For Uday Lakkar, the ecstasy of landing a first job in Gurgaon, right after finishing a stint at IIM-Ahmedabad in 2009, soon turned into agony. He had a harrowing time finding decent accommodation for over a month. Reason: a “jaundiced perception” of bachelors — junkies, drunkards and sex maniacs.
Cut to August 2015. Probably singed by the insults he had to endure during his house-hunting days in Gurgaon, Lakkar cofounded CoHo, a home rental startup. It takes apartments and villas on lease, converts them into co-living hubs by furnishing and loading them with amenities such as swimming pools, Wi-Fi, laundry and the like. CoHo then rents beds to singles — students or working professionals — for long stays. While the minimum stay is six months, the monthly rent ranges from Rs 8,000 to Rs 25,000 per bed. “It’s neither a hostel nor a PG nor a serviced apartment,” he says. It’s a hybrid that offers the best of all the three and provides comfort, convenience and community to residents.
Little over a year into operations, the Gurgaon-based startup has added over 750 beds, is set to touch annualised revenues of about Rs 6.5 crore, and will break even by early 2017, claims Lakkar. “In co-living, people don’t just exist, but start living.”
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