As per the report on Economic Times, the number of people migrating has almost doubled in the last five years with more than 9 million people in 2016 as compared to 5.5 million in 2011. There might be more than 15 companies providing a platform to find out a house on lease /rent but finding out a home is not the only solution. One of the many problems of renting out a house is setting up and redoing the furniture, wifi, kitchen setup, repairs, maintenance etc. The problem is now solved by five companies namely SimplyGuest, Nestaway, Colive, Homigo, and Stay Abode. In this article, we will be talking about a startup that not only solves the above-stated problem but also provides other add-on services.
Founders: Subbu and Ambareesha Athikunte and Mayank Pokharna
Year it was founded: 2015
Problem To Solves by this Startup: Accommodation
Funding raised: Bootstrapped
SimplyGuest is a curated marketplace for house spaces on a rental basis and also they manages the day to day home operations. The rent one pays all inclusive of monthly bills, repairs and maintenance. One thing that stands out for SimplyGuest is its value added services such as bicycle on rent, food delivery, etc. The target market of SimplyGuest is people who are currently employed or in the age bar 23-34, and they would need a way to commute from their home to workplace, relax on weekends by ordering food, and much more.
SimplyGuest focuses a lot on customer education which is an important factor considering that shared and coliving are very nascent markets in its current form. SimplyGuest onboarded ponnappa and uses cartoon to make sure people understand the basic ground rules of living in shared and coliving space. Some of them are shown below.
One of the essential parts of a website is its easy interface and functional UI. Subbu Athikunte has worked at Apigee (later acquired by Google) as a software engineer before quitting starting SimplyGuest. He has worked on distributed systems, analytics, big data, and nearly everything else in the field of a large-scale software project. He now covers the UI/UX as a member of the SimplyGuest team.
One of the most important parts of this startup was and is to find quality homes that would be readily available to rent and get equipped with other facilities. Ambareesha used to work on civil and PWD projects before SimplyGuest. He is very experienced in setting up and managing ground operations of infrastructure projects.
Mayank Pokharna has worked with Indian start-ups like Practo and Cuemath in their hyper-growth phase. In his previous role as chief of staff at Cuemath, he worked on streamlining multiple business processes to drive productivity and sales. At Practo, he was responsible for creating and managing end to end operations and business intelligence processes.
Growth and Future Plans
The company is currently bootstrapped and has already rejected an acquisition offer made by a major company trying to enter in this segment. SimplyGuest has had revenue of around 1.9 cr in the last financial year.
They have 140 beds in private flats and another 27 beds in our hostel. Of the 140 beds in shared homes, 57% are occupied by women while men hold 43%. In November 2017, they started their own ladies hostel that currently has 27 beds. The occupancy rates for beds at SimplyGuest hover around 85%.
At current growth rate, they expect to offer about 300-350 beds in shared flats and 150-200 beds in hostels within a time frame of 12 months.