Co-living platform Abuzz acquires Kalaari and Oxfordcaps
Altruist Technologies, which runs co-living platform Abuzz has acquired Kalaari Capital and Times Internet-backed Oxfordcaps in a fire sale.
Oxfordcaps had started downscaling its operations a few months after the onset of the pandemic due to severe financial difficulty.
“It had taken every measure to cut costs including a mass layoff and even rang the emergency bell to investors for a bridge round. However, none of the existing backers came forward to its rescue,” said one of the sources urging not to be disclosed.
The pressure was also reflected in the company’s filings as it showed that it had failed in making three debenture repayments during the fiscal ended in March 2020.
“Since the follow-on funding was unseen and the financial condition had deteriorated further, Oxfordcaps’ management had started looking for opportunities to consolidate from November,” said the second source who also requested anonymity.
The sources revealed that the company was in the market for a merger and acquisition deal, however, major players in the co-living segment were not interested.
“By early January, the management had initiated talks with Abuzz, and later the deal was finalized,” said the person quoted in the beginning. “The deal is a distress sale and investors would hardly recover anything out of it.”
The acquisition process that commenced in February is still ongoing and filings reveal that Oxfordcaps has appointed Lalit Kumar, a representative of Altruist Technologies, to its board of directors.
Post the acquisition, Oxfordcaps’ branding has been changed across its social media accounts too. The company now bears the ‘Abuzz’ branding as a prefix and is now known as ‘Abuzz Oxfordcaps’.
Priyanka Gera, one of the two co-founders, had departed from the firm in March according to her LinkedIn profile. The sources said that Annu Talreja, the other co-founder, is also set to resign. To make way for Talreja’s exit, Oxfordcaps had bought out her share in its Singapore-based subsidiary in May last year.
“Oxfordcaps exists and will continue as an independent entity focussed on students. Abuzz is in the broader segment of bachelor accommodation. The entities remain separate but there will be sharing of properties as well as the overlap of teams,” Aggarwal said.
Established in 2017, Oxfordcaps has raised more than $8 million including a Series A round from Kalaari Capital, Times Internet, and 500 Startups. Its seed round was sourced from 500 Startups, ReadyVentures, and a clutch of angels.
The pandemic has severely impacted businesses in the co-living space forcing many to shut down. But I believe Abuzz will emerge stronger as things start getting back to normal. My best wishes to the team of Abuzz.Shishir Gupta, Founder and CEO, StartupLanes
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