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Startups: Student.com Raised $60 Million From High-Profile Investors to Expand Its Service Helping Students Find Accommodations
Student.com, a student accommodation marketplace has just raised $60 million from investors. Previously, the web-based platform was known as Overseas Student Living (OSL) when it was first launched in 2011. The fund was secured a year after OSL was rebranded and relaunched as Student.com in 2015.
The $60 million fund was a combined series B and C round led by VY Capital. It's reported that high-profile investors were involved in the funding. Hong Kong's investment fund Horizons Ventures and a firm led by Uber co-founder Garrett Camp are on the list. Horizons Ventures was an investor in Spotify several years ago. The funding for Student.com also involves high-profile individual investors, as reported by the Financial Times. Spotify founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon are among the big names, along with Xiaomi executive Hugo Barra.
Student.com, launched as OSL, was founded by Luke Nolan in 2011 when he was working in China. He met co-founder Shakil Khan ten years before that during a study abroad program. Shakil Khan was formerly an executive at a Swedish music streaming service before he joined the startup in 2014.
Co-founder Khan stated that the student housing market is arguably one of the single biggest industries not yet digitized, as quoted by VentureBeat. "With Student.com, we're not only enabling international students the world over to quickly and easily find housing abroad; we're also giving landlords a digital and global infrastructure to reach millions of students," he said.
The platform was first inspired by Nolan's observation that Chinese students need a platform to find accommodation abroad. Even now, although the startup was now in more than 100 countries, most of the students using its service came from Asia-based students especially China, Hong Kong, and India. Asian students accounted for 40 percent of the startup's bookings, with popular destinations including the U.S., U.K., and Australia. However, Student.com did receive bookings from more than 100 countries, with a total of $110 million.
According to TechinAsia, Student.com will use the fund it has just received to further expand its service coverage globally. Student.com plans to strengthen and boost its presence specifically in the U.S., Latin America, and the Middle East. The team expects to achieve that in the next few months. In accordance to that, the startup will also expand its team.
The $60 million fund was invested in Student.com by high-profile investors. That shows the promising markets of students accommodations, which Student.com is striving to cover better. They seek to improve in coverage as well as numbers of team and bookings.