NestAway: Home Rental Has Now Become Easier

Home rental has been a pretty rigid segment, particularly in India. Home owners have qualms about hiring tenants and its 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 hampers 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 Highlights

Startup Name NestAway
Headquarters Bengaluru
Founders Amarendra Sahu, Smruti Parida, Deepak Dhar, And Jitendra Jagadev
Sector Property Search Portal
Founded 2015
Parent Organisation NestAway Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

NestAway - About
NestAway - Founders
NestAway - How It Began
NestAway - Services
NestAway - Business Model And How It Works
NestAway - Revenue Model
NestAway - Funding And Investors
NestAway - Revenue/Annual Turnover
NestAway - Growth
NestAway - Partners
NestAway - Acquisition And Mergers
NestAway - Challenges
NestAway - Competitors
NestAway - Future Plans

NestAway - About

NestAway is a concept. It's a solution. It's fixing something that’s grossly wrong. Actually, it's a concoction of the three. NestAway is a new concept for homeowners, a solution for tenants, and it's fixing the youth housing crisis in cities.

Founded in 2015, NestAway is headquartered at Karnataka. NestAway is an online aggregator of fully furnished and well maintained rooms and flats for rent. NestAway houses are present across 13 cities in India, including Bangalore, Delhi, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Pune, and Thane.

The NestAway App helps you find, book, and move in to a rental home of your choice across various Indian cities. One can move in, ask for services from tap leakage to door lock broken, pay rent, and finally move out. The 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. NestAway's Hello World claims to have 10,000 beds and 90% occupancy rate. It will be led by NestAway co-founder Jitendra Jagadev.

Here is list of other startups providing co-living spaces.

NestAway - Founders

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.

NestAway Founders 

Amarendra Sahu is the CEO of NestAway. He is a computer science engineer from NIT Surathkal and has an MBA from IIM-B.

Jitendra Jagadev is the COO of NestAway. He graduated from NIT Karnataka, worked with companies like Philips, Cisco, Ojas Venture Partners, and Microsoft before joining the NestAway founding team.

Smruti Parida is the Co-founder and CTO of NestAway. Smruti is an IT graduate from NIT Karnataka. He was with Microsoft and United Online before devoting himself to NestAway. According to a recent update, Smruti left the Nestaway on October 23, 2019.

Deepak Dhar is an IT graduate from NIT Karnataka. He was responsible for the product and user experience divisions. Before NestAway, he worked with companies like Aceva Technologies, Fidelity investments, and Royal Bank of Scotland. He also led Citruspay (acquired by PayU) as operations head. Deepak Dhar quit Nestaway in June 2019 to startup a fintech venture. He will continue to be a director in NestAway.

NestAway founders 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 - How It Began

When Amarendra Sahu came to Bangalore in 2004, he had trouble finding a house to rent. Unmarried individuals are never house owners’ first choice, and rent 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 new Logo
NestAway new Logo

Read More- Details stories and latest news on successful Indian Startup

NestAway - Services

NestAway is India's fastest growing "Home Rental Network" which provides better rental solutions via design and technology. NestAway 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, NestAway caters to all kinds of customer needs. Its 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: NestAway does all the paperwork such as agreement creation.
  • House safety: NestAway ensures that the house stays in good condition.
  • House maintenance: NestAway 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 facility to tenants. Tenants can simply visit the website or use NestAway app and schedule move-in or move-out dates according to their convenience. NestAway 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 offer, whereby tenants can move-in by paying the booking amount without any advance deposit.
  • Pet-friendly: NestAway 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.

NestAway has a lock-in period of 6 months. Unless mentioned otherwise in the agreement, NestAway's 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.

NestAway determines the rent while 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 home owners is that NestAway ensures that the rent is paid before 5th of every month.

NestAway - Business Model And How It Works

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 home owners 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 all these services, NestAway 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 - Funding & Investors

NestAway has raised over $ 104.2 million in funding from 7 rounds. In the latest round, NestAway raised funding of $10 million from Tiger Global Management & Chiratae Ventures in May 2019.

Date Stage Funding Amount NestAway Investors
March 2015 Seed $1.2 M Undisclosed
July 2015 Series B $12 M Flipkart, Tiger Global Management
February 2016 Venture Undisclosed Ratan Tata
April 2016 Series C $30 M Tiger Global Management
March 2018 Series D Undisclosed Goldman Sachs, UC RNT Fund
March 2018 Series D $5 M Goldman Sachs
August 2018 Series D Undisclosed Epiq Capital
May 2019 Series D $10 million Tiger Global Management & Chiratae Ventures
September,2019 Series D $5 million Goldman Sachs

The startup is in talks with multiple investors including Fosun International and Shunwei capital for $100Mn.

NestAway - Revenue/Annual Turnover

NestAway registered lower growth in revenue in 2017-2018 as compared to 2016-2017. NestAway's revenue increased by 533% in 2016-2017 whereas in 2017-2018, it increased by only 28.7%. As per ROC filing, NestAway's revenue from operation in FY2018 is Rs 46.98 crores. Again, NestAway's losses increased from Rs 134.24 crore in 2016-2017 to Rs 203.79 crore in 2017-2018.

NestAway - Growth

NestAway is currently present in 13 Indian major cities. It is managing over 30,500 rental properties. Over 10,600 house owners and 72,400 tenants are registered with NestAway.

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, NestAway offers homes on two-month deposits. The company claims to earn a monthly revenue of around $2 million. It gets a share 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. NestAway raised two more rounds of funding after that. However, NestAway's exact net worth or valuation has not been confirmed by the company.

In 2019, NestAway ventured into co-living and student housing segment by launching a new brand, 'Hello World'. 'Hello World' which was began in May 2019, currently has a capacity of around 10,000 beds and is operational in 15 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 security deposit. NestAway has plans to introduce 'Hello World' in nine more cities, thus increasing the number of beds to over 50,000.

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 NestAway is present and churns out data to help NestAway target the next set of cities.

NestAway - Acquisitions And Mergers

NestAway acquired their smaller rival Zenify (City Synapse Information Pvt. Ltd) for an undisclosed amount in May, 2017. This move will help NestAway expand its offerings for families.

In February 2020, NestAway acquired apartment management platform ApnaComplex. ApnaComplex is a 10 year old startup and the platform offers tools to manage various aspects of residential complex like organizing public events, raising complaints, society billing/accounting and much more. NestAway will now provide home services like cleaning, painting, pest control services etc. to the registered users of ApnaComplex.

NestAway - Challenges

One of the major challenges for NestAway was finding the right investors because it was the first business in this arena and some skepticism. Now, its's one of the highest funded Indian startups.

In the initial stage, earning the house owner's trust and convincing them to register was difficult for NestAway. To solve this issue, NestAway 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 the house with two months' rent as deposit money and expect more. In this scenario, NestAway takes two months' rent from the tenant and pays the difference.

NestAway - Competitors

There are many companies and websites like NestAway that list properties for rent. The Major competitors of NestAway are: FlatMate, SimplyGuest, NoBroker, Zolo, and StayAbode.

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, NestAway mediates throughout the rental life cycle.

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 NestAway homes, especially for women. This service will be available on the NestAway app for both Android and iOS devices. The company is planning to venture into women 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, NestAway 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 expanding 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 NestAway takes up the entire building including the shared facilities such as gym, libraries, common areas, game room, and others. Through this concept, NestAway is trying to create a community for members with common interests to engage in yoga/salsa classes, have talk sessions from seasoned entrepreneurs/sports persons, entrepreneurial knowledge sharing meets, and collaborate on other exciting avenues.

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About Shubham Kumar

Founder @StartupTalky. IIT KGP grad. Learner. Dedicated to the service of the startup Ecosystem. Love meeting people. Let's connect - [email protected]
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