Startup Sunday Season 1 Epsiode 11 (NestAway)

Are you a bachelor and recently relocated to a new city? How easy was it to get a home of your choice? Want a nest away from home?

yourstory-nestawayIn India, bachelors are not easily welcomed in residential areas and looked with suspicion. Working singles are seen as having a casual lifestyle with untimely waking hours and irregular schedules. This notion has been there in the Indian society for a few decades now and NestAway aims to change the outlook people have.

A bunch of friends who moved to Bangalore for work went through the same plight. Getting a job suddenly seemed a trivial affair than getting a good house. “The youth housing infrastructure in cities is completely broken. Owners don’t trust singles and when they do, they impose many restrictions, such as not allowing one to come back home after 10 pm. The city just doesn’t treat them well and they feel like outsiders,” says Sahu, one of the four founders of NestAway Technologies.

The startup was started in Jan 2015 by Amarendra Sahu, Smruti Parida, Deepak Dhar and Jitendra Jagadev. It comprises of 2,000 owners and 10,000 tenants across four cities – Bangalore, the National Capital Region, Hyderabad and Pune. It is helping tenants and owners in each and every step of the rental process while maintaining trust. It focuses on having a predefined set of processes and a common rental agreement to eliminate the scope for surprises.

NestAway is launching family homes in January. “It’s a new form of accommodation. Whatever is your budget, whatever you call home, our goal is to provide it,” says Sahu. For the bachelors, they have to give two months deposit but no brokerage. The services are provided on the app. It has collaborated with numerous payment service providers to facilitate transactions through app or website. It provides a guarantee if the tenant damages the owner’s property, through its Structure and Content Insurance in association with Tata AIG, of up to Rs 1 crore. The NestAway model does not eliminate regular brokers. It considers them an integral part of the rental value chain. “We use their service for lead closure and service supervision. We provide our brokers an annuity income stream (2.5 per cent of monthly rental) for every home they manage with us, which includes showing homes, closing on agreements and looking into the maintenance requests from tenants,” Sahu says.

NestAway is trying to organize the rental market through the use of technology and collaboration with real estate brokers. It has raised about $14 million from Tiger Global, IDG Ventures, Flipkart, Ratan Tata and Naveen Tewari of Inmobi. It is planning to target Mumbai and Chennai in the near future. Its goal is to reach out to about 50,000 home owners and 1 lakh tenants in the next 12-18 months. The annuity model and a high rate of recurring usage of funds, the platform has the ability to scale and cater to more than a million tenants over the next few years. It is a managed rental marketplace model, delivering an annuity revenue stream, instead of a one-time brokerage fee. It allows the company to differentiate its offerings from other players, who are selling one-time services.

NestAway targets singles facing paucity of high-quality rental options and matches them with the corresponding owners. So it is creating a unique solution and system on both sides of the spectrum. The key challenge will be in executing the plan and delivering a high-quality experience to both tenants and owners across properties and geographies.

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