Despite a housing landscape that increasingly disfavors co-living arrangements, co-living startup Common is forging onward with a new $50 million funding round.
While other similar companies like HubHaus, Zeus Living and Lyric have made significant staff cuts or plans to shutter, Common appears to be standing strong.
Digital business investing company Kinnevik led the Series D funding round with support from existing investors Maveron, 8VC and Norwest Venture Partners CEO Brad Hargreaves announced in a Medium blog post on Tuesday. The new funding round brings Common’s total funding to over $113 million.
“In the early days of Common, we made an important choice to build a full-stack residential management platform that encompassed operating, leasing, design, and capital markets, rather than just an app,” Hargreaves wrote. “Building a full-stack management platform wasn’t an easy choice, but we saw that the entire residential operating system of property management and leasing was fundamentally broken, and fixing it would require replacing the entire system rather than putting a software patch on top.”
“Our decision to build a full-stack operating company led us to today’s expansion of our vision: to make Common not just the best co-living company in the world, but the best housing company in the world,” Hargreaves added.
The co-living CEO went on to detail the company’s plans for the future to use data to build better homes, expand its client base to new groups like remote workers and enable seamless movement between cities while expanding to new markets.
Common was founded in New York in 2015 and today has 17,500 units under development in 26 different cities. However, co-living only makes up about half of Common’s business, which is perhaps one of the secrets to its success.
Last year, Common co-launched with Tishman Speyer a co-living product called Kin. The company was also selected by Mayor Bill de Blasio to develop an affordable co-living project in East Harlem with L+M Development Partners. In May, the company launched Noah, a property management division targeted toward workforce housing. It also recently unveiled a new payment plan for renters and is offering reduced rent in some cases.
Transitioning with the times, the company also recently announced its Remote Work Hub RFP, established based on the idea that economic development in emerging cities will be driven by attracting renters, rather than large corporations.
“Through the Hub, we’ll design and develop the first work-and-live building that accurately addresses the growth of a remote workforce in a post-COVID world,” Hargreaves wrote. “We’ve already seen interest from over 300 public and private groups.”
Earlier this month, co-living startup HubHaus announced it had begun to take steps towards shutting down the company following the venture capital-backed startup unsuccessful attempts to attract a potential buyer or emergency funding. According to a report from The Information, investors said the company had let go of its seven remaining employees.
Multiple companies akin to HubHaus have also taken a hit during the pandemic. Airbnb-backed companies Zeus Living (a corporate travel startup) and Lyric (a short-term rental startup) have both struggled through the spring. Zeus Living laid off most of its staff and took a valuation cut, while Lyric relinquished most of its locations to landlords as co-founder and president Joe Fraiman departed the company at the beginning of July.
Tacoma, Washington-based property management startup Stay Alfred also shut down this spring. All three companies saw drops in revenue while owing lease payments.