StayAbode, a start-up that is building co-living spaces, has closed a pre-Series A round of funding for an undisclosed amount from Anupam Mittal (CEO, People Group) and Vineet Sekhsaria (Head, Real Estate investing, Morgan Stanley) and Japanese gaming company Akatsuki Inc. The investment comes after a strategic round led by Incubate Fund and a group of investors from the real estate industry including Legacy Global Projects MD Sanjay Shenoy and Mridul Upreti (ex Joint MD JLL India) last year.
The funds are being used to scale the business and create more supply as demand increases. StayAbode currently has 950 beds live and is operating at 97% occupancy at 15 properties across Bengaluru and has plans to expand to other cities in due course. 12 more buildings are due to be launched in Bangalore as the company goes deeper into micro markets. The company continues to be operationally profitable.
Last August, the startup had raised an undisclosed amount from Incubate Fund and a group of investors from the real estate industry including Legacy Global Projects MD Sanjay Shenoy and Mridul Upreti (ex Joint MD JLL India). Prior to that, it raised angel funding, again for an undisclosed amount, from a consortium of investors led by Ishan Manaktala and Angie Mahtaney. Gaurav Bhalotia (Ex-VP Engineering, Flipkart), Vishal Lulla (CEO, VIshal Exports) and a group of Investors, in February last year.
Co-living is gradually becoming the preferred way of living for several reasons – saves money, is more fulfilling than living alone, people want to make/have friends to share common interests with and it’s easier to move in when shifting to a new city.
Viral Chhajer, Co-founder & CEO, StayAbode, says, “We’re excited to partner with investors that believe that co-living is the future of residential real-estate for millennials and see this as an opportunity to create a new asset class in real estate investing. Each of our investors brings on-board a unique perspective to our vision of redefining the way millennials live in our cities. Capital raised now will be primarily used to make key hires across verticals and set the base for our expansion into our cities across the country”.
Tomoya Ogawa, CFO at Akatsuki, Inc. and Managing Director of AET Fund, says, “We’re thrilled to partner with Viral and his team to support the growth of StayAbode. Co-living space is not just financially attractive, but will also enable millennials to have a more fulfilling and delightful living experience through bonding and social activities. We look forward to boosting this delight to the next level by offering our expertise in the entertainment-related field”.
Angel investor Anupam Mittal, adds, “Given land prices in the country, co-living is perhaps the only solution to India’s affordable housing woes. Co-living allows millennials to buy into a meaningful lifestyle without the hassle that comes with renting and without compromising on location and affordability in case of buying. The space is set to explode much like co-working has and so I am excited to back StayAbode with its excellent execution track record”.
StayAbode is leveraging technology, design, service and brand to build co-living spaces for the rental residential real estate market at scale. StayAbode’s co-living spaces mixes small private spaces – a bedroom and bathroom, with communal areas – common rooms, games areas, common kitchens and living rooms, music and art corners etc. At these co-living spaces one doesn’t need to be bothered about managing a household. The experience is that of a boutique hotel where – utility bills are paid, housekeeping is done, linen workfwashed and where one cooks only when one feels like. At these co-living spaces one can connect with like-minded people.
In June last year, the company filed for a provisional patent for its Workforce Management System that uses internal positioning systems which will allow them to efficiently manage their service teams including security and housekeeping.
StayAbode was co-founded in October 2016 by Viral Chhajer, Varun Bhalla and Devashish Dalmiya who have strong backgrounds in marketing, technology and finance having founded start-ups and previously worked at start-ups like Runnr, Treebo Hotels and Roadhouse Hostels.
Akatsuki is a world-leading mobile game developer and publisher based in Tokyo, Japan, and AET Fund is its corporate VC arm. The fund aims to contribute to the lifestyle change in India by leveraging Akatsuki’s expertise in entertainment. This is AET fund’s first investment in India and with this they’re now looking to make more investments in India.
[Top Image – www.facebook.com/stayabodecoliving/]