Delhi-based Startup BookYourPG launched in 2017 by Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University alumnus Niketan Singhania, is a tech-enabled platform that works mainly as an aggregator on a community-living model for students and working individuals.
Started initially in North Campus, Delhi as an aggregator and currently has tie-ups with 10000 beds in Delhi’s North Campus, 5000 in South Campus, 8000 in Noida, Gurgaon and Karol Bagh and also owns 800 flagship beds in North Campus, 100 beds in Karol Bagh and 200 more in Noida and also operates in 8 major cities of the country like Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Lucknow, Kota and Jaipur totaling the number of beds to 30000.
It operates by aggregating, revenue sharing, and leasing properties from owners, and then remodels and redesigns the properties according to the student needs. Further, it also provides services like hygienic and healthy food, biometric access, air conditioning, daily housekeeping, Wi-Fi, furniture and bedding, laundry, security, medical aid, terrace garden, gym facilities, and personal washrooms, career counseling, free library subscriptions amongst other things. It also celebrates festivals, conducts parties and games to make their tenants feel at home.
BookYourPG also offers short-stays at just Rs 500 per day including food which is a revolution in the field of the hospitality business. Even the cheapest hotels in the country offer a room at minimum of Rs 1000 per day. It’s difficult to find hostels for backpackers and solo travellers as they are on a budget. BookYourPG offers them the best solution with a short-stays option.
The idea behind BookYourPG came when Niketan Singhania realised that the choice for most off-campus housing currently was either restrictive college hostels (which cater to 20-25 percent of the capacity) or unstructured PG accommodation, neither of which served the needs of the student population.
By the words of the founder Niketan Singhania, “India has over 50,000 colleges and more than 36 million students. College hostels accommodate around 3.4 million students, whereas the requirement is for over 10 million beds.
A survey states that with the ever-widening gap between the supply and demand, the need for co-living spaces is bound to increase in the coming times 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 10 years, according to a PropTiger report.”
When asked about his future expansion plans, he said “We plan on globalising the Indian market similar to the US and UK models and bring in the international trends. Another survey states that as the sector grows, tremendous opportunities will arise for various models of the student housing business- university tie-ups, independent housing, facilities management, staffing, etc., to flourish. While the student housing segment presents immense untapped potential, developers have still not ‘warmed up’ to this exciting new asset class.
With no major developer currently into it, Indian student housing is still in its infancy. Developers could reference successful models in the US and UK markets, where student housing is already established as an investor-friendly asset class.
Serving as a benchmark for developing markets like India, 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 still largely unorganised and sees limited participation from stakeholders such as the universities, which remain reluctant to collaborate with student housing operators. Despite these challenges, the Indian student housing segment continues to grow in strength as it is expected to expand from major cities to smaller educational hubs.
The huge demand-supply mismatch is reason enough for developers to warm up to this sunshine sector and earn high rental yields- projected to be anywhere between 14-17 percent, they are much higher than established asset classes like residential and commercial real estate.
Going forward, the BookYourPG platform aims to create an entire ecosystem that addresses the needs of the student market.”
BookYourPG, which was initially started by the founder, now has a core team of more than 50 employees and outsourced staff. The team also uses tech to optimise resources and ensure a better experience for students.
Currently bootstrapped, the start-up has revenues close to $1.9 million as of the year 2020.