CoHo Plans National Footprint; To Raise Rs 100 Cr

Co-living player CoHo is planning to raise Rs 100 corre in the next 3 years to have a national footprint and to have 1 lakh beds under operation. The company which has presence mostly in Bengaluru and Delhi NCR, plans to expand to Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad and Mumbai in the next few years. It plans operations in Teir-II and Tier-III cities. In an exclusive interview to RealtynInfra.com, CoHo's Founder and CEO Uday Lakkar says the company has some unique offerings which differentiates it from other players in the market. Here are the excerpts:

Ques 1 How much money the company (CoHo) plans to raise in the near term and how?

CoHo is planning to raise Rs 100 crore from financial institutions in the near term for expanding further to 1 lakh beds.

Ques 2 How and where the company plans to expand? What is the current number of beds and how much the company plans to add in the next 2-3 years?

We currently have 3,500+ operational beds and 10,000 beds in the pipeline. We are planning to scale up to 1 lakh beds in the next 3 years. We hope to be in the major tier 1 cities in India (Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune and  Hyderabad).

Ques 3 What are the factors that are in favour of co-living industry in India and how CoHo plans to leverage them?

1. Shared accommodations thrive with the community in and around the space. Millennials are migrating to urban India for jobs and higher studies and they rely largely on their ecosystem for growth and engagement. Choosing a good community to stay with becomes equally important along with a good place to work or study.

2. Being in a different city and managing everything for your own accommodation is a pain point for millennials. Shared accommodations like CoHo provides bundled offering so that occupiers do not have to worry about housekeeping, repairs, maintenance, WiFi, DTH recharge, electricity bills, water bills etc. Occupiers are charged a monthly fee which includes all your services and amenities and strong online concierge system makes sure you have a comfortable stay.

3. Millennials prefer convenience not only in finding an accommodation but during the stay of the accommodation as well. CoHo has been successful to lure the target group by providing the same with our Resident App which acts has one touch point for all the payments, privileged offers, online concierge, engaging with the community and other add-on services. Smart locks are typically installed to avoid key management in large shared accommodations as well.

4. In Tier 1 cities especially in Delhi NCR and Mumbai the discrimination towards youngsters and bachelors for accommodations and the overall quality of youth accommodations (for students and working professionals) is in an abysmal state with inconsistent services, poor infrastructure and no technology whatsoever. Co-living spaces which are rising in India is trying to address these pain points and the struggle millennials go through. 

5. Millennials moving frequently to different cities for work/study prefer consistency in the quality of accommodation and the ease to find them as well. CoHO is addressing the same across different cities with consistent accommodations for young professionals and students giving flexibility to millennials.

Ques 4 Is CoHo looking for partnerships with real estate companies? If yes, what kind of partnerships will these be?

CoHo is partnering with real estate developers and asset owners across the country for asset collaboration where CoHo acts as a coliving operator.

Ques 5 What is the business model of CoHo (leasing or franchising)? Is that expected to change in the next 1-2 years?

We have been doing fixed leave and revenue sharing models with asset owners and operating the same. As a platform with strong operating expertise and technology we do intend to create a strong platform which will be able to push franchising as well in this space.

Ques 6 In what way is CoHo different from other coliving players and what value does a customer (student) get from CoHo that he/she will not get from any other company?

CoHo Community engagements are something which every resident looks forward to during his stay at CoHo. CoHo organises various events, sessions and meet-ups for the residents, so that there's no dull moment after work, holidays or on weekends. Community events act as another platform for young professionals & students living in the CoHo ecosystem to interact and engage with each other.

CoHo believes in heavily leveraging technology as a means of driving delight in resident experience. CoHo Resident App acts as a one stop solution for all day-to-day engagement like customer on-boarding, fee payment, complaint redressal, privileged offers, community engagement, rating your experience etc. Besides, technology forms the strong backbone of all backend processes for efficient rapid scale-up. Both technology and community engagements in each CoHo space has been key to growing our community both emotionally and culturally.

Ques 7 Any plans to get into tier 2 and tier 3 cities? If yes, how many beds in these smaller cities in the next 2-3 is the company planning?    

We do intend to go to tier-2 cities as we scale up to 1 lakh beds in the next three years.

Ques 8 What is the average size of CoHo centres/houses? Is it going to change in the near future? Are  they likely to get bigger? 

The average size of CoHo spaces right now hovers around 80-90 beds and our largest property has 200 beds. The size of the building according to us will keep increasing with built-to-suit buildings coming up and it should stabilize around 500 beds.

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