Student accommodation platform HostelHunting has just closed its Series A round and will use the funding to further its product development and hiring plans.
The Malaysian startup – which also operates in Singapore and Thailand – helps students search for rental properties close to their university campus. Its website allows students to filter through verified property listings by area or institution, and communicate directly with potential landlords through its messaging feature. HostelHunting takes a service fee for every successful booking.
While the value of HostelHunting’s Series A has not been disclosed, the startup has confirmed to Tech in Asia that KK Fund is a repeat investor. Other backers on this occasion include Tokyo-based Accord Ventures, real estate-focused Hoop Partners, and Japanese IT company Startia.
Co-founder Loke Weng Leong tells Tech in Asia that HostelHunting is planning to expand beyond the three countries it currently covers. “The student population is exploding all across Asia,” he says, adding that the company has its eye on several prospective new markets but is yet to make a decision on which one to target first.
For the moment, HostelHunting doesn’t appear to face any significant competition in its student accommodation niche. Nonetheless, Leong says that there are several services that overlap with some parts of the startup’s business, including other booking platforms, listing pages, solution providers, and traditional alternatives.
“We face similar challenges to all O2O models.”
“We face similar challenges to all O2O [online-to-offline] models, which is diversity of the audience as well as educating and encouraging the market to adopt a new model,” he says. “The good thing is we have been quick to adapt to different situations and markets.”
Leong suggests that HostelHunting’s resilience in this respect comes from its aim to be more than merely a platform for bookings. He explains that the startup strives to achieve this through adherence to the four key pillars of its mission statement: to provide the best possible matches between students and landlords; to understand the neighborhoods it operates in; to engage with students; and to build a community across the entire landscape comprising students, landlords, and universities.
As for future fundraising rounds, Leong says the company has no concrete plans at the moment. “As we are revenue generating and manage our cashflow well, we have the liberty of choice,” he says. “We have a lot of plans for the coming months and will decide later on.”
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