Placio Disrupting Student Housing in India; Launching 1K Properties Near Delhi-NCR
The idea was to organize the most unorganized student housing in India which is approximately USD 50 billion market in the country.
Incorporated in March 2016 and headquartered at Noida in Uttar Pradesh, Rental Stay Private Limited or brand name Placio is a fastest growing branded student housing facilities near universities and colleges in India. The Amity Innovation Incubator incubated company has recently launched off campus student housing for Amity University with 1000 units or beds capacity near Amity University campus at Noida.
Placio works strategically and builds its network of properties around Universities to provide modern infrastructure for student housing. The company focuses on clean, hygienic, and secure set up for students with provisions for both community based and independent living. The properties are equipped with modern infrastructure facilities of boarding and lodging including food, security, air-conditioning, internet, and house-keeping, besides provisions for health and fitness.
Placio has been co-founded by three professionals with extensive corporate work experience. While, Rohit Pateria, a Chartered Accountant, is the chief executive officer, Ankush Arora, a post graduate in hospitalities is the chief business officer, and Atul Singh, a BTECH from IIT Roorkey and MBA from IIM Ahmedabad acts as the chief operational officer.
The idea was to organize the most unorganized student housing in India which is approximately USD 50 billion market in the country. There are in excess of 50 million students pursuing higher studies outside their home town with average enrolment increasing 30% year –on-year. The founders of Placio observed that it is not easy for students to find right accommodation in a new city. Additionally there are limited capacities available in university/college hostels, which force the students to opt for highly un-organized and poorly managed neighborhood PG or rented apartment. While there are co-living spaces available in many leading cities but they primarily focus on working singles and differs from the needs of a student housing facility. Also, such co-living properties are not easily available near the campus. Thus, Placio came up as first in the lot which is working for university students and building capacity around campuses. In the first phase, the company has aggregated network of 15 properties having 20 to 60 rooms available both on single or shared basis.
Though the current set of properties target Amity University off campus student housing, Placio plans to disrupt the student housing services sector in India with its expansion plans include similar properties to be built at Gurugram, Lucknow, Jaipur, Ghaziabad, and Pune. Placio would be targeting 52 universities and colleges in Delhi-NCR and build capacity around the campuses with a capacity of 10000 beds in coming one year. Being an Amity Innovation Incubator company, Placio enjoys some advantages but there is not direct tie up with Amity University. The company has observed huge traction and targets 100% occupancy in next two to three months. Placio generally works on a partnership model and exclusive arrangement with the property owners and changes 10-15% as management fee. Though finding right kind of properties near the university and college campuses is a challenge, Placio plans to work with property brokers to maintain required supply of right kind of properties.
Placio living is about happy living and the company uses technology as an enabler to render its services including customer relationship management (CRM) and property management. The bookings can be done online on company’s website by logging through one’s Facebook or Linkedin account. The website (www.placio.in) has full description of the chosen property – various amenities, pricing, distance to nearest hospitals, markets, police station, bus stand, railway station, and airport, and rules of living and payment, among others. The student can also create one’s profile and upload identity card and Aadhar card for verification. The company is working on a mobile application which would integrate the CRM to facilitate the student to lodge complaint regarding any services/maintenance, interact with customer care executive, and share any other feedback.
Additionally, Placio is working on a 24X7 student emergency helpline in collaboration with 24Response.com, India’s 1st on demand safety service provider that provides quick response and immediate assistance to the users. The smart phone app would track the resident’s location and connect him/her with the 24Response command and control centre besides sending an alert to the nearest team for assistance. Similarly, through the ‘parent helpline’, parents can know about their child’s wellbeing in case they want to get them connected through Placio. There are dedicated community managers for any distress or difficulty. Parents could also have direct connection with the community manager to know anything about their child. Placio also focuses on other vital aspects of student’s life like adjustment to a new place, performance in studies, home sickness, and exam time stress, among others, and plans to provide mentorship or consultation services as per the need.
In addition to a diverse range in the food menu catering to the food habits and nutrition needs of students coming from different part of India and abroad, Placio allows the residents to make their own menu in consultation among themselves. The recreation needs are taken care with cable television and sport lounge having facilities for indoor games like Pool, Table Tennis, and Fook Ball. Some Placio properties have an in-house Gymnasium also. The students can keep one’s vehicle in the premises; however, Placio provides pick and drop facility. The company works with several third party service providers like cycle and bike rental services, guest houses and hotels for visitors of students who need to stay overnight.
Besides 24 Response for SOS helpline, the company has tied up with professional service providers for property maintenance and Zipzapp deals card for discount offers students. Priced between INR 10,000 and INR 25,000 per month, currently the Placio properties at Noida are divided in three categories, namely Placio Dorm, Placio Prime, and Placio Luxe.
In its initial year of operation, the company has posted revenue of INR 25lacs, and expects to cross INR 15 crore in financial year 17-18. Having raised an undisclosed amount in seed capital, Placio plans to raise US Dollar one million from group of investors.
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