Zolo has raised $5mn in Series A funding led by existing investor Nexus Venture Partners. The funding round also includes venture debt from Innoven Capital. Zolo wants to create a new class of managed accommodations and plans to use the capital raised to grow aggressively to reach from 5000 locked-in beds to over 12000 beds and expand to Chennai and NCR by the end of this year.
Zolo brings affordable high quality managed living by providing a comfortable place to stay, daily meals, housekeeping, firewall managed Wi-Fi, through an integrated app based technology platform at locations near large office clusters in tier 1 cities, for as little as Rs.5000 a month. The company was founded in September 2015 by Dr. Nikhil Sikri and Akhil Sikri who are alumni of AIIMS-ISB and IIT-D respectively.
Zolo is aimed at redefining the PG industry which caters to thousands of young professionals across the country and currently, the industry is in dismal state with no standardization, extremely poor serviceability and very low customer satisfaction. Dr. Nikhil Sikri, Co-founder & CEO says, “I always wanted to make a direct impact on people’s lives – the ethos that got ingrained during my career in medicine. Improving lives of thousands of people, through redefining an industry, was something which immediately came close to heart. For me, ethos hasn’t changed, the method has.”
Zolo’s offering is largely targeted towards young folks who want to live in a fully managed setup. Zolo provides daily meals for an entire month in just INR 1699 and centralizes its kitchen operations to provide best-in-class meals with substantial options for its residents. Housekeeping and Wi-Fi are complimentary. The robust back end ERP platform integrated with the customer Android App helps Zolo to have turnaround times & service levels which are highest in the industry. The robust tech has helped the company to handle both, aggressive scale and operational intensiveness, without losing quality.
Sameer Brij Verma, Nexus Venture Partners, adds, “We believe there is a large market gap in the managed affordable living space targeted at students and young professionals moving into larger cities for employment and education opportunities. Zolo’s first principles approach to building a scalable cost-effective execution engine managed by their strong technology platform has allowed them to emerge as a leader in the market in a short duration”
The company has also partnered with large builders to start the concept of fully managed accommodations which is common in large cities such as Hong Kong and New York City. Real estate builders have shown keen interest in partnerships with Zolo to build a robust rental yield asset play as they increasingly feel the need to add rental income yield for their investor base. Not just investors, Zolo’s fully managed offering and hassle-less life also creates a great inventory differentiation for the new age end users who want to save time to enjoy different experiences in life. Zolo also has a healthy pipeline of “built-to-suit” managed accommodation properties under development where land owners are partnering with Zolo to manage them on an end-to-end basis and share profits.
In August 2016, Zolo raised undisclosed amount of seed funding from Switzerland based Software company Hitouch AG.
Image : Nikhil Sikri, Co-founder & CEO, Zolo