He smiles and waves us away.

“No, man. I am not really worried. You can’t really think too much about these things”

It’s a warm afternoon in Bengaluru. His office isn’t air-conditioned. Occasionally, people pop in to give him updates or to remind him about meetings. With a smile on his face, Nestaway CEO Amarendra Sahu remains unflappable.

If you were the incumbent market leader in the fragmented shared rental business in India, and a giant competitor with far more funds and a solid brand was planning to enter it, chances are you would be a little hassled. But not Sahu.

There are good reasons to remain cool. You may not have heard much about it, but Nestaway Technologies, a property management service company, is one that’s done something fairly special. It’s one of the few tech companies that has made significant inroads into the real-estate sector. Several tried and either failed or struggled, and finally merged with larger entities. Housing. Common Floor. Grabhouse. The rental business is a tough business. But Nestaway broke through. Through a combination of smart services, the right value proposition, and careful, targeted expansion, the company now sits at the top of the shared rentals business in India with 25,000 homes on its platform across eight cities, with a revenue of Rs 25 crore ($3.39 million) last year. Where many floundered, Nestaway succeeded.  

Market sizing is more art than science, but the 2011 census states that nearly 31.56 million people rent homes in urban India. Most of them served by brokers and middle-men, fragmented all over.

That gives Nestaway a little less than 0.08% market share. And, until very recently, there was little competition from a monolithic player. It looks like Nestaway is one of those companies that has found itself in the rare position of being in the right place at the right time, with a huge potential upside ahead of them.

Others seemed to think so, too. Last year, investors pumped in Rs 329.45 crore ($44.9 million) into the company. The message seemed to be, ‘Go and get the rest’. Nestaway set out to do exactly that. Double down, execute, grow, and start taking more and more of the pie. No hurry. No tension.

That’s changing though.

For starters, Nestaway is taking time to break into other lucrative markets such as Delhi and Mumbai. Their expenses are going up, and profitability isn’t in sight. It probably won’t be for a while. There are reports that Nestaway’s investors are taking a hands-on approach. Then the big one. Seeing the scope of scale in the shared rentals space, Oyo, which raised nearly $1 billion from Softbank in September, is stepping up to the plate, with its investment into a vertical called Oyo Living. There is a large need for affordable housing in Indian cities and the shared living model is something other players are betting on as well.


Vivek Ananth

After dabbling with an auditing job and then at a software product company, Vivek Ananth has decided to take the plunge into journalism. In his last assignment, Vivek was at Cogencis, a financial newswire. A Chartered Accountant, Vivek completed his post-graduate diploma in journalism from IIJNM Bengaluru in 2016. At The Ken, Vivek will write on the intersection of technology and business.

View Full Profile

Available exclusively to subscribers of The Ken India

This story is a part of The Ken India edition. Subscribe. Questions?


Annual Subscription

12-month access to 200+ stories, archive of 800+ stories from our India edition. Plus our premium newsletters, Beyond The First Order and The Nutgraf worth Rs. 99/month or $2/month each for free.

Rs. 2,750


Quarterly Subscription

3-month access to 60+ new stories with 3-months worth of archives from our India edition. Plus our premium newsletters, Beyond The First Order and The Nutgraf worth Rs. 99/month or $2/month each for free.

Rs. 1,750


Single Story

Instant access to this story for a year along with comment privileges.

Rs. 500


Annual Subscription

12-month access to 150+ stories from Southeast Asia.

$ 120


Quarterly Subscription

3-month access to 35+ stories from Southeast Asia.

$ 50


Single Story

Instant access to this story for a year along with comment privileges.

$ 20



What is The Ken?

The Ken is a subscription-only business journalism website and app that provides coverage across two editions - India and Southeast Asia.

What kind of stories do you write?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics.

We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

What do I get if I subscribe?

For subscribers of the India edition, we publish a new story every weekday, a premium daily newsletter, Beyond The First Order and a weekly newsletter - The Nutgraf.

For subscribers of the Southeast Asia edition, we publish a new story three days a week and a weekly newsletter, Strait Up.

The annual subscription will get you complete, exclusive access to our archive of previously published stories for your edition, along with access to our subscriber-only mobile apps, our premium comment sections, our newsletter archives and several other gifts and benefits.

Do I need to pay separately for your premium newsletters?

Nope. Paid, premium subscribers of The Ken get our newsletters delivered for free.

Does a subscription to the India edition grant me access to Southeast Asia stories? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

Do you offer an all-access joint subscription for both editions?

Not yet. If you’d like to access both editions, you’ll have to purchase two subscriptions separately - one for India and the other for Southeast Asia.

Do you offer any discounts?

No. We have a zero discounts policy.

Is there a free trial I can opt for?

We don’t offer any trials, but you can sign up for a free account which will give you access to the weekly free story, our archive of free stories and summaries of the paid stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

Do you offer refunds?

We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Please write to us at [email protected] detailing the error or queries.