With the novel concept of ‘co-living space,’ the Bengaluru based Grexter is trying to resolve the fundamental problem of ‘affordable accommodation’ plaguing today’s nomadic millennials. Founded by Pratul Gupta and Nikhil Dosi, today Grexter is certainly not the only startup that is trying to scratch the nascent market of co-living space. However, this young startup has definitely made a quit a splash In the Bengaluru’s local market and given a real head-start to its ambition.
Today it offers state-of-the-art, fully-furnished co-living spaces and eliminates key problems plaguing the rental accommodation sphere such as hefty brokerage, low-quality homes, sky-high rents and deposits, and picky homeowners. Students and working professionals obviously constitute its primary customers.
With today over 5000 operational beds across Bengaluru city, Grexter plans to increase its citywide footprint to 10,000 beds by the end of 2019. The startup’s ambitions are also buoyed after it raised $1.5 Mn in a pre-series A funding round earlier this year. Venture Catalysts spearheaded the round.
Techpluto caught up with Grexter’s co-founder Mr. Pratul Gupta in an exclusive interview. In this one-on-one interview, Gupta sheds light on Grexter’s future plans, the recent acquisition of i2Stay, future of co-living market and many other important aspects.
Q) Grexter is currently offering co-living services only in Bengaluru city? When are you expanding across other Indian cities?
Yes, we currently offer our co-living services only in Bengaluru and we are present across 21+ locations across the city. We have plans of expanding our operations into Pune and Hyderabad by 2020.
Q) Grexter recently acqui-hired co-living startup i2Stay. How do you think that this latest acquisition will add up to your business?
Through this acquisition, we have added 2000 new beds to Grexter Living’s inventory. Besides, we welcomed i2Stay’s CEO Rajasekhar Gowreneni on board as the Managing Partner for South India. He has already become a valuable asset to our team by undertaking the responsibility to drive the overall business growth as well as the geographical expansion.
Q) What are some of the important facilities and amenities that Grexter’s co-living space offers?
We provide state-of-the-art, fully-furnished co-living spaces that are equipped with a community kitchen, terrace lounge, fitness and games room, cinema room and a robust tech-enabled security system (24×7 CCTV surveillance). Our offerings also include high-speed Wi-Fi, DTH connectivity, professional housekeeping and laundry services, on-demand maintenance support and daily meals. Apart from these amenities, we host events every weekend to keep our residents engaged.
Q) What, according to you, are some of the key factors that are driving and fueling India’s co-living industry?
A multitude of factors is directly or indirectly propelling the growth of India’s co-living industry. The increasing number of nomadic millennials, demand for affordable yet quality stays, high disposable income and the influx of technology are some of the major factors that are fueling this sector. More millennials are choosing co living coz they don’t have to face problems like stringent rules for bachelors in societies, general acceptance, longingness to find like-minded people in a city where you are alone, being able to have your friends over anytime.
Q) Today with people having so many options in the co-living space, why do you think that people should choose only Grexter’s co-living rooms?
Since we primarily cater to the student population, Grexter Living properties are affordable to stay for a long time. The rent is inclusive of both utility and maintenance charges. The rent for a double-sharing room starts at INR 9,000, whereas the rent for a single starts from INR 16,000. Besides affordability, our USP lies in the holistic approach we take while building a true co-living community. We don’t just provide a place to stay, but we create a safe space where our residents can thrive.
Q) When does Grexter plan to raise a full-fledged series A funding round?
Q) What is your view on the future of India’s co-living industry in terms of growth and untapped demand?
While it is still at a nascent stage, India’s co-living sector presents massive growth opportunities. The industry is estimated to have a market value of over $2 billion by 2020, states a recent report by RedSeer Consulting. The figure indicates the continuously increasing demand for co-living spaces across the country. With millennials and Gen-Z opting for renting, the co-living trend is expected to gain stronger grounds. I am confident that the co-living industry will evolve into one of the most profitable segments of Indian real estate.
Q) Do you see any major foreseeable challenges that may besiege this nascent industry in the future?
In the future, the co-living industry will face certain challenges like the lack of built-to-suit properties, shortage of space in urban centre and sky-high property prices.
Q) Where do you see Grexter in the next 2-3 years?
I have never been a big planner. I prefer to go with the flow. Although, we are eyeing at expansions in Pune and Hyderabad in 20,000 beds in Grexter’s inventory.
Q) Today with several well-funded startups competing in the co-living industry, what is your view on the current competition level existing in the industry?
In the past two years, India has witnessed a mushrooming of platforms providing co-living spaces. Ranging from start-ups to established real estate organizations, more companies are now foraying into this industry. Yet, the co-living market is far from being saturated every player adds something new to the table and helps to grow the industry.