Zeus Living closes on $55M to offer versatile, furnished rentals as it expands beyond corporate housing – TechCrunch

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During the pandemic and shift to distant work that got here with it, many individuals took benefit of their newfound flexibility to strive dwelling in other places.

One startup poised to profit from that is Zeus Living, which is concentrated on giving individuals “flexible living” choices and has simply raised $55 million in a spherical led by SIG.

Initialized Capital, CEAS Investments, TI Platform, NFX, Opendoor’s Eric Wu and Miras additionally participated within the financing, which brings the startup’s whole raised to $125 million. The firm declined to reveal its present valuation, however it was valued at $205 million on the time of its final elevate in 2019.

Zeus Living began its life by redecorating landlords’ houses and renting the furnished properties primarily to relocated staff for 30-day stays (or longer) for a brand new kind of corporate housing. Since then, it has broadened its focus and advanced into an organization that offers individuals — not simply corporate workers — extra choices to typically transfer round with much less dedication.

“Since our start, we provided ‘home’ to people traveling for work, but also for grandparents spending extended time with newborn grandbabies, people seeking healthcare and families renovating their homes,” mentioned CEO and co-founder Kulveer Taggar. “Over the past 18 months we’ve superseded corporate housing and are challenging the old, rigid rental market by offering beautifully designed homes outfitted at fair prices and flexible terms in places residents want to live.”

It’s a cool comeback story, contemplating that on the onset of the pandemic, Zeus Living made headlines for shedding about 80 individuals, or about 30% of the corporate. And the demand is there.

As proof of the pandemic and the ensuing distant work shift, Zeus Living says it noticed a “6x increase” in residents reserving leases with no predetermined finish date, for a median keep of 129 nights, over the past 12 months.

Fundamentally, Taggar believes “there is a new American dream” that doesn’t contain shopping for a home as being an emblem of somebody “making it.”

“What we see now for this new generation, that goal or dream, doesn’t relate as much to buying a house,” he instructed W3Techy. “They want to invest in experiences of possessions. They want to be more mobile. And they just want to do that without tons of headache and hassle.”

In 2019, Zeus Living supplied 2,400 houses on its website, partnering with owners to handle their properties and hire them out. Today, that has grown to almost 5,000 houses in 96 U.S. cities such as Austin, Miami, Portland and Philadelphia. Occupancy is 87%, in contrast to 82% in 2020, whereas “revpar” (the income it achieves for the owners whose properties it manages) has elevated 21% this 12 months in contrast to final.

Over time, residents have spent over 1.4 million nights with Zeus, and 811,562 of these had been in the course of the pandemic. The firm is approaching $250 million in lifetime reserving income.

Since these March 2020 layoffs, the corporate has been ready to rent again a number of the individuals it was pressured to lay off, in accordance to Taggar. But it’s nonetheless working considerably lean comparatively talking, with 122 workers.

The firm emphasizes that in contrast to its investor Airbnb, it just isn’t a market and manages its houses — from curation to design to property administration and repair.  Airbnb is a channel for Zeus, although.

With Zeus, Taggar mentioned, customers can browse the 1000’s of houses that it manages and decide the dates they need to keep there — whether or not it be 5 weeks or 5 months, all from their cellphone. Residents additionally don’t have to arrange utilities or Wi-Fi. Zeus will deal with that, too.

“You can be flexible and leave with just two weeks’ notice,” he mentioned. “And you can then trust that the experience is going to be good because Zeus has put in the hard work of curating the home in the first place. We’ve inspected it, and we know it’s safe, and then we will design it to make it comfortable for you to live in.”

Zeus Living

Image Credits: Zeus Living

While Zeus was rising income 3-4x a 12 months since it began in 2015, it hit a brief pace bump when the pandemic began, in accordance to Taggar.

“But we’re getting back on that path,” he mentioned.“ We’re making the rental experience very modern and turnkey. Even if the operations behind the scenes to make that all work are quite involved and complicated.”

Looking forward, the corporate plans to use its new capital to focus on progress and growth.

“We’re supply constrained in all of our markets, so we want to go and get more homes,” Taggar instructed W3Techy. “We also want to keep investing in, and improving, the online experience for our homeowners and residents.”

In reality, he mentioned, Zeus Living has had $40 million in unmet demand over the previous 12 months.

“We know where people want to live and how much they’re willing to pay for flexible living,” he mentioned.

Garry Tan, founder and managing companion of Initialized Capital, is a repeat investor in Zeus Living, having led its seed and Series A rounds and invested in its Series B and C financings.

Overall, Tan believes the world of property administration is “stuck in the same place taxi companies were before ride-hailing.”

Zeus Living, he believes, has created one thing that could be a little bit of “set and forget” for property homeowners. At the identical time, it’s serving to meet a necessity for individuals seeing versatile dwelling choices in “the absolute best markets.”

“We’re going into this new phase where people don’t have to be in a handful of cities,” he instructed W3Techy. “You can be anywhere in the country. And this new idea of FlexLiving is that it makes that possibility more accessible to everyone.”

What makes Zeus much more particular, in Tan’s view, is its potential to discover properties in fascinating areas of city that often solely the individuals who stay in a metropolis learn about, so the residents can “live like a local.”

“It’s actually much harder to get those locations, so it’s also much more profitable, because it’s also where customers want to be,” Tan mentioned.

Of course, Zeus Living just isn’t the one participant within the versatile rental area. The Guild, an Austin, Texas-based startup that turns residences into snug short-term lodging for enterprise and different vacationers, final raised a $25 million Series B in January of 2020. Last June, hospitality startup Sonder raised $170 million at a $1.3 billion valuation though it’s vital to be aware that the corporate — which rents serviced residences akin to boutique lodges — is extra of a competitor to Airbnb.

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Source: techcrunch.com