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Observing the Potential of Co-Living Business in the Digital Era

Talking with RoomME's Co-Founder & CEO, Winoto Hartanto in the #SelasaStartup session

Yenny Yusra - 1 December 2020

The well-established ecosystem of boarding house [further mentioned by kost-kostan] sector or what is recently known as co-living, has become an opportunity for startups like RoomME. This platform, which specifically caters for homestay owners and seekers, tries to boost the company's acceleration by providing further education and introduction to technology and the use of applications to make it easier for homestay owners and seekers.

In this #Selasastartup edition, DailySocial presents RoomME Co-Founder & COO Winoto Hartanto.

Kost-kostan business transformation

The concept of kost-kostan has always been very familiar to the people of Indonesia. By prioritizing a family culture and a close relationship between the owner and the seeker, makes this business never subside and they are always glimpsed by the house owners. Seeing this potential, RoomME founders tried to find opportunities that could then be explored to target this sector.

"For a long time, this business was known as kost-kostan. However, nowadays when many investors come and to simplify a more general term, co-living has been introduced, but it does not leave the essence of the business," Winoto said.

Many insights were later found by Winoto along with other colleagues when he then started building RoomME. Starting from quite a lot of feedback from the boarding house owner to the ability of technology to make it easier for both parties. This then differentiates a platform like RoomME from other similar platforms.

"Since the beginning, we have focused on providing services to boarding owners as well as boarding house seekers, in contrast to other platforms, which are mostly marketplaces," Winoto said.

Pandemic drives acceleration

About the pandemic hindered the growth of RoomME's business, Winoto emphasized that at the beginning of the pandemic, it had experienced problems. However, the pandemic has also created creativity among the management and RoomME team to move faster.

Among those are accelerating the digital and educational process for owners and seekers. Education is a powerful way that is claimed to be able to accelerate awareness and digital adoption of RoomME's target market.

"Using the application, we strive to provide information and convenience to boarding owners to manage their boarding business. Meanwhile, for boarding seekers, using the application gives them the flexibility to search for boarding houses anywhere and anytime," Winoto said.

In particular, RoomME offers two service options to boarding owners, those who want to have the freedom to manage their boarding business and services that make it easier for homestay owners when they want to jump right into managing their business.

"To date, with the education we have launched, we have not encountered any obstacles. From various groups, young and old alike, have adopted RoomME technology very well," Winoto added.

In the future, RoomME sees that the future of the co-living business in Indonesia is very bright, as seen from the stable interest of boarding house seekers and a large number of house owners in Greater Jakarta. Expansion to reach a wider market is also the next for RoomME's plan.

"Last year we were present in Jabodetabek. Next year we plan to expand to Bandung and Yogyakarta. In the future RoomME wants to be a platform that unites industries that are still very fragmented," Winoto said.

Original article is in Indonesian, translated by Kristin Siagian

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