One of the biggest problems faced by the blue-collared and grey-collared workforce is the non-availability of hygienic and safe living conditions. In a country where even white-collared workforces find it difficult to get decent accommodation at a reasonable cost, the plight of these blue-collared workforces is imaginable. However, one Hyderabad-based startup, Tikaana, is trying to change the living conditions of these unskilled labourers by providing them with affordable accommodation through its co-living spaces.
The startup is born out of the personal experience of the founders – Raghavendar Reddy Bojja, Karthik Boyapalli and Pruthvi Raj Reddy Konda. “Previously I was running an edtech company in Hyderabad and we ran it successfully for almost eight years. In 2018, one of our friends was looking to shift to Hyderabad and was looking for accommodation. We scouted around 25 PGs and Hostels, but could not find a suitable place for him. That is when it struck us to start a co-living space of our own,” says Bojja.
While initially the company was focused on luxury co-living spaces, over time they realised the need for clean and neat accommodation for the blue-collared and grey-collared workforce which includes security guards, nurses, delivery boys and drivers. In a span of one year, the company started leasing out properties and converting them into Tikaana homes which include hygienic living conditions, housekeeping facilities, food services and a few homes that also have recreational zones as well.
“We are a pure-play operations company and we lease properties for either one or three years. On the other end, we collaborate with companies that employ the blue-collared workers on a large scale and then provide them with our accommodation. Firms like Delhivery, ICICI Bank, SiS, Medicover Hospitals, Sodexo, Raxa (GMR Group), Terrier (Quess Group), DTSS etc., are our customers. We have also inked an agreement with Magus Infratech Pvt. Ltd. to operate 3,000 beds in Textile Park in Bhiwandi, Mumbai, with plans to scale up to 6,000 beds in the next 30 days,” Bojja said, who completed his MBA from IIM-Kozhikode and hails from the erstwhile Nalgonda district.
During the 2nd wave, Tikaana provided free vaccination to hundreds of migrant workers, and also offered free food and accommodation, so that they could wait out the pandemic, without leaving the city. The company is currently operational in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Vizag, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar Chennai, Guwahati and Delhi and is set to expand across 20 cities and 25,000 beds by the end of 2021.