In today’s world of millenials moving out of their home cities for career, co-living spaces become very convenient and are growing rapidly in India. According to a recent survey titled “Co-Living – rent a lifestyle” by Knight Frank India, the international property consultancy 72 percent of millennials have given co-living spaces a thumbs-up and over 55 percent of respondents in the age group of 18 – 35 years are willing to rent co-living spaces. Big players are emerging in the country to make their mark in this space specially meant for the working population.
In this race of co-working space, StayAbode, established in 2016, is trying to use analytics tools and make its mark in India. Analytics India Magazine talked to one of the Co-Founders of StayAbode, Devashish Dalmiya about the startup, their working ecosystem and their goals.
The Beginning Of The Journey
The idea of StayAbode started while the co-Founder Devashish Dalmiya was backpacking across Europe where he lived in many hostels and saw the advantages of co-living first hand. From there when he looked at urban centres in India, he realized that the problem in India wasn’t that of living for travellers, but for millennials moving into cities to live. From there the idea moved to long term co-living spaces for working millennials and they began with Bengaluru as it was the perfect destination for migration for the working millennial across the country.
A key issue was selling the idea of co-living itself. Dalmia said that initially people really saw StayAbode as another PG with better facilities but then when people began to move in and started using the common spaces such as their community kitchens and laundry spaces, along with the many events that they had at their properties, they began to understand the value that StayAbode was delivering. Also, the same value needed to be sold to their landlords as a concept which was tricky initially as they weren’t used to dealing with companies to manage their spaces, but when the landlords saw the returns in terms of rental yields, they were able to see the larger value on offer.
The Tech Behind
The technical team at StayAbode has built all of their technology in-house and it continues to do so. The team consists of backend, frontend, mobile and QA engineers. This involves development across their stakeholder tools, the website and the resident app.
The technical team uses a combination of industry standard tools like Google Analytics and Mixpanel. They also have many in-house tools developed specifically for their own use-cases to power their decision making for onboarding supply, demand analysis, pricing, property maintenance, smart auditing and so on. They have also built out tools for stakeholders across the company which includes dashboards for the owners of StayAbode to see how their property is performing to a portal for the central team to manage operations and customer experience across their properties. They also built out a resident app that gives their users the freedom to know their neighbours, get event updates, pay their rentals and raise issues.
“Being in the hospitality space requires us to be on our toes all the time,” said Mr. Dalmia while talking about the challenges that the team faces in their everyday work. In order to ensure a high quality resident experience at scale, the team has to ensure that the technology team works closely with operations, support and the other teams in the organisation and they build systems for the future when they are hosting residents in multiple cities and countries
Dalmia said that the story of StayAbode has really seen two positive aspects to it which has been their high occupancy rates along with their ability to add inventory across different living formats. They have consistently seen over 95% occupancy across their spaces since the inception of StayAbode. They have also managed to add inventory consistently across their current BHK and room layouts.
They also are scheduled to launch their first large scale co-living project at the end of 2020 with a Greenfield project that will be state of the art and with a living capacity of about 1400 people. On both these fronts StayAbode has managed to continue to grow as they have acquired scale while maintaining a great experience across our residents.
The startup has raised funding from Anupam Mittal, CEO of People Group, Vineet Sekhsaria, Head, Real Estate investing at Morgan Stanley, a Japanese gaming company called Akatsuki Inc, Incubate Fund and most recently the Voyage Group was added on to StayAbode’s Pre Series A round which they closed the last year.
StayAbode Is Unique From The Others
There have been many players in this space of co-living spaces in the last couple of years. There are big players like Oyo Living, Nestaway and CoLive that have built a fairly large inventory and there are other players like CoHo, Grexter and FF21. StayAbode believes that they have hit a great formula of providing spaces that are true to the idea of co-living with residents enjoying the shared experiences their spaces provide, and this is a great differentiator as compared to many of their competitors, especially the larger ones. StayAbode is slowly inching away from some of the more niche players in terms of the inventory that they have been adding.
The goals of StayAbode this year include looking at expansion across cities beyond Bangalore, while continuing to maintain customer experience and occupancy levels at scale. StayAbode has their Greenfield project next year in Whitefield in Bangalore, which they are very excited about. The project will house over 1400 people in a state of the art co-living facility. Mr. Dalmia said, “Our intention is to continue growing the current business while we look to add more such built to suit projects in the upcoming years. Customer experience and how we improve the community living experience is always at the top of our collective minds and we intend to continue innovating in that space.”