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If You're Looking For Economical & Fulfilling Homes on Rent in Bengaluru(India), StayAbode Makes it Possible For You!
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Can we get introduced to the Founder/s of Stayabode?
Our 3 co-founders at StayAbode come from varying backgrounds and different expertise which allows for great balance across all the functions of the business.
Viral Chhajer(Co-founder & CEO, StayAbode)
At StayAbode, Viral is responsible for Business Development and Growth.
Prior to StayAbode, Viral headed Marketing at food ordering and delivery platform Runnr. He has also co-founded Bribe Me, a flash sale marketplace for the traditional brick and mortar stores.
Viral started his career as a Business Analyst at Goldman Sachs and is a BBA Finance from Christ University, Bangalore.
Varun Bhalla(Co-founder & CTO, StayAbode)
Varun Bhalla takes care of Technology and Product at StayAbode.
Prior to StayAbode, Varun was a Mobile Developer at Treebo Hotels. He along with Viral Chhajer, also co-founded Bribe Me, a flash sale marketplace for the traditional brick and mortar stores.
Varun started his career as a Mobile Developer at foOfys Solutions. He holds a B.Tech in Computer Science from Vellore Institute of Technology.
Devashish Dalmiya(Co-founder & CFO, StayAbode)
Devashish excels in taking care of Resident Experience and Financial Positioning at Abode. Prior to this, he handled Operations at Roadhouse Hostels. His career trajectory in finance began with being a Portfolio Manager at Right Horizons Investment Advisory and Wealth Management and an Equity and Mutual Fund Analyst at International Money Matters. Devashish holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management in Finance from Christ University.
In the picture above: (From Left) Mr. Virral Chhajer, Mr. Devashish Dalmiya, Mr, varun Bhalla.
What is the vision behind the idea of StayAbode? How did it originate?
Devashish was the one who originally thought of this space and it came to him when he was backpacking across Europe and lived across the many hostels there and realised how the sense of community and the convenience of living that these spaces provided was also required in the urban spaces where young professionals are coming to work today in India.
Moving to a new city can be daunting and inconvenient. Over the last few years, it has become more challenging to find a convenient and fulfilling home on rent at an affordable cost. So, we decided to address this very issue by serving StayAbode as a solution - beautiful, fully-furnished private homes with shared spaces and a bustling community scene, that add value to our residents' lives at less cost.
What were the key challenges and bottlenecks faced in the Journey of Stayabode?
Right from managing landlord expectations in the beginning when very few of them understood what co-living was to even managing resident expectations when they moved in to our spaces. Education has always been one of our biggest challenges and through our social media and with other players entering, the conversation has become easier
What is the amount of Funding you have raised so far? How are you Funded?
We have had a few Angel investors who came on board early on which include Japanese funds and angel investors Incubate Fund, Akatsuki and most recently we brought on Voyage Group; Vineet Sekhsaria, head of real estate investing at Morgan Stanley; and Mridul Upreti, former joint managing director of JLL India are our initial investors.
What differentiates StayAbode spaces from the spaces of other Co-Living Ventures?
The overall experience right from how the spaces are designed to our community events where we organise upwards of 25 events a month across all our properties which allows for great community and networking opportunities. Our tech stack with our resident app which is a one-stop destination for all your issues, event RSVPs, rental payments and getting to know your neighbours.
How do you plan to face the ever-rising competition from the smaller players like PGs and other brands like WeLive entering the Indian segment as well?
As the market is currently fairly unorganised, our effort is to focus on building a great product with a strong tech layer that enables a seamless experience across the board for all our stakeholders, residents and property owners. We are looking to tackle the PGs with a strong brand and guaranteed services and accountability which is really what a customer today is looking for. As for the entry of large brands like WeLive, we believe that only further validates what we are doing and looking to build. While they operate at a very different scale with much larger spaces, our focus on smaller inventory spaces, ensure our offering is stronger in the commercial hubs of the city. Also the market is large enough to accommodate players across consumer segments and price points and that gives us enough belief in the long run.
Would you like to share some statistics of StayAbode?
Today with an inventory of over 1000 beds across 17 properties in Bangalore, we have an over 97% occupancy across these properties. Over 25% of our bookings come through referrals and at an average price per bed of Rs. 11,500 we are perfectly built for the young working millennial.
Where do you envision to see the above numbers reach in the next 2-3 years?
We are looking at over 5000 beds in the next 2 years with a spread across 2-3 other cities in India. We expect to hold the occupancy numbers over the next year which will allow the scale that we are looking to build while average prices will remain around the same mark too.
How do you arrive at the unique names for your Residential Spaces?
All our properties are named after pop culture butlers or AI assistants. The idea for the brand was always to be an enabler for our residents and we believe the greatest butlers have really been people who have helped do exactly that.
Which are the cities StayAbode is operational in? Are there any expansion plans on the cards(as on publication date)?
We are operational only in Bangalore as of now and we believe there is a lot of depth that can be managed in the city itself. We will be looking at pilots in Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune maybe in the next year.
What is your message for the other very Early-stage Startups & Entrepreneurship Enthusiasts?
I believe the objective would always be to have clarity when starting a business. There is a difference between vision and clarity and I feel that while having a broad vision for the business is great, scale will always teach you new things that may alter that vision but if you have complete clarity of immediate goals and the large problem you are solving for your consumer, you will always be well served by the instincts of you and the team you bring on.
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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 25th April 2019.