Indian Angel Network Invests Rs 3 Cr in Shared Accommodations Startup Square Plums
The funding round has been led by experienced entrepreneurs and IAN lead investors VGN Prakash, Amitabh Shrivastava, Krishna Jha and Ravindra Krishnappa. VGN Prakash is further joining the company board.
Shared accommodations startup – Square Plums aiming to become the largest chain of branded rental homes for young adults in India, raises Rs 3 crores from Indian Angel Network, the World’s largest network of angel investors. The funding round has been led by experienced entrepreneurs and IAN lead investors VGN Prakash, Amitabh Shrivastava, Krishna Jha and Ravindra Krishnappa. VGN Prakash is further joining the company board. The company is founded by professionals who have expertise in consumer Internet and hospitality industry. The technology built by Square Plums enables users to easily search for fully furnished homes in locations of their choice and matches them with up other likeminded individuals who can share the home with them.
In cities like Bangalore, finding an apartment to rent is a time taking process. One needs to engage a broker and visit multiple apartments before finding a suitable one. Online portals list many options, but often when the property is visited, users find that what was listed is not what is actually available.
This is a bigger problem for singles because many home owners reject renting to singles. Even when an apartment is available for singles, it comes with a heavy security deposit. Besides if a few friends get together and pool the costs of the security deposit and furniture, they face problems when one of the friends decides to move out for professional or personal reasons.
There are hardly any homes that come fully furnished and without heavy security deposits. Having been part of hospitality industry and providing technology solutions for hotels in india for several years, Rajesh spotted the opportunity and got in together with Hemant to solve this difficult but common problem.
“Our aim is to provide easy and affordable stay and disrupt the long stay accommodation market for young adults. Young professionals from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities work in high end knowledge parks and MNCs but are often forced to live at substandard bachelor pads and PGs/hostels. This is mainly because good accommodations in premium gated communities in India are available in large sizes (34 bhk). For them staying at huge houses and premium societies is difficult. We at Square Plums create branded curated accommodation which is then fractionalized at a price point which is affordable to the young working professionals in the metro cities,” commented CoFounder & COO, Hemant Attray, a BITSPilani graduate and serial entrepreneur whose earlier startup ITFinity was acquired by Infosys spinoff Onmobile.
“While the problems faced by bachelors trying to rent apartments are oft repeated, we also tried to think from the perspecti ve of the hom e owner. An individual homeowner does not have the wherewithal to do background checks of tenants and chooses the safe option of renting his home only to families. It is quite expensive to furnish an apartment and there is no choice but to pass on this responsibility to tenants. Individuals moving to the city without a family find it a cumbersome cost to put down heavy deposits and purchase furniture for a short term that eventually turns into baggage that needs to be moved around, whenever the home is changed. The usual compromise is to settle into a shoddy PGs/hostels which offers poor accommodation and lifestyle options. So we came up with a solution that i s a winwin for both the home owners and the tenants,” commented CoFounder & CEO, Rajesh Kumar Kotta, a BITS Pilani Graduate and serial entrepreneur with successful ventures in Europe in Financial Domain and profitable bootstrapped ventures in India in Hospitality Domain.
Founders Rajesh Kumar Kotta and Hemant Atray commented on raising investment from IAN saying, “The team at IAN worked proactively and supported us all along the journey for creating a business that is viable in the long run. Extremely thankful to the angels for believing in us.”
Lead IAN investor VGN Prakash commented on the investment saying, “Square Plums focusses on providing ‘branded’ accommodation which we believe none of the other players in the market is currently providing. The proposition is very interesting targeting the large and upwardly mobile market of bachelors in the metro cities. At IAN, we always look for a product which differentiates from its competitors effectively. Square Plums is well poised to grow in this cluttered yet profitable accommodation segment in India.”
Currently, Square Plums accommodation options are available in Bangalore. The raised funds will be utilized for onboarding the properties as per Square Plums design standards and building a robust technology platform for tenants, apartment owners and prospective tenants. The company also plans to launch its mobile app to further offer a smooth experience to its customers.
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