A collection of personal Interviews with celebrated leaders, entrepreneurs, corporate honchos or any success stories.
After CoWorking Spaces, Did You Know That CoLiving Spaces are the Next IN Thing. COLIVE is making it happen
CoWorking has become a jargon everyone seems to resonate with already and has received large acceptance globally. It looks like Coliving might be the next jargon for the memories to retain, recall and talk about and COLIVE might be playing a large part in making that happen. Read ON!
Could we get introduced to the Founder of CoLive?
Suresh Rangarajan K (SRK), the Founder and CEO of Colive, is a Chartered Accountant and a passionate start-up professional. An alumnus of the prestigious Yale School of Management, he was a core member of the founding team of Citi-Times’ JV TimesOfMoney.com. It was under his exceptional leadership that remit2india.com became the world’s leading online money transfer platform and one of the most profitable internet-centric businesses in India at that time. Suresh then went on to establish an innovative real estate enterprise called Artha. During his stint with Artha, he was involved in the planning and designing of the state-of-the-art Startup City & Knowledge Park – Emprasa.
After gathering years of experience in the real-estate space, Suresh founded Colive to solve the housing woes faced by urban millennials in India while also offering a new asset class of buy-to-let properties to investors.
What led to the origination of idea of CoLive?
The idea behind Colive was simple – to provide quality and hassle-free rental spaces at reasonable prices. Prior to establishing Colive, I was associated with a real estate enterprise called Artha, where I learned the ins and outs of the domestic rental space. I realized the fact that finding a fully-furnished accommodation with the freedom to live independently is next to impossible for India’s young population. Especially, college students and first-time job goers often face a range of problems while looking for accommodation in an unfamiliar city. We wanted to address this grave issue by offering them an end-to-end housing solution.
We entered the market back in 2015, when the concept of co-living was just gaining traction. However, we had a gut feeling that co-living would be the next big thing in the real estate industry.
What have been the key challenges and bottlenecks faced in the Journey of CoLive thus far? What are the important lessons derived from it?
Presenting a product ahead of its time was definitely the major challenge for Colive. As I mentioned earlier, we started our journey at a time when Indians had just started warming up to the idea of co-living. Added to that, were factors like obtaining government permissions and convincing the investors. Another roadblock we faced was finding built-to-suit properties that matched our requirements. Indeed, it was a hard time for us, but we learnt some important lessons like patience and humility. And, today, we take pride in being amongst the most prominent co-living space providers in India.
Have you managed to raise funding? How are you funded?
Committed to revolutionizing the renting space in India, we have caught the eye of a couple of investors over the years. In February 2018, we had raised a sum of USD 1.8 million from Ncubate Capital Partners. More recently in February this year, we secured a sum of USD 10 million from Salarpuria Sattva Group in our latest funding round.
What differentiates CoLive properties from the properties of other Co-Living Ventures?
One of the key factors that differentiate us from our other co-living companies is our efficient technology-driven process. From finding the right property and having access to modern facilities, to making changes and availing customer support – everything at Colive is easily accessible through its website or app. When it comes to paying the monthly rent too, the resident doesn’t need to be physically present to make the transaction.
Besides the basic amenities, our properties are well-equipped with exciting and recreational features such like beautifully-designed terrace lounges, dining areas, dance clubs, games and fitness rooms, and cinema rooms, to name a few. Additionally, we host cultural events and parties on a regular basis, much to the delight of our residents.
What is the business philosophy and focus at the core of Colive? What are the attitudes followed?
Colive offers to its residents a full-stack model and one-bill for all utilities. The residents and resident culture at Colive properties is our primary focus. Giving them the comfort and convenience in terms of shorter commute time, common spaces to unwind and relax (Cinema room, terrace lounge, community kitchen, cafeteria, co-working space and more) vibrant social life with regular events & group classes at their properties (Yoga, Zumba, Stand-up Comedy, celebrating occasions etc.). Colive offers a wholesome experience by giving our customers what they need (fully-furnished rooms and apartments, advanced security features, service and maintenance support, a bundle of utilities and amenities) and exciting add-ons.
Our design philosophy is to have private spaces and common areas that are exciting, vibrant and appealing to millenials.
Colive and its senior management has a real-estate DNA with immense practical knowledge of the real estate industry and trends.
Technology driven processes – Beginning with exploring of rental spaces to booking, check-in, billing and raising service request all can be done through the Colive App or through the website. Apart from this centrally monitored security management system, Facial Recognition Access Management System are among few examples of how Colive is a pioneer in tech-enabled solutions.
Colive channels the ‘Power of Co’- Colive, Community & Collaborate. Residents connect in spaces designed to bring incredible people together all the while enjoying the benefits of having a private space.
Would you like to share some statistics of CoLive?
At present, we manage 100+ buildings across 3 metropolitan cities, i.e. Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai and our inventory has 15,000 beds. More than 8000 residents are part of Colive’s community today.
Suresh has been conferred with the prestigious Udyog Rattan award. Additionally, he has earned the coveted title of “Trend Setter in Real Estate” from WCRC and Ernst & Young.
Where do you envision seeing the above numbers reach in the next 2-3 years? What are the next targets and milestones?
Well, we are looking to scale our operations from 15,000 beds to 1 lakh beds in the next 2 years. However, our immediate plan is to have 25,000+ beds in Colive’s inventory by the end of this year.
Which cities are Colive properties located in? Are there any expansion plans on the cards?
We are currently present in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. While we will primarily be focussing on these three cities, we have plans of expanding our operations into other metropolitan cities as well. Pune and Mumbai are proposed metropolitan cities we wish to explore for expanding.
What have been the significant changes & improvements in the Co-Living sector in the country? Where do you see it’s headed to next?
Albeit still at a nascent stage, the co-living sector in India has witnessed phenomenal growth over the past few years. If we take a look at the recent PropTiger report, it projects that India’s co-living segment has the potential to have a market value of $93-billlion. This robust growth will be driven by millennials as well as Gen Z who seek a quality yet affordable housing experience. So far, we have seen a high demand for co-living spaces in the tier I cities, but it won’t be long before tier II and tier II cities jump on the bandwagon.
From an operator’s perspective, the co-living market is increasingly turning towards the proco/opco model. The demand for co-living spaces will keep on increasing and operators will increasingly look at tie-up’s with the developers to create inventory that is built-to suit co-living facilities with all necessary amenities that are essential in the co-living space.
How do you plan to face the ever-rising competition from the other brands in the Co-Living sector in India?
As a serial entrepreneur, I have always believed that the focus should be on your target audience, not your competitors. Having a customer-centric approach helps you stay ahead of your competitors automatically. We have been working relentlessly towards our vision of making quality homes accessible to young adults. And, it gives me immense pride to say that the brand Colive is now synonymous with co-living. Despite the emergence of several new co-living companies in the last two years, we have marinated our position.
Could you share a couple of testimonials of the Colivers and their experience with the brand?
“I did my BTech from Bangalore and I used to stay at a family friend’s house during those days. While I went on to pursue my MBA from a different state, my tryst with this city was not just over yet. As fate would have had it, I got placed in a Bangalore-based company two years later. This time, I wanted my own space and started looking for a studio apartment. The only decent places I could find were beyond my budget so I ended up moving to a cramped PG. Just when I was thinking of going back to my hometown, I came across this article about Colive. Honestly speaking, I had my doubts in the beginning, but now I can confidently say that opting for Colive was the right decision.” – Kshama, IT professional.
“When I first moved to Bangalore last year, I spent days in search of an accommodation. Being a student, I didn’t have the budget to pay a sum of INR 70-80K for the deposit. While I narrowed down on some cheap places, they were pretty far from my college and the commute would take about 2 hours. Some of my classmates were already staying in Colive and I decided to give it a shot. It’s been almost 6 months since I moved in and I couldn’t have been happier. I’ve met and interacted with so many interesting people, who have helped me broaden my horizons.”– Lokesh Gautam, 2nd-year student.
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What is your message for the other very early-stage Startups & Entrepreneurship-Enthusiasts?
The only message I would like to give to my fellow entrepreneurs is that there’s no shortcut to success. The entrepreneurial journey is full of setbacks and surprises, but you can’t afford to lose patience. The initial years, in particular, could be extremely challenging. And, the only thing that will keep you going is passion.
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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 11th July 2019.