Singapore-based startup Hmlet was born out of a desire for accommodation that is flexible and comfortable.
In an interview with Vulcan Post, Yoan Kamalski, CEO and founder of Hmlet, said that the startup focused on a central model for renting buildings in the first few years of operation.
The roommate owned, renovated and operated properties directly.
In just five years of operation, the startup has expanded to more than 100 locations in Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand.
Hmlet offers customers short-term stays in the Hmlet boutique hotels from six nights or longer-term stays in Hmlet-listed or original hotels, usually with a minimum stay of three months.
Hmlet Chay Yan Street / Photo credit: Hmlet
According to the Hmlet website, prices range from S $ 1,000 per month for a pocket room – Hmlet's most economical – on Upper Circular Road to S $ 5,990 per month for a two-bedroom apartment in One North.
The attraction of these cohabiting spaces lies in their communities, as Hmlet's original homes were "custom built to enhance conversation and connection."
Residents are also invited to exclusive community events, from yoga classes to cooking classes.
Hmlet Community Event / Photo credits: Hmlet via Facebook
However, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has led to increased lockdowns and safe distancing measures. Coexistence thus becomes a safety concern.
While this has proven to be a challenge for Hmlet, Yoan is more inclined to focus on the opportunities Covid-19 presents.
The 30-year-old announced that the pandemic had accelerated digitization and that the start-up for a real estate and lifestyle platform “could not have come at a better time”.
Development into a universal real estate and lifestyle platform
Hmlet recently launched a general purpose platform that offers features such as online transactions, virtual ads, and walkthroughs for YouTube.
At the beginning of June, the startup invested in real estate listing technology to create more asset light.
Instead of renting and renovating properties, landlords can now list their properties on Hmlet Listed. This automates many routine tasks and adds features like 3D photography virtual reality tours.
Image credit: Hmlet
The startup has also launched Hmlet Furniture, a furniture subscription service that offers over 100 rental items and the ability to return, exchange, or buy the furniture.
Another innovation, Hmlet Interiors, is an online interior design service that offers a variety of packages ranging from pocket-friendly to full-service, custom-made designs.
The introduction of Hmlet Listed also helps developers reach end users directly, providing an opportunity for a whole range of services including digitized and seamless display of real estate.
Image credit: Hmlet
These developments come at a time when higher expectations are now being placed on real estate to accommodate work needs while maintaining a balance between leisure and work.
It has always been a dream to build an ecosystem of services and provide the end user with a central marketplace where they can purchase on-demand products and services such as design, furniture and housing.
– Yoan Kamalski, CEO and co-founder of Hmlet
He added that Hmlet is designing its new properties with this in mind and offering consumers greater customization options through its new platforms.
By using digitization, data and analysis, they want to better understand what members want and improve their offers accordingly.
Expansion to Malaysia and Thailand
Hmlet was recently named one of the top 10 Singapore startups by LinkedIn that have remained stable during this pandemic as it continues to attract investment, people and attention.
In July, Hmlet raised $ 40 million ($ 54.8 million) in a Series B round.
In a media statement, the startup said it would use the funds to grow across gateway cities in Asia.
As part of its new direction this year, Hmlet is expanding its services to Malaysia and Thailand.
According to Yoan, the startup has seen an influx of property developers, operators and owners in Thailand and Malaysia interested in partnering with Hmlet.
"The aim of the new Hmlet product lines is to change the way people live for the better. That is why we are constantly looking for ways to innovate and redefine our offerings in order to add value to our members, landlords and partners to offer, "said Yoan.
Selected image source: Lifestyle Asia and Hmlet