The startup story – The Hostel Yard
October 3: The Hostel Yard started in 2017 and was founded by Niketan Singhania, an SRCC (Shri Ram College of Commerce) alumnus, who is an astute and ingenious businessman having competence in technical, marketing and on-ground real estate domain. The Hostel Yard (www.thehostelyard.com) is a tech-enabled platform that works on a community-living model for students and working individuals with an intent to provide them with premium & affordable housing facilities. It breaches the contrasting gap between the comfort of home and the clustered condition of unhealthy accommodations provided to migrated people, especially students, who have just set their foot out of their homes to the crowded cities. Niketan Singhania’s inherent focus has always been to bridge the gap with brainstorming ideas that could serve the students & working individuals with cost efficiency to ease the daily hustle-bustle of life. Niketan’s ideas are embedded in his deep market analysis, which states- “India has over 50,000 colleges and more than 36 million students. Institutional hostels accommodate around 3.4 million students, whereas the requirement is for over 10 million beds.”
The Hostel yard operates by aggregating, tying up and leasing properties from the building owners and then revamping the entire old structure in accordance with The Hostel Yard’s set standards taking into consideration the student needs. Furthermore, the properties offer benefits like a homely feeling, quality assurance, transparency with pricing, hygienic and healthy food cooked by professional chefs, guard on the gate for security, biometric access for safety purposes, daily housekeeping service, laundry service, medical aid, high-speed Wi-Fi, well-furnished rooms with air conditioning & geyser, personal washrooms, gaming zones, gym facilities, free library subscription, terrace garden amongst other things. Moreover, It also celebrates festivals unbiasedly and conducts parties and games for the jollification of its tenants with a touch of home along with maintaining safety and covid protocols within the properties.
The innovative idea behind ‘the hostel yard’ spring into existence upon the realization by the founder that the choice for most off-campus housing currently was either restrictive through college hostels (which cater to 20-25 per cent of the capacity) or unstructured PG accommodation, neither of which served the needs of the student population. The Hostel Yard platform aims-“to create an entire ecosystem that addresses the needs of the student market.”
The first property was inaugurated in North Campus, Delhi, and now The Hostel Yard owns over 1,500 beds (600 flagship beds in Delhi’s North Campus, 100 beds in Karol Bagh and 500 in Noida, 100 in Greater Noida and 100 more in Satya Niketan, South Campus and 200 more in Dehradun, 100 beds in Bangalore and 100 more in Gurgaon), and it also operates in 10 major cities of the country.
The company also has another co-founder, Nishant Singhania, a dedicated and punctilious entrepreneur, along with a rigorous core team of more than 50 employees and outsourced staff. Currently bootstrapped, the start-up has revenue close to $2 million as of the year 2020.
A survey states that with the contrasting gap between supply and demand, the need for co-living spaces is bound to inflate henceforth and would be hugely driven by start-ups which would accommodate students. A RedSeer report states that “the market for co-living start-ups in India is expected to touch $2 billion by 2022. The overall segment, including paying guest accommodation, will be worth a whopping $93 billion over the next ten years, according to a PropTiger report.”
The propulsive rhythm of the Future Prospect of the company highlights the resolution of the global expansion of the Indian market similar to the US and UK models to bring in the international trends in an efficient, streamlined way. Another survey report states that as the sector upsurge, tremendous opportunities will arise for various models of the student housing business- university tie-ups, independent housing, staff and facilities management to flourish at an unprecedented rate. Meanwhile, the student housing segment offers immense untapped potential for which the developers have still not ‘warmed up for this exciting new asset class. With no major developer team currently operating in this segment, Indian student housing is still in its infancy stage. Developers could reference successful models in the US and UK markets, where student housing is well established as an investor-friendly asset class. Serving as a benchmark for developing markets like India, the UK has developed a range of student housing models which clearly delineate how functions and responsibilities are shared between universities and private developers.
This market is substantially unorganized and observes limited participation from stakeholders, such as the universities being reluctant to collaborate with student housing operators. Despite these challenges, the Indian student housing segment continues to spring in strength as it is expected to expand from major cities to smaller educational hubs.