Belgium’s Cohabs is capitalizing on the vibrant European co-living sector, deploying a mix of equity and debt for its eye-catching growth plans. Cohabs is announcing a major round of €110 million and aims to reach 5,000 bedrooms for co-living rentals and real estate over the next four years. Cohabs is blending equity and debt for this raise, taking a €40 million loan, which can then be converted into shares, and the remaining €70 million as standard capital funding. The startup also states that it can now count on further cash injections as long as things go according to plan.
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Cohabs Accelerates Growth
By mid-2024, Cohabs says, investors will inject a further €250 million (with the same equity/debt sharing) if the current business plan is achieved. Cohabitation is a growing trend in Europe, especially in its most famous locations. Figures published by JLL, a real estate services company, reveal that 24 major cities account for roughly a quarter of Europe’s co-living market value. And 40% of this is attributed to just two places, London and Amsterdam.
Unlike traditional rental housing, communal living is designed from the ground up to foster a sense of community. Here, residents (often young professionals who have not met before moving in) enjoy shared communal spaces such as gyms and games. They also have lounges and extended gathering spaces. Cohabs’ business plan calls for co-living spaces to be available for viewing in 11 cities by the end of 2026. Founding CEO Youri Dauber says this latest expansion will provide “the structure and resources to make it happen”.
Cohabs currently markets 49 co-living apartments in Brussels. But it is now expanding to several other countries, with 10 co-living spaces in New York City and accommodation in Paris, Madrid and Luxembourg. In total, 1,550 bedrooms are currently owned and operated by Cohabs. In securing the €110 million round, Cohabs is identifying two new real estate-focused participants. Canadian real estate investor Ivanhoé Cambridge is providing funding, as is the real estate arm of the Belgian State Fund. Belfus Insurance, a subsidiary of Belgian banking and insurance giant Belfius, is filling the round. Existing shareholders AG Real Estate and Alphastone are also mentioned in the fund.