Bags $60M To Grow The Reach Of Its Student Digs Marketplace

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Who Is A VC?, an accommodation marketplace founded back in 2011 (as ‘Overseas Student Living’ before rebranding last year) to focus specifically on the needs of international students, is announcing a $60 million combined Series B and C round today, led by global investment firm VY Capital. Horizons Ventures, Expa, Spotify founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon and Hugo Barra from Xiaomi also participated in the round.

The platform aims to simplify the accommodation search for international students needing to secure a base for their studies from a distance. And, on the flip side, it links landlords with a lucrative supply of overseas students who, given how much they are paying to study abroad, are probably more interested in knuckling down and studying on that in-room desk rather than throwing bedroom-trashing parties in their digs. sits in the middle of these two parties, taking its commission cut from bookings. It claims to have taken in $110 million in bookings last year alone, from students in more than 100 countries. Landlords using its platform pay a commission on the total rental period, which it says is typically an academic year, but can be shorter a shorter timeframe, such as a summer, or as long as three years.

The company is not disclosing how many landlords it has signed up to its platform at this stage (nor will it confirm how many student users it has) but will say it works with “all major landlords in all key destinations” — a statement it says yields a total of 750,000 beds in its currently covered 426 destinations, which it says are in close proximity to more than 1,000 universities.

“We provide landlords with global reach and scale which means access to international students in hundreds of countries across the world,” say the founders when asked how they incentivize landlords to sign up. “We also bring significant value in making the marketing and booking process much smoother from end to end.”

The new funding will be used for market expansion, the company said today, with plans to expand across the U.S., Latin America and the Middle East in the coming months. The new financing will also be used to grow its team — currently more than 200 people strong, spread over seven locations — and to invest in its tech platform.