When WeWork appeared, other entrepreneurs looked at the model and thought that if you could apply co-working to property, then why not apply co-living. Thus, in the U.S., Common appeared, as did Hmlet in Asia. In the EU, Habyt launched, but has already gobbled up its competitors Quarters, Goliving and Erasmo’s Room.
It’s now closed a series B round of €20 million ($24 million) and merged with another competitor, Homefully, founded by Sebastian Wuerz in 2016. The round was backed by HV Capital (formerly Holtzbrink Ventures), Vorwerk Ventures, P101 and Picus Capital.
Founded in 2017 by Luca Bovone, Habyt will now have over 5,000 units across 15 cities and six countries. The merged companies will offer fully furnished and serviced living units, coupled with a tech-enabled user experience and a focus on community, aimed at young professionals between 20 and 35 years old who move jobs and cities fairly frequently.
Luca Bovone, founder and CEO of Habyt, said:
We have been on an incredible journey in the past year and a half. In spite of less than perfect market conditions we have been able to grow a lot via a very successful M&A strategy that brought us into the position of leaders of our sector in Europe and that still has a lot of potential. This €20 million series B round really opens our doors to keep building Habyt both via organic growth and via more M&As. We are now looking at strategic targets in Europe, specifically in France and Italy, and also in other continents, especially in Asia.
Sebastian Wuerz, founder of Homefully, said: “The co-living market is going through a consolidation phase and Habyt has really seized this opportunity quickly and effectively and is on the best track to become the leader of the sector at a global scale. Joining forces is a crucial step in this direction and I am very excited for the team to be part of this journey.”
Felix Kluehr, partner at HV, said: “We are happy to see that Habyt has emerged as the leading player in the European co-living market and HV is excited to support the team in their ambitious plan to build the leading European co-living company.”
Over an interview, Bovone told me: “It’s like a member’s club. We have a subscription model, where people pay a monthly fee, which is your rent, and then you can, of course, apply for a room somewhere else and know that we have a fairly decent scale across Europe and eventually, also in southern Europe. You are able to move from one place to the other. Our motto is live anywhere.”
He said that the pandemic had meant that people were ditching co-working spaces and “They would prefer to spend 50 to 100 euro more per month on getting better housing where they can work comfortably from home.”
“We are already seeing within our customer base, they want to stay six months in Berlin, three months in Madrid, then move back to Berlin and so on. The traditional housing market just doesn’t allow that to happen. You have contracts with utilities and so on, which you can never break and it’s just an outdated product offering, and we’re trying to tackle that.”