Co-living spaces, hostels, and food courts – three primary lifestyle supporting segments in the lives of millennials and Gen Z. To tap into the market and upgrade the facilities, Hyderabad-based Isthara, a co-living, student living, and smart food court company with operations in eight cities in India, is seeing accelerated growth across all its business verticals. The fast-growing company has plans to reach one lakh bed capacity in co-living and student living and 1,50,000 in smart food courts pan-India in the coming three years.
Right now, the company plans to spread to Noida, Mumbai, and Pune, and soon it wants to penetrate into tier-2 and tier-3 cities such as Kota and Jaipur. As of now, Ishtara is catering to working professionals who are looking for branded accommodation. While they first started with 1000 beds in Hyderabad, they gradually expanded to NCR and Bengaluru, taking the capacity to 6000.
Luckily for them, some educational institutions were looking to upgrade their infrastructure, and they saw scope to upgrade living infrastructure for students. They took over the hostels and upgraded them with quality food, facilities management, etc., besides taking care of maintenance. From 600 beds, they now have 22,000 beds in student living, making the company India’s largest player in the on-campus student living segment, shares Krishna Kumar, who is one of the co-founders.
Founded by Gilbert James and Vijayan Krishna Kumar in 2017, Isthara has grown 4X during the COVID times when they turned calamity into an opportunity. Recently, the company acquired Letsobility to enhance tech solutions in the co-living and tech verticals.
In the food court segment, they are collaborating with corporate, developers, and academic institutions and transforming cafeterias into smart food courts. In the next three years, the company aims to scale to 1,50,000 seats in the segment catering to over two million people.
In September 2021, Isthara raised a fresh round of funding from existing investors JM Financial Private Equity along with Dubai-based Eagle Propriety Investments and a few family offices. To meet its growth targets for 2025, the company is already in talks with PE firms for a bridge fund.