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The home rental has been a pretty rigid segment, particularly in India. Homeowners have qualms about hiring tenants and it's not a smooth sail for the latter either. Unrealistic advance deposit demands, lack of proper amenities and facilities, and turbulent rental agreement fiasco are just some of the problems that hamper the entire process.
NestAway, a Bengaluru-based startup has identified this crisis and is now setting things right. This is a detailed article about NestAway, how the startup came into being, and how it is operating to simplify the process of finding rented accommodation.
NestAway - Company Highlights
- Startup Name-NestAway
- Founders-Amarendra Sahu, Smruti Parida, Deepak Dhar, And Jitendra Jagadev
- Sector-Real Estate , Home Improvement
- Total Funding-$109.1 mn (2021)
- Valuation-$330 mn (2019)
- Parent Organisation-NestAway Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
Nestaway - Latest News
January 19, 2021 - NestAway sold off the society and apartment management platform, ApnaComplex to Anarock Group within a year of its acquisition.
NestAway is a concept. It's a solution. It's fixing something that’s grossly wrong. Actually, it's a concoction of the three. It is a new concept for homeowners, a solution for tenants, and it's fixing the youth housing crisis in cities.
Founded in 2015, NestAway Technologies Pvt. Ltd. is headquartered in Karnataka. It is an online aggregator of fully furnished and well-maintained rooms and flats for rent. NestAway homes are present across 16 cities in India, including Bangalore, Delhi, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Pune, and Thane.
The app helps the users find, book, and move into a rental home of their choice across various Indian cities. One can move in, ask for services from tap leakage to broken door locks, pay rent, and finally move out. The Nestaway app is available for Android and iOS.
NestAway has also forayed into the co-living segment. In 2019, it officially announced the launch of its independent subsidiary, Hello World. Hello World, focuses on co-living and student housing and is present in 15 Indian cities. Hello World claims to have 10,000 beds and 90% occupancy rate. It will be led by NestAway co-founder Jitendra Jagadev.
NestAway - Founders and Team
NestAway was co-founded by Amarendra Sahu, Smruti Parida, Deepak Dhar, and Jitendra Jagadev in 2015. It was an aggregator of shared and furnished apartments for bachelors in the beginning before adding full homes for families in its catalog.
Amarendra Sahu is the CEO of NestAway. He is a Computer Science engineer from NIT Surathkal and has an MBA from IIM-B. Amarendra has past experience of working at Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper Networks, and Cisco as a Software Engineer and Senior Software Engineer after which he co-founded BrizzTV Media Labs Pvt Ltd. Sahu is now a Co-founder of BrizzTV along with serving as a Co-founder and CEO of NestAway.
Jitendra Jagadev is currently known as the Co-founder and Board Member of NestAway and has earlier served as the COO of the startup. He graduated from NIT Karnataka and has previously worked with companies like Philips, Cisco, and Ojas Venture Partners, before joining the founding team of NestAway. Jagadev is also the CEO of Helloworld Technologies India Pvt. Ltd.
Smruti Parida was the Co-founder of NestAway, and had also served as the CTO of the startup. Smruti is an IT graduate from NIT Karnataka. He was with Microsoft and United Online and worked as the Software Design Engineer and Program Manager 2 and Senior Software Engineer respectively before devoting himself to the company. Smruti quit NestAway on October 23, 2019. Smruti had also co-founded Zero Heights Technologies Pvt Ltd. previously and is currently working as a Founder at AutoSave.
Deepak Dhar is an IT graduate from NIT Karnataka. Being a co-founder, Deepak was responsible for the product and user experience divisions at NestAway before leaving the startup in June 2019. Before joining NestAway, he worked with companies like Aceva Technologies, Fidelity Investments, and Royal Bank of Scotland. He also led Citruspay (acquired by PayU) as a Founding Member and Operations Head. Deepak Dhar quit Nestaway in June 2019 to startup a fintech venture but he will continue to be a director in the company. He co-founded Repute in October 2019.
NestAway owners Amrendra, Smruti, Deepak, and Jitendra are all serial entrepreneurs. Amrendra and Jitendra co-founded Brizztv, Deepak was a part of the founding team of Citrus Payment Solutions, and Smruti founded 'Sen6'—an art marketplace. NestAway has anywhere between 200-500 employees, according to the latest records.
NestAway - Startup Story | How It Began
When Amarendra Sahu came to Bangalore in 2004, he had trouble finding a house to rent. Unmarried individuals are never the first choice of the house owners. Besides, renting in decent localities is not always reasonable.
Amarendra wanted to solve this problem and went about setting up NestAway with the help of friends. In June 2014, his friend Jitendra Jagadev's house in Whitefield became the site of an experiment.
Amarendra recollects, "We took furnishing from Furlenco, took some pictures of the house, and posted it on Facebook. There were four beds in the 2 BHK – all sold in a day. Out of the seven girls who came to visit, six wanted it and four got it."
This was the story behind NestAway's inception which has established itself in a surprisingly short amount of time.
NestAway - Mission and Vision
Nestaway’s core vision is "to provide young people value-for-money spaces with convenient solutions and amenities." The steering vision was to make living easy and hassle-free.
Nestaway is fueled with a mission to provide homes for everyone, without discrimination. The mission of the company was not just to find homes, but to help the youth set up in a new city without any hassles.
NestAway - Name, Tagline and Logo
With the onset of the new year 2022, NestAway has come up with a new tagline that goes "New Year, New Home."
NestAway - Services
NestAway is India's fastest growing "Home Rental Network" which provides better rental solutions via design and technology. The units are ready-to-walk in homes and with different schemes based on the tenant's requirement—a bed, a room, or a complete house. From 1 BHK flats to 8 BHK luxury villas with state-of-the-art facilities, the company caters to all kinds of customer needs. Homes come with cot, mattress, sofa, TV, fridge, washing machine, and a furnished kitchen. Besides, fully furnished apartments, semi-furnished and unfurnished apartments are also listed on NestAway.
Some major USPs of NestAway are:
Guided house visits: Tenants are given a guided tour of the house they are interested in.
Rent on time: Ensures timely rent every month.
Zero paperwork: The company does all the paperwork such as agreement creation.
House safety: The company ensures that the house stays in good condition.
House maintenance: It provides on-demand and periodic house repairs. By subscribing to NestAway Assure, house owners can avail the facility of 100% free maintenance, cleaning, and repairing services.
Marketing and promotion: It promotes the properties registered with it through ads and other rental platforms.
Easy move-in and move-out policy: NestAway allows easy move-in and move-out facilities to tenants. Tenants can simply visit the website or use the app and schedule move-in or move-out dates according to their convenience. The move-out policy allows tenants to leave before the license end date. They can shift to the new house by notifying just two days before the planned move-in date.
Zero Deposit: NestAway has tied up with agencies to provide zero deposit offers, whereby tenants can move in by paying the booking amount without any advance deposit.
Pet-friendly: It allows animal lovers to find pet-friendly homes.
Open guest-hosting policy: It allows tenants to host guests responsibly without causing inconvenience to fellow tenants.
The lock-in period is of 6 months. Unless mentioned otherwise in the agreement, the minimum stay is 6 months. However, this may vary in different cities. NestAway does not impose any move-out charges. However, if a person moves out before completion of the lock-in period, he has to pay one month's rent as move-out charges.
The rent is determined considering the given factors:
Area and location of the house.
Tenancy type, i.e whether a full house, a room, or a bed is taken for rent.
Condition of the house.
Size of the house.
The best part for the homeowners is that the company ensures that the rent is paid before the 5th of every month.
NestAway - Business Model
NestAway has a sound business model. It is a one-stop service provider for tenants and house owners where neither has to pay any brokerage fee.
The company serves as a broker and property manager for homeowners by helping find tenants, collect rent, and manage the property over its lifetime in exchange for a percentage share of the rental stream.
Amarendra explains the business model, "You can rent just a room, or the whole house. Our area manager will arrange the visit according to your preference. Once you are satisfied with the house, you can book it online. If you stay in the house for three days and don’t like it for any reason, we refund with full deposit. NestAway's popularity grew mainly through word-of-mouth, with digital marketing spend in the early days being less than 10 percent of total expenses."
NestAway - Revenue Model
NestAway runs on a very simple revenue model. It manages a homeowner’s rental property throughout the rental life cycle, from showing the house to a prospective tenant and closing the rental agreement, to collecting rent on the owner’s behalf and assisting the tenant and owner during move-out.
For ll these services, the company charges the owners a fixed percentage of 12.5% of the total rent generated from the home as its commission. NestAway does not charge any brokerage or charges from the tenants apart from rent
NestAway - Revenue/Annual Turnover
According to Wikipedia, NestAway registered lower growth in revenue in 2017-2018 as compared to 2016-2017. Its revenue increased by 533% in 2016-2017 whereas, in 2017-2018, it increased by only 28.7%. As per ROC filing, its revenue from operation in FY 2018 is Rs 46.98 crores. Again, the losses increased from Rs 134.24 crore in 2016-2017 to Rs 203.79 crore in 2017-2018.
The company claimed to earn $2 million worth of revenue each month, as of 2019's reports.
NestAway - Growth/Valuation
NestAway is currently present in over 16 Indian major cities, as of September 2020. It is managing over 60,000 homes across the country. Over 10,600 house owners and 72,400 tenants are registered with it. About 40% of the new bookings now come from the family segment with the ratio being at 65:35 for shared versus family rental houses.
In Bengaluru, where typically rental advances are of 10 months, the company offers homes on two-month deposits. The company claims to earn a monthly revenue of around $2 Million. NestAway gets a commission of 12.5% in each rental agreement.
After a Series D funding of $51 million raised in March 2018, NestAway's valuation was at about $200 million. It raised two more rounds of funding after that. However, the exact net worth or valuation has not been confirmed by the company.
In 2019, NestAway ventured into the co-living and student housing segment by launching a new brand, 'Hello World'. 'Hello World' which began in May 2019, currently has a capacity of around 10,000 beds and is operational in 16 cities, including Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Delhi-NCR, Pune, Kota, and Dehradun. The startup boasts 90% occupancy rates. Hello World charges zero brokerage and one-month rent for a security deposit. NestAway has plans to introduce 'Hello World' in nine more cities, thus increasing the number of beds to over 50,000.
In the wake of COVID-19, Bengaluru-based home rental startup NestAway has taken a host of measures to support its users and property owners. To start with, the company has reduced the onboarding charges by 50% for anyone who had planned to move into Nestaway’s properties before the lockdown was put in place.
Also, Nestaway is allowing all the frontline workers to stay at its properties with 100% off on onboarding charges. For property-owners, which are tied-up for more than two years, the startup has set up an INR 50 Lakh fund to support them in these hard times.
For migrants struck in Kota, Nestaway has provided free stay and food under the ‘Hello World’ initiative. More than 30 migrants and 30 healthcare staff have lived at Hello World’s properties since the COVID-19 outbreak. One building in Kota has been dedicated to healthcare staff with food and basic facilities. Furthermore, NestAway has also extended canteen services for doctors and guards and hostel managers.
NestAway - Partners
NestAway uses Localitics, a real estate statistical data science platform that not only predicts where rental demand is going to grow, but also where new houses are going to spring up. Today, Localitics is used for evaluating all the cities in India where the company is present and churns out data to help them target the next set of cities.
NestAway - Acquisitions And Mergers
NestAway has acquired 3 organizations. Their most recent acquisition was StayAbode on Mar 2, 2020. However, it has later sold ApnaComplex, which makes the proptech startup the owner of the 2 other companies, Zanify and StayAbode.
It acquired a smaller rival Zenify (City Synapse Information Pvt. Ltd) for an undisclosed amount in May 2017. This move will help them expand their offerings for families.
In February 2020, the company acquired the apartment management platform ApnaComplex. ApnaComplex is a 10-year-old startup and the platform offers tools to manage various aspects of the residential complexes like organizing public events, raising complaints, society billing/accounting, and much more. The company will now provide home services like cleaning, painting, pest control services, etc. to the registered users of ApnaComplex. However, within a year of its acquisition, the proptech startup decided to let ApnaComplex be acquired by Anarock on January 19, 2021.
NestAway - Challenges
One of the major challenges for the company was finding the right investors because it was the first business in this arena and some skepticism. Now, it is one of the highest funded Indian startups.
In the initial stage, earning the house owner's trust and convincing them to register was difficult. To solve this issue, it started offering a ‘rental default guarantee’ that guaranteed NestAway paying the house owner rent in case the tenant did not pay on time.
Some house owners don't consent to give their house for rent with two months' rent as deposit money and expect more. However, this scenario has been bettered with the arrival of NestAway where the users need to pay two months' rent as the tenant and the company pays the difference.
NestAway - Competitors
There are many companies and websites like this that list properties for rent. The Major competitors of NestAway are:
What sets NestAway apart from its rivals is that it provides end-to-end solutions to tenants and house owners by taking care of everything—creating the rent agreement, rent collection, house maintenance, etc. In short, it mediates throughout the rental life cycle.
NestAway - Awards and Achievements
NestAway has been conferred upon a list of awards and recognitions throughout the years. One of the proudest moments for NestAway was when the founders of the company achieved the Comeback Kid Award on August 18, 2017.
NestAway - Future Plans
NestAway is planning to introduce ‘Smart Homes’ by launching the Smart Lock service for all homes. Smart Lock is a safety locking system that ensures security for people staying in their homes, especially for women. This service will be available on their app for both Android and iOS devices. The company is planning to venture into the women's housing and senior housing sector by 2020.
Another area of focus for NestAway will be student housing. With 10.4 million migrant students and only 6.1 million beds as the current official supply, there is an increase in demand for student housing which continues to increase day by day. Cashing in on this opportunity, it is strongly focusing on student housing and aims to start operations in Kota (Rajasthan) followed by Delhi (North Campus), and Bangalore. NestAway is also looking to expand PAN India and conversations are going on with progressive builders for exclusive properties earmarked for students.
The brand continues to concentrate on the concept of co-living, wherein it takes up the entire building including the shared facilities such as gym, libraries, common areas, game room, and others. Through this concept, NestAway Technologies is trying to create a community for members with common interests to engage in yoga/salsa classes, have talk sessions from seasoned entrepreneurs/sportspersons, entrepreneurial knowledge sharing meets, and collaborate on other exciting avenues.
NestAway - FAQs
Who are the Founders/Owner of NestAway?
NestAway was co-founded by Amarendra Sahu, Smruti Parida, Deepak Dhar, and Jitendra Jagadev in 2015.
What is NestAway?
NestAway is an online aggregator of fully furnished and well-maintained rooms and flats for rent. NestAway homes are present across 16 cities in India, including Bangalore, Delhi, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Pune, and Thane.
Who is the CEO of NestAway?
Nestaway CEO and Co-founder is Amarendra Sahu.
Who are the Top Investors of NestAway?
Flipkart, Tiger Global Management, Ratan Tata, Goldman Sachs, InnoVen Capital, Epiq Capital, Chiratae Ventures are the Investors in NestAway.
How much Funding did NestAway raise till date?
NestAway Technologies has raised over $109.1 Million in funding from 9 rounds. In the latest round, it raised funding of $4.7 Million from Goldman Sachs in September 2019.