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Startup Ollie Seeks To Raise $50M As Co-Living Concept Catches On

Co-living specialist Ollie is seeking more than $50M in a new round of funding as the race for more co-living space nationwide commences.

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The company has been in talks with a number of potential capital sources, including student housing operator EdR, The Real Deal reports, citing anonymous sources. EdR was acquired this year by Greystar.

The funding would come on top of a $15M in Series A funding round Ollie completed early this year led by Aviva Investors Real Estate Capital Global Co-Investment Fund, in partnership with the Employees Retirement System of Texas.

Co-living as a real estate play has been gestating for some years. For instance, it took Ollie's founders — brothers Christopher and Andrew Bledsoe — three years to find an interested developer. Now the concept has legs:

Co-living is not an exclusive American phenomenon. German coworking and co-living space provider Rent24 acquired a majority stake in The Brew, a London shared office space operator, and plans to open 45 new locations in the U.K. and Ireland over the next two years.

Besides Ollie's Series A funding, other coworking startups have obtained funding. Starcity recently secured funding from crowdfunding platform EquityMultiple for its latest co-living location in San Francisco, and Common and Bungalow have raised more than $60M and $14M, respectively. 

Like other players in the coworking market, Ollie uses small space design techniques to reduce entry-level price points for Class-A apartments. Currently the company has locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Jersey City, Boston, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.

The co-living concept — not long ago characterized as dorms for adults — typically includes WiFi, hotel-style services, convertible furniture and community spaces. For its part, Ollie also offers housekeeping, premium TV programming and regular community events.