Amber, a long-term accommodation booking platform for students, has announced that it has secured $21 million in its first round of institutional funding, led by Mumbai-based private equity firm Gaja Capital. The deal included $18.5 million in new equity and the remaining venture debt from Lighthouse Canton and Stride Ventures. The Rainmaker Group served as the exclusive financial advisor for the transaction.
With this financing round, the company intends to expand globally and enhance its offerings for property managers and students. It also hopes to grow its operations further by hiring more suppliers and property managers while addressing demand from both international and domestic students. It plans to invest in product innovation.
Co-founded by Saurabh Goel and Madhur Gujar in 2017, Amber simplifies the housing process for students globally by providing verified listings and integrated booking experience with virtual property tours and expert assistance. The platform enables transactions between a property manager and customers but only plays an operational role in property maintenance. It also assists students with loan services, discounts on flight bookings and guarantor services. The startup has partnered with study abroad consultancies and loan providers to attract student demand.
Speaking about the company, Co-founder & CEO of Amber, Saurabh Goel, said:
At Amber, we have been deeply obsessed with solving the house-hunting process, starting with students. Having experienced this first-hand, we noticed a significant gap in the customer experience for a need as “fundamental” as housing. We have seen technology-led disruption in other sectors, but surprisingly, the house-hunting process remains archaic.
The firm, headquartered in Pune, claims to have expanded into Australia, Ireland, Canada, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It has witnessed over 1 million monthly visits to its website and mobile apps. The company has also developed an AI-based dynamic pricing engine and dashboard tools to help property managers streamline operations and maximize revenue.
Commenting on the fundraising, Gopal Jain, Managing Partner of Gaja Capital, said:
Amber exemplifies a unique combination of tech-driven scale, high growth, profitability, and capital efficiency that is exceedingly rare in today’s market. The global increase in student enrolments underpinned by a long-term study abroad trend is fuelling the organized student housing market.
Gaja Capital is a growth-stage private equity firm that invests in technology businesses in education, software, financial services and consumer segments. Its portfolio includes digital banking infrastructure enabler Signzy, sales execution software LeadSquared, e-commerce fulfilment company Xpressbees and more.
According to Colliers India’s 2023 study, the student housing sector is emerging as a sought-after asset class, given the rising demand for higher student accommodation. The number of students relocating inside the country was approximately 11 million, expected to reach 31 million by 2036. In addition, only 7.5 million student beds are available in on-campus housing across India, which is insufficient to fulfil ongoing or future demand.