|Residents in one of the flats of Simplyguest
Single men and women in Bengaluru find it difficult to rent a suitable accommodation in a safe and decent locale. Brothers Subbu Athikunte (37) & Ambarish Athikunte (30), come to their rescue with their start-up Simplyguest
How it works? The duo rent vacant flats from home owners, furnish it and rent it out to singles either on a twin-sharing or single occupancy basis. On an average four people are accommodated in a 3BHK house.
What you get when you move in? Cots, mattresses, blankets, bed sheets, pillows, double sofa, computer table and chair, a sofa, floor mats, fridge, LPG stove and cylinder, cooking utensils (including cooker, spoons, knives, chopping trays etc), dining set, fully automatic washing machine, geyser, 30mbps Wi-Fi (subject to availability) and LED TV with DTH. The house will be cleaned on alternate days. All electrical or plumbing issues will be handled by Simplyguest. Household appliances will be serviced regularly. They will also provide
cooks if needed. If you don’t like the house, you can relocate to any house in the SIMPLYGUEST network at no extra charge.
Simplyguest collects three documents from all tenants — address proof, ID and employment proof. They verify all information provided. The rent ranges from Rs 8,000 to Rs 24,000 upwards – inclusive of a 12% service charges. Currently, they operate in Bannerghatta, BTM Layout, JP Nagar and Vijaya Bank Layout, SG Palya and Koramangala.
|Ambarish and Subbu
WHEN THE APPLE FELL
Subbu’s been a software engineer for 16 years. His last job was with Aipgee before he became an entrepreneur. His brother Ambarish was a civil contractor with government agencies. Subbu chanced upon the idea for the start-up when he went house hunting for a cousin who was moving to the city and couldn’t find a suitable one. He found most of the PGS unhygienic, serving unpalatable food and no common areas of relaxation. House owners were reluctant to accommodate singles and if they did it came with many riders. The singles are usually asked to provide umpteen documents including “character certificates” in some places. House hunting is a tiresome feat for the singles in this city. Subbu saw a huge potential in the market. “Whether you like it or not this city is a magnate for migrants,” Subbu says. “The population of young professionals moving into cities is only going to increase in time. And they all need a place to say.” And Subbu decided to step into the gap.
Initially, the owners were reluctant to go into business with the brothers. But relented when the duo promised to take care of the property and took on the onus of getting “hassle-free tenants.” The deal-clincher could be that the brothers promised “deep cleaning” of the houses every two months.
The startup is self-funded with an investment of Rs 45 lakhs till now. Profits made goes back into the business. They do not take a salary and have been living off their savings. But things are going to change soon. Currently, they are not shopping for outside funding and plan to remain self-funded as long as it takes for them to put all the systems in place and they are ready to scale up.
Getting reliable housekeeping staff and service people are major concerns. Flatmates not getting along well is another issue too. But the latter is usually rectified by providing alternate and convenient accommodation within the network. Another problem, Subbu says, is occupancy issues. They might not get suitable tenants and the house might have to remain empty till they find the right people. But they still have to pay the owners the promised amount whether the flat gets occupied or not.