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Co-living Spaces Startup StayAbode Attracts Strategic Investors

StayAbode was co-founded in mid 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 Runnr, Treebo Hotels and Roadhouse Hostels.

Viral Chhajer, Devashish Dalmiya, Varun Bhalla

StayAbode, a start-up that is building co-living spaces, has closed a strategic round of funding for 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). Some existing investors also participated. The funds will be used to scale the business by strengthening technology and team. StayAbode currently offers over 260 units spread over 5 properties across Bengaluru and has plans to expand to other cities in due course.

Communal 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.

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 like fully furnished 1 or 2 BHKs with communal areas - common rooms, games areas, music and art corners. One doesn’t need to be bothered about managing an apartment - utility bills are paid, linen washed and where one cooks only when one feels like. One can connect with like-minded people.

Nao Murakami, General Partner, Incubate Fund India, says, “Millenials want to live in flexible, hassle free and fully managed homes and as their population in Tier 1 metros in India is growing, there is a huge gap in demand and supply. StayAbode’s product-market-fit and model in the co-living spaces is strong. All three co-founders of StayAbode have strong backgrounds to operate a business in this space and they complement each other. We believe StayAbode has a strong team with great execution capability and can capture growth in a promising market. We are happy and excited to join their journey!”

For property owners or real estate developers, StayAbode uses real-estate efficiently by fully utilizing the property, giving them higher yield on their properties. StayAbode helps increase rental yields from the current 3-4% to 10-11% for property owners.

Sanjay Shenoy, MD, Legacy Global Projects, adds, “60% of the migrant population in Bengaluru looks for shared accommodation. Traditional, long stay PGs are unable to fulfil this demand. The services offered by them do not match up to the expectations of these customers. The spaces are cramped without basic facilities in place. This is exactly the opportunity StayAbode is capitalising on. This generation has an appetite for experiential living. Their focus is less on accumulating fixed assets and more on a holistic living experience, where resources are shared, connections are made and ideas flourish”.

Mridul Upreti, ex joint MD JLL India, “I am fascinated by Stayabode’s focus on building a community that encourages people to share experiences while co-living. A co living / co working community experience is what most young professionals prefer”.

Viral Chhajer, Co-founder & CEO, StayAbode, says, “We're excited to bring on board Incubate Fund, Sanjay Shenoy and Mridul Upreti as strategic partners as we scale the business. Incubate with their vast presence and strong network across South East Asia will bring on board a more global perspective to the co-living phenomenon while Sanjay Shenoy and Mridul Upreti with their deep understanding of the real estate space will play a key role in the supply front of things for us. This round comes at a very short interval from our previous round and we're proud to have created significant enterprise value for our shareholders since then”.

Incubate Fund is a leading seed-focused venture capital fund based in Tokyo, Singapore, and Bangalore. It has invested more than 200 startups in Japan and other parts of Asia. In 2016, the firm decided to start investment to Indian startups and set up a new India focused fund. So far, it made 6 investments in India and always actively looking for startups targeting large market with innovative ideas.

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