Remote working sparks the gold rush of flexible living


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A June Homes apartment on the Upper East Side of New York

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Karl Tomusk

In the wake of the remote working boom, investors have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in companies promising to bring the same kind of flexibility into the home.

Last week, two US startups announced raising $ 308 million to “fix the archaic apartment rental experience” and “[reinvent] the future of life ”with the support of big investors like Softbank.

Unlike coliving, these companies have mainly focused on flexible leases rather than community or shared spaces.

Softbank’s foray into flexible living

New York-based June Homes said she’s built an algorithm that detects apartments with “untapped potential” – often in poor condition – and works with the owner to quickly inspect, modernize, renovate and list homes.

For tenants, this promises flexibility: they can choose to rent the space furnished or unfurnished, with roommates or alone and choose to stay “as long as they want” (as long as they want to stay between one and 18 months) . Pricing, the company said, is more in line with traditional leases than short-term flexible leases.

For homeowners, June Homes performs “quick and visually impressive upgrades” – the startup said the process from inspection to listing takes less than 72 hours – eliminates brokerage and management fees and takes the responsibility to fill spaces 10 times faster than traditional systems.

The company said it is reducing the risk of homeownership by taking responsibility for tenant defaults, non-payments and the building’s overall performance.

As with many proptech platforms, there is also a real-time owner dashboard to give users analytics and insight on metrics like rent collection.

June Homes said last week it has raised $ 50 million in funding so far through funding rounds led by SoftBank, known for its role as a major WeWork shareholder and for fueling the operator’s rapid growth. flexible office space ahead of its failed IPO in 2019.

Sherman Li, SoftBank Ventures Asia Partner and June Homes Board Member, said, “Innovation in the rental market is long overdue, and we believe June Homes’ modern approach will solve the problem. the main problems for tenants and landlords.

Operating in New York, Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Boston, June Homes said the number of renters increased 2.5 times, quarter over quarter, and experienced more than 25 times fewer defaults than the industry average due to its flexible leases.

Flexible life for digital nomads

Days earlier, Blueground announced it had raised $ 180 million in Series C funding, bringing its total raised to $ 258 million.

The startup offers flexible accommodation in more than 5,000 apartments in 15 cities around the world, claiming it is “reinventing the future of life” with housing for people “where they want, when they want, on terms they want. they want “.

Building on the growth of remote working, Blueground said there was a need to meet the demand of “digital nomads” for flexible and long-term hosting.

Users can choose to rent for a month, a year or more in apartments that are fully equipped, furnished and operated by the startup. While there are discounts for long-term staying, the company’s website emphasizes flexibility, imagining tenants could move between neighborhoods or cities, exploring different areas while working remotely. .

Meanwhile, Blueground pays landlords a guaranteed monthly rent, taking on vacancy risk and tenant management responsibility with its guest app.

Alex Chatzieleftheriou, CEO and Co-Founder of Blueground, said: “With the new paradigm of living and working, we are uniquely positioned to meet people’s increasing demands for greater flexibility.

“We are incredibly excited about the vast growth potential, which will be accelerated by this latest round of funding. “

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