Habyt, a more effective way to manage the accommodation rental business
Habyt is a German-Italian company that rents out different types of accommodations. The main targets of this service are not tourists, unlike Airbnb: its clientele are young professionals who need to live abroad for a long period of time.
Habyt was born in 2017. It was founded by CEO Luca Bovone, one of the first Dropbox managers in Europe together with a multifaceted and close-knit team. These Italian entrepreneurs were living in Germany when they came up with a plan for their start-up.
Habyt: how everything began
Everything started from personal experience. Bovone often needed to travel to different European cities for work. He discovered that to find available rooms or apartments for a medium period of time (six months or a year, for example) was not easy. Furthermore, he understood it was complicated to bargain with landlords in a different language, particularly for young and inexperienced people.
From the beginning, Bovone and its team wanted their service to be easy, entirely digital and with a standardised design. They thought that these features would help speed up the entire renting process. In addition, people would not need to use an intermediary.
Habyt started by managing 7 rooms in Berlin. Later, thanks to new funds, the start-up managed to export its business to Spain.
Soon, it caught the attention of angel investors such as Florian Swoboda (Caroobi, Movinga and Homebell) and estate investor Jakob Maehren. Thanks to them, the company raised 500,000 euros, approximately. Then, in November 2018, Habyt closed a third investment round, in which P101 funded the start-up for 2 million dollars. Over the following years, the company managed to close other important investments rounds. Thanks to the new funds, in 2021, Habyt also acquired the Milan-based start-up Roomie, that is specialised in co-living solutions and accommodations for students and young professionals. This was part of a project that aimed to double the presence of Habyt’s accomodations in Italy by the end of 2022.
Nowadays, Habyt has partnerships in 10 markets across Europe and the rest of the world. Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, Milan, Turin, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo are some of the cities involved in Habyt’s business. Now its clients can choose between 8,000 rooms and flats.
Habyt works in the PropTech market, which has recently seen a massive expansion in Italy. PropTech comprises all the digital services related to real estate, especially renting. According to the Italian PropTech Monitor (IPM), in 2021, there were 184 PropTech operative offices, 21% more than December 2020.
The IPM sorts PropTech companies by activity. There are 4 groups: Real Estate Fintech (27%), Smart Real Estate (19%), Sharing Economy (22%) and Professional Services (32%).
Over the next five years, big data, analytics and IoT will play a pivotal role in the real estate business. Also, blockchain will be very important, thanks to which, it will be possible to digitalise cadastral registries and have a complete record of every transition. Indeed, this technology allows to store information permanently.
How Habyt works
Habyt headquarters are in Berlin. The company’s core team manages everything related to technology and services, like sales and support. Furthermore, the company has a network of employees and contractors who curate its business in other countries.
Habyt does not possess the properties it rents. It works directly with the owners, through management contracts or long-term rents.
There are always several considerations behind the choice of new cities in which to expand Habyt’s business.
“We guarantee our business philosophy works in cities with more than 500 thousand citizens. Cities that are built around universities, scientific or economic centres”, says Bovone. “We select a location by examining data coming from internal analysis and information that are already available from external sources. For example, we use Idealista data to understand the type of demand there is in a specific area. From these numbers, we build a predictive financial model that estimates the chances that a room or flat has to be rented and its supposed price”.
The technology behind Habyt
Habyt developed its technology internally. This aspect has allowed it to maximise its effectiveness and minimise its costs.
A central system uploads the new vacancies (among the accommodations that are managed by the company) on platforms around the world. Also, Habyt’s technology automatically optimises the accommodations selling prices by considering their availability and the market request. In addition, clients can book their room or flat through the same platforms.
“All of this helps us optimise prices and employment rate, which is always over 95%“, explains Bovone.
Finally, the whole customer experience is digital and automated. This aspect guarantees a high degree of efficiency.