Founded in February 2016, shared accommodations startup Square Plums has raised Rs 3 crore from Indian Angel Network. The funding round has been led by experienced entrepreneurs and IAN lead investors VGN Prakash, Amitabh Shrivastava, Krishna Jha and Ravindra Krishnappa. Prakash would also be joining the company board.
The raised funds will be utilised to bring on board more properties and build a robust technology platform for tenants, apartment owners and prospective tenants. The company also plans to launch its mobile app to offer a better experience. The platform is currently available only in Bengaluru.
Square Plums was founded by BITS Pilani alumni Rajesh Kumar Kotta and Hemant Attray, who have expertise in consumer Internet and hospitality industry. Krishna Jha, Partner, Telnet Ventures, joined the founders in the seed-stage funding.
The founders observed the tenuous renting process especially for singles, where one needs to engage a broker and visit multiple apartments before finding one that suits the individual's needs. Online portals list many options, but often when one visits the property, users find that what was listed is not what is actually available. Adding to this, they face other problems as well, when one of the friends decides to move out for professional or personal reasons and the cost needs to be borne by others.
Having been part of the hospitality industry and providing technology solutions for hotels in India for several years, Rajesh spotted the opportunity and, together with Hemant, took on the challenge of solving this difficult but common problem.
“Young professionals from Tier II and III cities work in high-end knowledge parks and MNCs but are often forced to live at sub-standard bachelor pads and PGs/hostels. This is mainly because good accommodations in premium gated communities in India are available in large sizes (3-4 bhk). For them, staying at huge houses and premium societies is difficult. We, at Square Plums, create branded, curated accommodation, which is then fractionalised at a price point that is affordable to the young working professionals in the metro cities,”says COO Hemant, whose earlier startup ITFinity was acquired by Infosys' spin-off Onmobile.
This year, IAN has made a number of investments in early-stage startups. It earlier invested in Delhi-based PayTunes, Gurgaon-based carpooling app Orahi and Drivojoy, an on-demand two-wheeler servicing and repair platform. All the investments ranged between Rs 3 and 4 crore.
Square Plums will be facing competition from Ratan Tata-backed NestAway, which has raised around Rs 200 crore in a Series-C financing led by Tiger Global, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and IDG Ventures India, earlier this year.
The other competitors in the home rental segment are Housing, NoBrokers and Times Internet-owned MagicBricks.