During the pandemic and the changes to remote work that come with it, many people took advantage of their newfound flexibility to try to live in different places.
Initialized Capital, CEAS Investments, TI Platforms, NFX, Opendoor’s Eric Wu and Miras also participated in the funding, bringing the startup’s total to $125 million. The company declined to reveal its current valuation, but it was valued at $205 million at the time of its last increase in 2019.
Zeus Living began its life by refurbishing landlords’ homes and renting out furnished properties primarily to workers relocated for 30-day stays (or longer) for new types of corporate housing. Since then, it has broadened its focus and grown into a company that gives people – not just corporate employees – more options to move around with less commitment in general.
Kulveer Taggar, CEO and co-founder, said, “Since our beginnings, we have provided a ‘home’ to people traveling for work, but also to new-born grandparents, people seeking health care and their own Also for families renovating homes.” Over the past 18 months we have overtaken corporate housing and challenging the old, rigid rental market with beautiful designs designed at reasonable prices and flexible terms. Offering homes where residents want to live.”
It’s a good comeback story, considering that at the start of the pandemic, Zeus Living made headlines for layoffs About 80 people, or about 30% of the company. And there is demand.
As evidence of the pandemic and the resulting remote work shift, Zeus Living says it has seen a “6x increase” in residents booking leases without a predetermined expiration date, for an average stay of 129 nights over the previous year Saw it.
Basically, Taggar believes there is “a new American dream” that doesn’t involve buying a house as a symbol of one’s “making.”
“Can we Watch out for this new generation now, that goal or dream, is not as much related to home buying,” he told Nerdshala. “They want to invest in property experiences. They want to be more mobile. And they want to do it without the headache and hassle.”
In 2019, Zeus Living offered 2,400 homes on its site, partnering with homeowners to manage and rent their properties. Today, this has grown to about 5,000 homes in 96 US cities such as Austin, Miami, Portland, and Philadelphia. Occupancy is 87%, compared to 82% in 2020, while “Revpar” (this revenue accrues to landlords who manage properties) has increased by 21% this year compared to the previous year .
Over time, residents have spent more than 1.4 million nights with Zeus, and 811,562 of them were during the pandemic. The company is approaching $250 million in lifetime booking revenue.
Since those March 2020 layoffs, the company has been able to take back some of those who were forced to lay off, According to Taggar. But it’s still doing some comparatively lean work with 122 employees.
The company emphasizes that unlike its investor Airbnb, it is not a marketplace and manages its own homes – from curation to design to asset management and service. However, Airbnb is a channel for Zeus.
With Zeus, Taggar said, users can browse the thousands of homes it manages and choose the dates they want to be there — whether it’s five weeks or five months, all from their phones. Residents also don’t need utilities or Wi-Fi installed. Zeus will take care of that too.
“You can be flexible and leave with only two weeks’ notice,” he said. “And then you can trust that the experience is going to be good because Zeus did the hard work of curating the home in the first place. We’ve inspected it, and we know it’s safe, and then we’ll bring it to you.” Will design to make it comfortable to live in.”
While Zeus has been growing 3-4x revenue a year since its launch in 2015, according to Taggar, it hit a temporary speed bump when the pandemic began.
“But we’re getting back on that path,” he said. “We are making the rental experience very modern and turnkey. Even if all the work to accomplish behind the scenes operations is quite involved and complex.”
Looking ahead, the company plans to use its new capital to focus on growth and expansion.
“We are having supply disruptions in all of our markets, so we want to go and get more homes,” Taggar told Nerdshala. “We want to invest in and improve the online experience for our homeowners and residents.”
In fact, he said, Zeus Living’s demand for $40 million over the past 12 months has not been met.
“We know where people want to live and how much they are willing to pay for a flexible living,” he said.
Gary Tan, Founder and Managing Partner of Initialized Capital, is a repeat investor in Zeus Living, which has led its seed and Series A rounds and invested in its Series B and C financing.
Overall, Tan believes the property management world is “stuck in the same place taxi companies were before ride-hailing.”
They believe that Zeus Living has created something that is “set and forget” for property owners. At the same time, it is helping to meet the need of people looking for flexible living options in the “best markets”.
“Were Going into this new phase where people do not need to live in a handful of cities,” he told Nerdshala. “You can be anywhere in the country. And this new idea from FlexLiving is that it makes that possibility more accessible to everyone.”
What makes Zeus even more special, in Tan’s view, is its ability to find properties in desirable areas of the city, which are usually only known by city dwellers, so residents can “like a local”. can stay.”
“It’s really hard to get those places, so it’s also a lot more profitable, because it’s also where customers want to be,” Tan said.
Of course, Zeus Living isn’t the only player in the flexible rental space. Guild, an Austin, Texas-based startup that turns apartments into comfortable short-term accommodations for business and other travelers, last raised a $25 million Series B in January of 2020. Last June, hospitality startup Sonder raised $170 million at a valuation of $1.3 billion, though it’s important to note that the company — which rents serviced apartments similar to boutique hotels — is seen as a competitor to Airbnb. in more.