PropChill. An alumnus of the NDA, Sameer was commissioned into the Corps of Signals in June 1990. He has a B.Tech degree in Telecommunications and a M.Tech degree in Computers and Information Technology. After command of a Strike Corps Signal Regiment, he was posted as a Faculty Commander (Instructor) at Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE), Mhow and from there, in December 2012, he proceeded on premature retirement (PMR) after 22 ½ years of service. This is his story, told in his own words.
“Having left the Army 3 1/2 years back and stepped into the big bad world (as we call it in uniform), the feeling of insecurity was immense (not that it’s any better now). Probably for the first time, I realised the feeling one gets when the umbilical cord is snapped. Before taking up PMR, I went through an agonising one year decision making cycle to ‘hang the uniform’, and the various phases of ‘yes(es)’ and ‘No(s)’ had taken their toll. Settling down in ‘civvy-street’ required us to decide where we should relocate post retirement. We were focused on settling down in the NCR – and so looked to Delhi, Noida or Gurgaon. It was an important decision to make, for that is where the new chapter of our life would begin. All charged-up and excited, my wife Monica and I started our search on the internet and through our friends’ circle to finalise our abode for a retired life (not literally). To our horror, though unmanageable quantum of information was available on the internet and other sources, there did not exist a single platform which could provide some analysis, comparisons or conclusive suggestions (things which we took for granted when in uniform). That’s where the idea of ‘Propchill.com’ germinated (though the name came much later). Having plunged into the murky real estate sector, one realised that things were not all that disorganised, it’s just that almost everybody who is in it, wants to make a quick buck. The last 3 ½ years’ journey has been challenging, but then that’s what one was trained for and here’s where our famous OODA (Orient, Observe, Decide and Act) loop, which we so often used in uniform fitted-in and has guided us. It has been an adventurous entrepreneurial roller coaster with a very steep learning curve. The toughest part of the journey has been raising a competent team from scratch.
It took us almost 2 years of gruelling effort to complete and launch Phase I of PropChill in second half of 2015, followed by Phase II towards the end of the year. My wife Monica, who is a graduate with 15 years of teaching experience worked alongside with me in this project and is a co-founder of PropChill. We are now developing an App in phase 3, which would allow a user to book property online and hope to launch it shortly. We also raised Seed Capital Funds this April.
I have often been asked, why we decided to go into this particular field. The answer is that today’s population expects everything on a click of a button, and the Real Estate sector holds huge potential in digitisation. We wanted, through www.PropChill.com to bridge this digital gap with unbiased analysis and authentic reliable information. We wanted something that was user friendly, something that held the investors hand, all through the tricky process of finding the most suitable property for a person at the most competitive rate in the realestate wilderness. PropChill, via its unprecedentedly meticulous platform does exactly that. Which was why we did not tie up with developers as part of our business model in order to provide unbiased ratings and analysis. Our web portal has been very well received by the industry and we have already won 2 awards – ‘The Consumer Facing Enterprise of the Year in the real Estate Sector’ and ‘The Most Admired Real Estate Website of the Year – 2016’. It has also been nominated for the Website of the Year (India) Award in the Housing and Interior category and is competing against the likes of 99Acres, Magicbricks, Housing, PepperFry, Urban Ladder etc.”
(As told to SALUTE Magazine)