Singapore-headquartered student housing platform Oxfordcaps has raised $8 Mn in Series A funding, led by Times Internet with participation from existing investors Kalaari Capital and Silicon Valley-based 500 Startups.
Talking to Inc42, cofounders Annu Talreja and Priyanka Gera said that the fresh funds will be used to expand to nearly 10K beds in more than 10 cities in India. The funding will also help them in standardizing its student housing product with design thinking and technology at the core of the experience.
Oxfordcaps: 30X Growth In 10 Months
Gera and Talreja founded Oxfordcaps in 2017 to offer a custom designed and standardised student housing product with a full-stack model of Oxfordcaps brand services guidelines services and amenities.
The company expanded into India in 2018 and claims to have grown 30X since then. It has expanded from 200 beds to acquisition of over 7,000 beds in Delhi-NCR and Dehradun.
On being questioned about why Dehradun, founders told Inc42, that it is indeed a very good promising market with quality colleges and schools. Dehradun presents huge market opportunity in student housing to Oxfordcaps with several colleges such as Doon University and montessori schools.
Oxfordcaps aims to grow its operations across education hubs in India including Indore, Jaipur, Pune, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad. The company is also investing heavily on technology, particularly focusing on IoT and Deep Learning architectures to provide a customized and engaging living experience for students.
How Oxfordcaps Enables Student Housing?
Talking to Inc42, Priyanka Gera explained that the company leases out buildings, refurbishes them to the company’s standard and then offers accommodation to students. The company focuses more on university students living across its centres, and is also exploring entry into markets like Kota, which focuses more on coaching students across spectrum of high school students, graduates, post-graduates etc.
Oxfordcaps works directly with universities and colleges as well to build a tailored experience for the student community, both via on-campus and off-campus housing.
The company operates via three sub-brands and caters to students across price segments including Oxfordcaps Premium Residences, Oxfordcaps Student Residences and Oxfordcaps Dorms for the budget segment. These include services such as wifi, laundry, nutritious meals, professional housekeeping and an array of events and activities focused on career development and lifestyle for its students.
Vani Kola, managing director at Kalaari Capital, said that more than 10.4 Mn students across India migrate to cities every year to pursue their academic dreams. “However, student housing today suffers from a high level of fragmentation, lack of quality solutions, price transparency, reliability and complete lack of tech enablement of processes. OxfordCaps is addressing this gap,” she added.
Abhishek Gupta, VP, Times Internet Ltd. said that education and student lifecycle are the key segments for them as an investor. “We are very excited to partner with them on their journey to provide unparalleled student housing experience. We believe that there is a tremendous demand in this segment, coupled with founders’ relentless hustle, it has the potential to transform the industry,” he added.
Student Housing Market In India
In the past few years, India has been among one of the most active markets outside the US for real estate technology investments. The real estate needs of the country are vast and startups have only just begun to scratch the surface of the opportunity for technology-enabled innovation.
Hospitality giant OYO, which has revamped hospitality market and real estate, has also entered student housing with its OYO Living (now Life) product.
On the other hand, targeting students, Stanza Living provides affordable accommodation and services — such as food, WiFi, laundry, security, etc — in Delhi/NCR, and are preparing to launch in Pune, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Indore. Placio also offers modern living spaces, fully furnished rooms, private rooms and personal apartments near localities and university campuses.