1. Startups

Getting to Know Flokq and Its Optimism as a Co-Living Startup Operator

Newly operating in Jakarta, managing hundreds of apartment units

The demand for boarding houses in Indonesia is high, but has not been touched by the technology and solutions needed by its users. Flokq as a new player in this industry is here not only to offer boarding solutions, but also co-living segmented for professionals.

Flokq was founded by Anand Janardhanan and Harmeet Singh in August 2019. The startup has managed hundreds of room units spread across various locations in Jakarta's central business district, such as Mega Kuningan, Senayan, Rasuna Said, Sudirman, Semanggi, and others.

In an interview with a number of media last week, Flokq Co-Founder & CEO Anand Janardhanan explained that Flokq provides solutions for those who want upgradee boarding house than before or looking for an apartment at a more affordable price.

The company specifically targets professionals as users, incidentally most of the residents are expatriates and young entrepreneurs who still want to build networks and connect with residents co-living others in the places they inhabit in a community.

"The main strength of Flokq is the community, we have an application that is specifically designed to connect residents who have the same interest in a particular hobby or specialization," he explained.

In one apartment building, usually Flokq manages a number of rooms on several floors from the management side, ranging from five to 20 units. Each apartment unit that is rented ideally consists of three private bedrooms for each tenant which is complete with furniture and a living room that can be used together.

Anand explained that Flokq rents out each room unit from IDR 2,7 million to IDR 20 million per month, with a minimum rental contract of three months without a down payment scheme. This pricing will depend on the location. The monthly rental fee includes electricity, cleaning services, laundry, WiFi, and other facilities such as gym area, swimming pool, 24-hour service, and free parking.

The impact of the pandemic on business

He claimed that the implementation of the PSBB and other tightening measures to reduce the spread of the pandemic did not significantly impact Flokq's business decline. It was recorded that there were 26 residents who were citizens outside Indonesia who rented rooms through Flokq.

In order to reduce the spread of the pandemic, the Flokq team made a number of rules that were enforced in each residence. Some of them are the frequency of cleaning services so once a week, being prohibited from visiting other units, and eliminating weekly events.

“So the situation has not changed much for the occupancy, although some are leaving but some are coming in. However, we made new rules in order to prevent this, there is a monitoring system to make sure every tenant is in their respective units.”

On the other hand, the company is proud that the concept co-living like this the future will be much brighter due to the higher level of demand than co-working space after the pandemic is over.

Flokq Advisor Akash Mulani explains the concept co-living in the future will be closely related to the conditions of society and the economy affected by Covid-19. Self-isolation activities carried out by many people, will reduce human interaction and reduce the quality of mental health.

"With co-living, people get a chance to keep it stable while staying indoors. The WFH policy that has become common, people need space for themselves to work, reliable friends because of similar interests and backgrounds, or of course space with low rental costs," he said.

For this optimism, his party is working on the concept of merging co-living and co-working in the same building. “This is a new concept that we have been exploring in recent years. We plan to launch it in the next 12 or 24 months.”

Flokq's next plan

Anand explained that next year the company will still focus on managing apartments in Jakarta. It is targeted that the number can reach 3 thousand rooms that can accommodate 10 thousand residents. Next, the new company will expand to other potential cities such as Surabaya, Bandung, and Medan.

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To help expand, the company has already pocketed pre-series A funding earlier this year. It's just that the nominal and investors are kept secret. “The investors are from business families real estate market. It is possible that by the end of this year there will be additional funding.”

The company's monetization, he continued, is taken from commissions paid by tenants. The percentage is around 8%-10% depending on the agreement with the building management. As for the Flokq team, there are currently 35 people.

For room rental, Flokq has not provided the application. All orders are processed through the site as the main gateway, then WhatsApp for discussion with the admin for further discussion.

Other players in the realm co-living operating in Indonesia are Coliving Space by CoHive, YukStay, Wellspaces, Rukita, RedDoorz, Cocohub, and others.

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