They help you find a house anywhere
HousingAnywhere fits into the list of inventions such as the paperclip and the hole-punch. It has originated from a personal experience. You don’t think about it until you need it.
It was 2009 when founder Niels van Deuren was still a student at the Rotterdam School of Management and wanted to go to Singapore for an exchange. He had one problem. Nobody wanted to rent his room for a semester. So Niels set up a platform especially for students who temporarily wanted to rent a room or were in need of it. Nine years later HousingAnywhere is the leading student accommodation platform for mid-term rentals and active in 62 countries. The little student room of Niels has been exchanged for an office with 90 colleagues of 30 different nationalities.
Rotterdam plays a major role in the success of this online platform. Founder Niels: 'As a startup you have to pay close attention to the pennies. Rotterdam is an affordable city for office and housing. It has been possible for us to rent offices at central locations in the city. And it is also nice for our staff. They can find an affordable home near their work. The city also really helps entrepreneurs who know what they want and are ready to make it happen. The low prices combined with the entrepreneurial mindset of the city and the business community already present make it a great home for any company.'
As a startup you have to pay close attention to the pennies
Niels van Deuren, founder Housing Anywhere
Perfect for international students and expats
‘When we started in 2009 there was and still is in cities like Utrecht or Amsterdam, a striking lack of rooms. Rotterdam, however, has an interesting housing dynamic. Especially when we started, the supply and demand of student rooms was slightly out of balance. In the popular neighborhoods there was a slight shortage while in other neighborhoods there were a lot of vacant rooms. HousingAnywhere was able to put the available rooms on the platform. This was perfect for international students, who studied here in Rotterdam in large numbers. Another big advantage of Rotterdam is its location. It’s close to Netherlands’ most important airport (only 25 minutes by train) and it’s easy to go to Belgium and France by train which is really important to expats who travel a lot, being another important target audience for us.’
Doing business with Germany
HousingAnywhere has Rotterdam as its base, but the company is experiencing fast growth in Berlin. Niels ‘Airbnb is also big in Berlin but it focuses more on tourists and short stay. Our focus is room and apartment rental for the period of one to twelve months. In the beginning, we did not grow as fast as we wanted in Germany. This was because we did not have a native German-speaking employee in Rotterdam. For Germans, a relationship is very important. Now, we have a German team in Rotterdam and it’s fantastic. To be honest, I should have listened more often to the advice of others about international entrepreneurship. Really, if you want to succeed in Germany, you have to prepare. It’s a different country with a different culture.’ It is obvious it won’t take long before Berlin becomes the city with the most rentals. But how big the business in Germany may be, Rotterdam will always be the home of HousingAnywhere.
Thinking about going abroad?
Don’t start from scratch. In Rotterdam you find plenty of companies with experience on this topic. Different organizations can help you find your way. Get in touch with our team, we’re happy to help!