Singapore’s Hmlet expands to Japan in JV with investor Mitsubishi Estate

Photo: Hmlet

Singapore-based co-living startup Hmlet on Tuesday announced that it has expanded its presence to Japan through a joint venture partnership with investor Mitsubishi Estate Co (MEC).

Both partners will make a combined investment of $25 million for the expansion plans over the next three years, according to a statement.

Japan will be the fourth market for Hmlet after it set up a presence in Singapore, Hong Kong and Sydney. Hmlet plans to have over 10,000 rooms across Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya in the coming years.

Its first Japan property, Hmlet Shibuya Shoto, will launch in Shibuya mid-October.

The purpose-built co-living building features a range of studio and duplex configurations, as well as a communal rooftop where members can connect, network, relax and attend specially-curated community events.

MEC, one of the largest real-estate developers in Japan, is also an investor in Hmlet’s latest Series B funding round. As part of the partnership, MEC will manage the sourcing of properties while Hmlet will oversee all aspects of design and community management.

“We have expanded to Japan due to Hmlet’s potential to bridge the gap for flexible, affordable and secure accommodation amidst rising rental costs. The traditional model of stacking agency fees, advance rental payments and language barriers have been stressful complexities that have not yet evolved to meet the needs of modern residents. Hmlet can provide a much-needed solution in Japan by offering hassle-free, custom-designed homes coupled with a sense of belonging and community,” said Yoan Kamalski, CEO of Hmlet.

In July, Hmlet announced raising $40 million in a Series B funding round led by Burda Principal Investments. It was also backed by existing investor Sequoia India and new investors Mitsubishi Real Estate and Australian venture capital firm Reinventure.

Hmlet’s last capital raise was a $6.5-million Series A round led by Sequoia Capital India in November last year. Prior to that, it had secured a $1.5-million seed round led by Aurum Investments in 2017, which was joined by a number of angel investors including Huang Shao Ning, co-founder of Singapore-based jobs search site JobsCentral.

Founded in 2016 by Yoan Kamalski and Zenos Schmickrath, Hmlet runs co-living spaces where young working professionals can rent rooms or apartments on a month-by-month basis with a minimum commitment of three months. It claims to differentiate itself through proprietary technology that helps match flatmates.

With more than 93 locations across Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney, and Tokyo, Hmlet is on the way to operate more than 2,400 rooms by the end of 2019.