Indian home rental startup Nestaway is finding new doors for its business. Having established its stronghold in the Silicon Valley of India – Bengaluru, the startup is now looking at playing a bigger role in the Indian startup community.
In February 2019, Nestaway announced that it will be launching an incubation program to help startups kick-start their business. What’s interesting is that Nestaway has taken its main offering – rental – and clubbed it with incubation.
Open for all entrepreneurs irrespective of their age, gender, educational background or location, select startups will be provided with a home and a ‘work-pad’ with all essential amenities for the entire duration of their incubation.
But what made a home rental startup turn to incubation? The founders’ belief that entrepreneurs need a space to test, fail and learn what works. Given the costs involved in starting a business, the ability to start up really lies with very few who can afford to do so or who can garner seed investments.
“Therefore we wanted to allow startups to use our customer base to get access to customers without any fee or expectation. While the investment market funds with money (which anyway is used for customer acquisition), with Nestaway Startup Lab, we wanted to fund with our customer base,” said Amarendra Sahu, CEO & Co-Founder, Nestaway Technologies.
The Nestaway Labs incubation programme is also an ‘equity-free’ incubation programme to let bootstrapped startups test products and services, meaning they don’t have to give up a stake in their business in exchange for free accommodation or mentorship.
Bengaluru is one of the biggest startup hubs in India. It is also Westaway’s core market with over 25,000 homes in the city alone. On Wednesday, the company also announced its expansion to its 13th city in India – Chennai.
Separately, Nestaway is also in talks to raise funding. While the company didn’t want to comment on speculation, reports suggest that Nestaway is looking at raising $100 million to The startup is also witnessing a rise in competition with hospitality unicorn Oyo Rooms entering the home rental space with Oyo Living.
One of the biggest challenges that Nestaway has faced since its inception in 2015 is gaining the trust of landlords. This also forms an important part of their growth plan.
“We are trying to fight the biases that are ingrained in the minds of homeowners due to generations of lack of trust,” a Nestaway spokesperson told Business Insider.
That problem has led the founders of the startup to believe that housing is a question of entitlement and not availability.
“Therefore, NestAway offers owners concrete promises: guaranteed and timely rent; trustworthy tenants; and a rental agreement governed by speedy arbitration. We think creating trustworthy systems and market-linked mechanisms is a better way to fight prejudice,” said the spokesperson.