SaffronStays Secures Pre-Series A Investment from Sixth Sense Ventures
Micro-hospitality start-up SaffronStays has successfully raised and secured an undisclosed amount as investment from consumer-centric VC Sixth Sense Ventures. The startup has raised the investment to continue its meteoric growth in the micro-hospitality industry. Launched in 2015 by Devendra and Tejas Parulekar, and mentored by prolific angel investor Sanjay Mehta, SaffronStays exclusively curates and manages hospitality operations, reservations, branding and marketing for private vacation homes owned by HNIs. The company currently operates 45 homes across six states across the country and hosts over 1500 guests every month.
SaffronStays was fuelled by the rising need of upwardly mobile individuals to escape to vacation homes that offer privacy, exclusivity and curated experiences while delivering the luxury of certainty. The bootstrapped company with an initial capital of ₹ 1 crore has been unit level cash positive since August 2016, and the investment shall be deployed to disrupt the current microhospitality industry as the country knows. Having been in the market for 3 years, SaffronStays has proven the product-market fit, identified and mitigated risks and proactively explored new geographies. The company will actively accelerate its growth, hire top talent, and expand its inventory while offering a vastly improved and curated experience. SaffronStays is also actively exploring innovative and engaging business models that will interest Home Owners and Guests, alike.
“Peter Thiel once said, 'A great company is a conspiracy to change the world. When you share your secret, the recipient becomes a fellow conspirator.' We are happy we have the perfect coconspirators in Sixth Sense. Their experience with consumer facing businesses is something we will heavily lean on in our next growth stage” says Tejas Parulekar, Founder, SaffronStays. While SaffronStays has expanded from five employees to 22 employees in a span for two years, the company has also trained and empowered a larger work-force: over 150 caretakers, supervisors, managers, and housekeeping staff members across the country, with a dedicated Training Centre in Ulwe, Panvel. Tejas is a Chartered Accountant and Corporate Banker with ICICI bank.
Devendra Parulekar, Founder, SaffronStays, adds, “We are excited to have Sixth Sense Venture as our partners in our entrepreneurial journey. While we took a while to consider raising money, we are very happy to partner with Nikhil Vora, especially looking at their past successes and the ecosystem that they bring along. We were looking for smart money, and we found it with Sixth Sense. We hope to use this money to expand our footprint, work on innovative business models, strengthen our operations and improve our technology backbone.” Deven was a partner in EY India and Practice leader of cyber security.
The flagship SaffronStays Select 2018: India’s Most Memorable Vacation Home Awards introduced the brand to Home Owners across the country, and opened the doors to unique, otherwise inaccessible homes. Now in its second year, the Awards are projected to reach a wider audience and make the company a household name.
Nikhil Vora, Founder & CEO of Sixth Sense Ventures, India’s first consumer centric domestic venture fund states, “At Sixth Sense, we would strive to always back kick-ass promoters (Deven and Tejas), in a big-ass market (USD40bn space) with a smart-ass product (Holiday Homes). The Indian travel market is massive and yet underserved. Our belief is that the Indian traveler is at the cusp of becoming experiential and demanding by looking for unique travel experiences. Weekend plans to de-stress and bond with families and friends has been largely trending in cities and premium home stays located within 3 hours from city limits make up for the most preferred short holiday destinations. We believe that SaffronStays is very well equipped to capture this market with its exclusivity and well-curated offerings and parallely create an opportunity for homeowners to monetize their most valuable and expensive asset”.
Sixth Sense is the first institutional investor in SaffronStays and will hold a significant minority stake in the company. Nikhil Vora joins the board of SaffronStays.