RoomMe to Make Revolution in the Boarding House Industry
The boarding house, usually called “kost” in Indonesia is a unique and popular industry for the students and office workers. However, there’s still a lack of technology used for the management.
The issue has inspired Glen Ramersan with four of his friends to create the digital platform for a boarding house rent named RoomMe in 2017. The startup is to help kost owners find renters and implement the standard convenience.
“Our target is to improve the convenience standard for renters. We’re here to provide a boarding house, not a motel, therefore we have more added value,” RoomMe’s CEO, Glen Ramersan, Wed (10/2).
RoomMe has its own standard for boarding house facilities, and available in all units, including the cleanliness, hot water, flat-screen TV, toiletries, and wifi.
There’s also a private restroom and pantry. The cost and all facilities are all set by RoomMe, not to worry the cost owners, including renovation and promotion cost.
Therefore, users must not worry to visit the building and check all the facilities to negotiate with the owner. Everything is getting easier by app and website. Renters don’t have to worry about all facilities are available for each unit.
In terms of distribution, RoomMe also partners with other OTA platforms, such as Pegi-pegi, Traveloka, Tiket.com, Booking.com, and Agoda.
However, market education is still necessary for this industry because people might not believe what they see in the app and try to contact the provider through WhatsApp.
“Usually, people will see the RoomMe sign while looking for boarding houses around the office. Then, they contact us through WhatsApp for assurance.”
Business model and target
Glen explained they have no certain specification for the kost owners, either minimum units, location, etc. They just have to submit, and there will be an audit team to observe and to tell necessary improvements.
“We can also help with the renovation, but only the light beautification. If the room doesn’t include a private restroom, the kost owner should add it up.”
After the renovation, RoomMe will do a promotion to the OTA. The kost owner can monitor the monthly performance and have insights into their consumers. Everything is done in transparency and efficient way for all kost owners.
RoomMe also guarantees a fixed monthly income for kost owners and to increase per month. The occupancy rate should increase by 90%-100%. Glen avoids revealing more on the monetizing part, but margin comes from the rent cost.
RoomMe currently has four products to reach all public segments. Those are RoomMe regular, RoomMe+ for middle-high, RoomMe Eco for students with affordable price, and RoomMe Syariah. Price starts from Rp1 mil to Rp11 mil per month.
He also said they’ve acquired hundreds of boarding houses in Jakarta with a total of 2 thousand rooms. Next year, he plans to expand to Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi (Bodetabek), and add up to 1000 boarding houses.
They’ve secured a Series A funding to support the plan, the amount is still undisclosed. They’re to make official announcement soon.
Funding was raised from KK Fund, Vertex Ventures, and BAce Capital. Those are follow-on funding after the previous investment.
He emphasized on the boarding house business to be the beginning of RoomMe. It’s possible to expand to apartment management and expat residence.
“Our goal is to provide a comfortable boarding house. comfortable usually costs more. However, we don’t want to use that standard, because everybody deserves a comfortable room to live in,” he said.
Original article is in Indonesian, translated by Kristin Siagian
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