Student.com is an online housing marketplace with an impressive predigree — one of its founders comes via Spotify's executive team.
The site connects students looking for a home with vetted landlords, a simple premise that is attracting some pretty powerful interest. Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, Spotify’s cofounders, are investors (their first-ever such move), and Shakil Khan, Spotify's former head of special projects, has been with the firm since 2014 when he joined as a cofounder.
Student.com has just announced a $60 million funding round. VY Capital led the round, with participation from Horizons Ventures, Xiaomi executive Hugo Barra and Expa, a startup studio led by Uber Cofounder Garrett Camp.
“You have to look it over a few times to go, ‘How can there still be, in 2016, such a huge opportunity of an industry that hasn’t been digitized,’” noted Khan.
“The investors we brought in are incredibly international, which helps us a lot,” Cofounder and CEO Luke Nolan added. “We can learn from that experience of investing and building companies in a lot of different markets.”
He said the new funds would be used to build out its technology and recruitment.
Founded as Overseas Student Living in 2011, the site rebranded as Student.com last year. The growth has been notable; the company saw $110 million in bookings made through its site last year. All in, students from 100 countries have used the site, and its founders are bent on upping that number as they try to catch more of the 5 million or so students who study abroad each year.
The service is free for students, with the company charging landlords when a rental deal is struck.
Student.com has more than 200 staff based in London, Shanghai, New York and Hong Kong.