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Nidhi Kumra: Redefining Living

The company has built a Rs 35 crore topline business, which does not need external capital to sustain

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Nidhi Kumra, ceo, your-space, was 19 when she moved out of India and 12 years later she is back after working in a well-paying investment banking job into setting up a startup in an unorganised, real estate market in Greater Noida. Your-Space was born hence with a purpose to change student’s world for their better and add value to the way they live when they study away from home. For all her work and achievements in this field, Kumra has bagged a place on the list of BW Businessworld 40 under 40.

The student-housing company has succeeded in bagging 500x revenue growth in the last 3 years and went from tuning in Rs 65 lakh annual turnover in 2016-17 to Rs 35 crore on 2019-20. The facilities availed to students were 24 x 7 warden on site, CCTV, biometric access that enhances safety and security, medical convenience, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, clean furniture, beddings, walk-in closets along with personal washrooms, well-appointed kitchens serving up a multi-cuisine menu of sumptuous meals, laundry, gym, common rooms, study rooms, and proximity to major markets, for students to have a hassle- free academic life. Kumra said, “Your-Space aims to redefine student living with a unique product, the core idea being to cultivate a student-first environment that promotes overall holistic wellbeing.”

In taking such a huge leap into the real estate market, the two people, who she gives credits for mentoring her, are Sanyaya Gupta, CEO & MD of PNB Housing Finance, and Shantanu Rastogi, India Head for General Atlantic Partners. “Both being part of the Your-Space journey from the beginning, they helped me think through the business, strategy and plan to grow the business,” said Kumra. “From a P&L perspective, we have differentiated itself from the competition by maintaining high utilisation rates (85 per cent) and retention rates (90 per cent ),” she added. In three years, the company has built a Rs 35 crore topline business, which does not need external capital to sustain.

Speaking on the challenges faced during her company’s journey to success, Kumra said, “Mumbai is a difficult market because of the nature of real estate and difficult to get standalone buildings in Mumbai.” He further illustrated, “Real estate is expensive, societies hard to break through additionally supply is limited; so, I decided to face the challenge head on and it propelled me to reach out to hundreds of individual flat owners to convince them of my venture and support us.” Today, the company has over 100 apartments alone in Mumbai servicing students. Kumra stated, “We have now been able to provide housing solutions for students across North and South Mumbai where even the well-funded and larger players have struggled to break into the Mumbai market.”

Working abroad for so long has allowed her to give a comparative perspective of the situation of entrepreneurship in the country. She informs: “The government’s concern in nurturing entrepreneurs being a priority is encouraging, however, government has to do a lot of work.” “Singapore and the UK governments, for example, have set-up EIS schemes that makes investing in start-ups tax free.” She has inspiring and great advice to the young entrepreneurs. She says, “I believe all great things are created somewhere between method and madness, an entrepreneurship is a whole lot of madness.” She goes further, “There are days where the thrill of being your own boss away are simply exhilarating and there are days when you don’t to go for work at all. It’s tough but if you have dream and plan then have courage to execute it through.”    

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40 UNDER 40 Nidhi Kumar