New Delhi-based student accommodation platform Stanza Living has raised $10 Mn (INR 73 Cr) in a funding round led by Sequoia Capital with participation from existing investors — investment firms Matrix Partners and the California-headquartered Accel Partners.
Stanza Living will leverage the funding to expand to multiple markets and strengthen its core leadership team while onboarding specialised talent across functions.
The startup will also utilise the fresh capital to bolster its technology development, which helps it drive effectiveness into project management and efficiency in business operations while enabling it to offer personalised service delivery.
Stanza Living is a technology-enabled student accommodation concept that puts the student as a consumer at the heart of its product and service design. The startup was founded in the early part of 2017 by Sandeep Dalmia and Anindya Dutta, former executives from Boston Consulting Group and Goldman Sachs respectively.
Using the Stanza Living platform, students can find accommodation for prices ranging from $108.7 (INR 7,000) to $388.2 (INR 25,000) per month.
Sandeep Dalmia, Managing Director and Co-Founder, Stanza Living, said, “Marquee global players investing in Stanza Living underlines the confidence the investor community has in our business model. We understand that a student’s lifestyle is extremely distinct. Our industry-first, full-stack business model fundamentally enables us to design our co-living spaces and tailor our services to cater to their specific needs and desires.”
The founders bootstrapped for a while before receiving a $2 Mn boost from Matrix Partners and Accel Partners in November 2017.
“Stanza’s team and their execution are impressive, and Sequoia India is delighted to partner with them in their vision to provide quality housing to students in India. Student housing is an established asset class in the west and we believe Stanza, with its scalable business model and strong economics, can create the asset class in India,” said Ashish Agrawal, Principal, Sequoia Capital India Advisors.
Stanza Living: Making Hostel Life Better For Students
Stanza Living remodels and redesigns properties according to students’ needs, factoring in services such as food, WiFi, laundry, security, etc. The startup then makes such student accommodation and services available on a single tech-enabled platform. Besides offering accommodation facilities, the startup specialises in student well-being programmes.
Talking to Inc42 about pan-India expansion, founders said that market like Kota is important but right now the company is focusing on larger educations hubs like Pune, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
Dutta had earlier told Inc42, “Our focus is on creating a strong technology-enabled student accommodation platform and we are continuously investing in new technologies such as AI and ML to design, structure, and execute student-friendly offerings and solutions in a scalable manner across all large educational hubs across the country.”
The student accommodation platform claims to have grown exponentially — 20x since its inception — with the number of beds it’s managing rising from 100 to 2,000 in the last 12 months across educational hubs in the Delhi-NCR Region.
At present, both their facilities in North Campus, New Delhi, are running at full capacity, with over 100 students staying in them. The startup is preparing to launch in Pune, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Indore.
Stanza Living has also launched dedicated programmes such as ‘Stanza Springboard’, which focuses on providing career enhancement opportunities, and ‘Stanza Social’, centred around year-long community engagement events as well as exclusive discounted access to a curated list of restaurants, brands, and experiences.
Student Accommodation: A Nascent Market
A recent report by JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle Inc) stated that the supply in the student housing market currently stands at 6 Mn beds and that there’s a massive shortage of 5 Mn beds. This is the market that Stanza Living is targeting.
In the student housing sector, Stanza Living competes with the likes of Placio, Zocalo’s CoHoStayz.com, which caters to the needs of young professionals and university students.
CoHoStayz pegs its offerings on a co-living concept and provides managed apartments and villas while catering to the long-stay accommodation needs of young people.
Earlier in February, Noida-based Placio, a student housing startup, raised $2 Mn in a Pre-Series A funding round from Prestellar Ventures, a Singapore-based private equity fund.
However, there are very few startups addressing the problem of student stays in the growing online home rental spaces.
Going forward to 2019, the company aims to close the year with more than INR 20 Cr revenues and increase its business 5-10 times in next 12-18 months. With its USP being solely focussed on students, Stanza Living has just entered its next phase of growth.