Amber, a global student housing platform, has secured $21 million in its first external funding round led by Gaja Capital. The startup aims to use the fresh capital for expanding its presence in new markets and enhancing its offerings for students and property managers.
Amber: Simplifying the Housing Process for Students
Amber was founded in 2017 by Saurabh Goel and Madhur Gujar, who experienced the pain of finding suitable accommodation as students themselves. They noticed a significant gap in the customer experience for a need as fundamental as housing, and decided to solve it with technology and effective execution.
Amber provides verified listings, a seamless and integrated booking experience with virtual property tours and expert assistance for students looking for long-term accommodation near their universities. Amber claims to have over one million beds listed on its platform and a presence across seven countries: the UK, the US, Australia, Ireland, Canada, Germany, and Spain.
Amber also helps property managers streamline their operations and maximize their revenue with its AI-based dynamic pricing engine and dashboard tools. Amber has become the partner of choice for students and property managers in its markets, reaching a gross bookings value (GBV) of $600 million in 2022 and a post-tax profit of $6 million.
Gaja Capital: Impressed by Amber’s Tech-Driven Scale and Profitability
Gaja Capital, a leading private equity firm focused on the education sector, led the $21 million funding round for Amber. Lighthouse Canton and Stride Ventures also participated in the round. The Rainmaker Group acted as the exclusive financial advisor on this transaction.
Gopal Jain, Managing Partner of Gaja Capital, said that he was deeply impressed by Amber’s ability to solve a critical pain point for both students and property managers. He praised Amber’s unique combination of tech-driven scale, high growth, profitability, and capital efficiency that is exceedingly rare in today’s market.
He also noted that the global increase in student enrolments underpinned by a long-term study abroad trend is fuelling the organized student housing market. He expressed his excitement to partner with Amber as they work towards expansion into newer markets and deepening their offerings for students and property managers.
Amber: A Truly Global Business Out of India
Amber is one of the few Indian startups that have built a truly global business out of India, catering to students from more than 50 countries. The startup has also attracted angel funding from prominent entrepreneurs such as Ola’s Bhavish Aggarwal, Khatabook’s Ravish Naresh, and former FreeCharge co-founder Sandeep Tandon. Some of these investors have already exited the firm.
Saurabh Goel, CEO of Amber, said that they have been deeply obsessed with solving the house-hunting process, starting with students. He said that this round further strengthens their mission to provide an even better experience, expand to newer geographies and unlock growth levers for the next 10x.
He also thanked their existing and new investors for their support and trust in their vision. He said that they are looking forward to working with Gaja Capital, who have a deep understanding of the education sector and a track record of backing successful companies in this space.
Amber competes with several Indian brands such as University Living, Your Space, Good Host Spaces, and Homversity, among others. However, Amber stands out with its global reach, tech-enabled solutions, and profitable growth.