Amber, Global Student Housing Provider, Raises $21 Million in Maiden Round led by Gaja Capital

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Countless students who are starting their higher education journey abroad struggle to find accommodation due to the complexities of remote booking processes and limited visibility into property conditions placing them in the middle of a maze of unverified listings and unclear rental agreements. Leveraging cutting-edge technology and a relentless commitment to user-centric design, Amber aims to bridge the gap between students and property managers, offering a seamless, end-to-end solution tailored to the unique needs of both stakeholders. As the platform embarks on its next chapter of growth, Amber has secured $21 million in their first external funding round led by Gaja Capital with participation from prominent backers like Lighthouse Canton and Stride Ventures.

The funds infusion will help push forward the expansion plans of Amber and enhance their offerings for both property managers and students. The company’s roadmap which was outlined in a recent press release has shown the platform’s commitment to leveraging their resources for global outreach and innovation in product development.

Amber App

“We are looking at scaling aggressively in the markets that we are currently already into. The UK, Australia and Ireland is the market that we started with, and we are the largest operator and platform in these markets, but at the same time, a lot of fund allocation would go into expanding into new markets like the US, Canada, and Europe as well,” cofounder and chief executive Saurabh Goel told ET.

With these fundraise, it is estimated that the company’s valuation has increased to around $100 million, according to Entrackr. With a presence spanning more than 250 cities across seven countries, including the UK, the US, Australia, Ireland, Canada, Germany, and Spain, Amber has become a trusted ally for students coming from more than 50 nations. The company uses an AI-based dynamic pricing engine and dashboard tools to streamline operations and maximize revenue streams for property managers.

The company has reported a gross bookings value (GBV) of $600 million in 2022 with operational revenue surging to $15 million along with a post-tax profit of $6 million, according to Entrackr. For 2023, Amber has also projected crossing the $1.2 billion mark in GBV for its partners.

With a steadfast focus on global expansion and product enhancement, the company aims to fortify its position as a market leader in the growing student housing sector. The platform will be enlisting more suppliers and property managers due to increasing demand from both international and domestic students. Along with the expansion, the platform will be investing in tech innovations and partnerships with study-abroad consultancies and loan providers.

Commenting on the investment, Gopal Jain, managing partner, Gaja Capital said, “Global increase in student enrolments underpinned by a long-term study-abroad trend is fueling the organized student housing market. We are deeply impressed by the team’s ability to solve a critical pain point for both students and property managers.”

Amber Housing: Revolutionizing Student Accommodation for Global Learners

Founded in 2017 by Saurabh Goel and Madhur Gujar, Amber is a operates as an AirBnB in the student accommodation sector. Headquartered in Pune, India, the company has carved a niche for itself with a primary focus on serving the needs of Indian students pursuing higher education in key overseas destinations including the US, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and Canada.

Amber Housing

Positioned as a long-term accommodation platform, Amber offers students from over 50 nations a comprehensive suite of services tailored to facilitate the discovery and acquisition of rental properties. The platform empowers students to make informed decisions in their quest for suitable accommodation options by providing user ratings, reviews, and transparent pricing mechanisms.

Goel shares. “This market size is growing as more supply is coming into the picture,”

The company acts as a facilitator in the transactional process between property managers and customers. While the company does not engage operationally in property maintenance activities, it serves as an intermediary who helps in streamlining the rental process while ensuring a seamless experience for both parties involved.

Inspiration Ignited: Unveiling the Genesis of Amber Housing

The idea behind Amber started from a firsthand experience of the challenges faced by its co-founders, Saurabh Goel and Madhur Gujar, during their transition to the United States for education. When they were looking for housing in the US, they found the process inefficient, facing problems like inconvenient negotiations with brokers, complex paperwork, and non-transparent payment procedures.

This personal struggle showed them the need for a simplified, transparent, and efficient platform which caters to the unique requirements of students who are seeking accommodations near their educational institutions. Drawing upon their backgrounds in technology and business, Goel and Gujar wanted Amber to be a platform that addressed these pain points comprehensively.

Talking about the challenges of house hunting, Goel said, “When it comes to ordering food, you have Zomato and Swiggy. When it comes to shopping online, you have Flipkart and Amazon, but when it comes to renting a house, the experience is still very broken…So that’s where we saw a huge gap that there is no better customer experience when it comes to renting a house.”

The core idea was to empower students worldwide by eliminating the hassle of broker negotiations, streamlining paperwork, and simplifying payment processes. By leveraging technology and innovative strategies, the company aims to provide students with a seamless and transparent platform for discovering, booking, and managing accommodations.

Journey of Amber Housing: Pioneering Student Accommodation Solutions

Like any journey, Amber has faced challenges and obstacles. From navigating regulatory complexities to weathering the impacts of external events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has been able to adapt and thrive in an ever-evolving landscape.

Despite the hurdles encountered along the way, Amber has experienced exponential growth since its inception. With a relentless focus on customer satisfaction, product innovation, and market expansion, the company has expanded its footprint to encompass millions of student housing units across multiple countries.

As it charts the course ahead, Amber remains steadfast in its commitment to redefining the student accommodation experience on a global scale. With ambitious plans for expansion, innovation, and impact, the company is poised to solidify its position as a leader in the student housing sector.

“We are essentially building from India for the world. Being present in India, we can build this in a very capital efficient way, but at the same time have the lucrative revenue potential of a market which is based in the US or the UK,” Goel added.

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