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Exclusive: Hospitality startup Sturmfrei raises angel round, lines up coliving foray

Exclusive: Hospitality startup Sturmfrei raises angel round, lines up coliving foray
L to R: Bhavik Vaghela, Pratyush Neog Manikial, Dipjyoti Brahma and Kaushik Baishya

Sturmfrei Hospitality, an Ahmedabad-based startup that runs hostels for budget travellers, has raised close to $50,000 in an angel funding round from a group of HNIs (high networth individuals). It will use the capital to launch eight hostels over the next 12 months and set up a technology and analytics platform, top company officials told TechCircle.

Investors in the angel round include Anurag Jhanwar, co-founder of boutique wealth advisory firm Fintrust Advisors LLP; Ashwin Mantri, group financial controller at Aeris Technology; and social entrepreneurs Mohini Jhanwar, Anil Jhanwar and Jeet Jhabak. 

Founded in September last year by Dipjyoti Brahma, Bhavik Vaghela, Pratyush Manikial and Kaushik Baishya, Sturmfrei currently runs hostels in Goa, Gokarna and Jaipur. It focuses on what it dubs experiential travel and enters into a 10-year leases with existing homes, guest houses and properties and pays the property owners a fixed rent.  

“For years, the mainstream Indian hospitality sector has focused only on standardized experiences.  Sturmfrei is focused on exploring these areas by giving the target segment options to tailor the needs of millennials and centennials,”  Manikial, the startup’s CEO said.

Plans ahead include rolling out hostel services in metros that will see the startup venture into the coliving and coworking solutions market, as well as leisure and longer stay options for the travel sector.

The overall coliving space has lately been in the spotlight with the entry of a number of new and established budget hospitality players. Last week, hostel, coliving and paying guest accommodation platform PGO raised $2 million from a group of HNIs. In September, Tiger Global and Goldman Sachs-backed home rentals platform Nestaway announced fully managed coliving properties under its subsidiary Hello World. In January, coliving space provider Zolo raised $30 million led by IDFC Alternatives, as well as South Korea’s Mirae Asset and existing investors Nexus Venture Partners.

SoftBank-backed hospitality unicorn OYO is also actively expanding into the coliving market with its OYO Life platform. In a recent interview with TechCircle, Rohit Kapoor, CEO of the firm’s new real estate businesses, spoke about the inroads it has made into this market over the past year and growth plans head.

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