Taking advantage of a tight housing market and ever-rising rents, co-living startup Ollie has just raised $15 million, and is expanding into Los Angeles.
Ollie already had plans to move into the L.A. market with the conversion of the former Cecil Hotel into a 301-micro unit outpost, set to open in late 2019. Ollie, which is based in New York, has locations there and in Pittsburgh. It has also announced 2019 openings in Boston and Jersey City.
Investors include Moinian Group’s Currency M division, Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen, and a partnership between Aviva Investors Real Estate Capital Global Co-Investment Fund and the Employees Retirement System of Texas, according to Tech Crunch.
The co-living concept puts an emphasis on shared building spaces, amenities to simplify living for tenants (wifi rolled into rent), and fully furnished apartments.
The Ollie business model differs from some competitors. The company emphasizes hotel-style amenities like regular housekeeping and a butler service. Apartments are also smaller than many rivals and are decked out with more upscale modern furniture than the “bohemian co-op look” some competitors go for, according to the company’s West Coast director Ellen Parry.
But the co-living space remains competitive.
Treehouse, another L.A.-based startup, recently broke group on what it calls the nation’s first ground-up co-living community in Hollywood, a couple of blocks from the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Bronson Avenue. Units will be arranged in suites and share kitchen and living areas.
Common, which has 16 locations in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., is in the middle of raising $40 million in a funding round to bring its total funding to around $60 million. Co-working giant WeWork has slowed the pace of its WeLive concept, having only opened two locations by the end of last year after planning for 30. WeWork has plenty of cash to expand the model though, thanks to a $4.4 billion injection from SoftBank that brought its total valuation up to $20 billion. [TechCrunch] – Dennis Lynch