The Startup That Is Disrupting the Rental Market

January 16, 2020
Business Man Apartment
Business young man relax after work of office window with business district view. See Less By yingyaipumi - Adobe Stock

Americans are moving less often than they used to, but that’s an average. There are jet-setters moving from city to city, sometimes every month, for their jobs. This can go on for years, if not almost their entire lives, and they’re stuck in limbo: Rental agreements are too long, and they never stay in one place long enough to own a home—so to the hotel it is. This demographic is large enough that it sparked Blueground, a startup with 3,000 fully-furnished properties available to rent month-to-month. The company is turning the traditional long-term lease on its head, giving companies the opportunity to save money by avoiding the high cost of housing employees in hotels and young professionals with uncertain futures a space to call their own. 

For years, life went something like this: We’d grow up in one place, head off to college, then find a city to live in for a few years at time to pursue a job or higher education. The end goal was to find somewhere to settle down for the long haul, buy a house, start a family, and begin the whole cycle all over again.

But a new model for living is emerging: Some people are increasingly opting to move from city to city throughout their entire lives, sometimes as frequently as every month.

Just ask Alex Chatzielefteriou, who has had a front-row seat watching this evolution unfold. Six years ago, he launched a startup called Blueground that rents out beautifully designed, fully furnished apartments for a month at a time, at rates that are cheaper than hotels. Today, the company has 3,000 properties in six U.S. cities, along with Dubai, Istanbul, London, Paris, and Chatzielefteriou’s native Athens, and a staff of 400. The company just landed $50 million in Series B funding, bringing its total investment to $78 million, to continue its rapid expansion. It hopes to have 50,000 properties in 50 cities over the next three years, and the goal is to make each one feel unique and cosy, rather than standardized, like what you might find in a traditional hotel.

Chatzielefteriou first came up with the idea for Blueground while he was working as a management consultant for McKinsey. “The accommodation of choice for consultants is the hotel,” he says. “I had to spend five years in a hotel room, living in 12 different cities. I loved seeing the world, but I didn’t love feeling like I didn’t have a home.”

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