Zeus Living secures $55m for flexible living model
US: Mid-term housing rental and property management startup, Zeus Living, has announced that it has raised $55 million in a funding round led by SIG.
The likes of Initialized Capital, CEAS Investments, TI Platform, NFX, Opendoor’s Eric Wu and Miras also participated in the round, bringing the startup’s total amount raised to date to $125 million.
Though Zeus has not disclosed its current valuation, it did achieve an estimated valuation of $205 million in December 2019, when Airbnb contributed to its $55 million Series B round. Then last May, the startup raised $15 million in equity and debt at a value of roughly $110 million, roughly half of what it had commanded five months earlier, from backers including CEAS Investments I, Initialized Capital Management and Soros Fund Management.
Since raising capital with Airbnb, Zeus has shifted its focus from redecorating landlords’ homes and renting furnished properties to relocated workers for 30-plus-day stays to cater to all types of travellers, not just corporates. In doing so, Zeus wants to give more guests more options to move around flexibly with less commitment.
Zeus CEO and co-founder, Kulveer Taggar, told TechCrunch: “Since our start, we provided ‘home’ to people traveling for work, but also for grandparents spending extended time with newborn grandbabies, people seeking healthcare and families renovating their homes. Over the past 18 months, we’ve superseded corporate housing and are challenging the old, rigid rental market by offering beautifully designed homes outfitted at fair prices and flexible terms in places residents want to live.”
To date, Zeus Living has notched up more than 1.4 million booked nights, including 811,562 during the pandemic, and it has grown to almost 5000 homes in 96 cities such as Austin, Miami, Philadelphia and Portland. In addition, its occupancy has grown from 82 per cent to 87 per cent in 2020, RevPAR has skyrocketed by 21 per cent this year, and Zeus has reported a sixfold increase in residents booking flexible leases for an indefinite term.
It marks a remarkable turnaround for a company that was said to have cut 156 staff during two rounds of layoffs early on in the pandemic, although Taggar says that many of these have now been reemployed by Zeus.
Zeus manages its homes, unlike marketplaces such as Airbnb, and rents out the properties for 30+ day stints. However, Zeus homes are listed on Airbnb.
Taggar said that the increase in monthly or extended stays showed that the new generation of renters wanted to be “more mobile” and to invest in “experiences over possessions”.
The startup aims to use the new funding to double down on growth and expansion, as well as improve the online experience for homeowners and residents.