For years, life went something like this: We’d grow up in one place, head off to college, then find a city to live in for a few years at time to pursue a job or higher education. The end goal was to find somewhere to settle down for the long haul, buy a house, start a family, and begin the whole cycle all over again.
But a new model for living is emerging: Some people are increasingly opting to move from city to city throughout their entire lives, sometimes as frequently as every month.
Just ask Alex Chatzielefteriou, who has had a front-row seat watching this evolution unfold.
Six years ago, he launched a startup called Blueground that rents out beautifully designed, fully furnished apartments for a month at a time, at rates that are cheaper than hotels.
Today, the company has 3,000 properties in six U.S. cities, along with Dubai, Istanbul, London, Paris, and Chatzielefteriou’s native Athens, and a staff of 400.
The company just landed $50 million in Series B funding, bringing its total investment to $78 million, to continue its rapid expansion. It hopes to have 50,000 properties in 50 cities over the next three years, and the goal is to make each one feel unique and cosy, rather than standardized, like what you might find in a traditional hotel.
Chatzielefteriou first came up with the idea for Blueground while he was working as a management consultant for McKinsey. “The accommodation of choice for consultants is the hotel,” he says. “I had to spend five years in a hotel room, living in 12 different cities. I loved seeing the world, but I didn’t love feeling like I didn’t have a home.”
As he spoke to his friends and coworkers, he realized that many people were frustrated with this itinerant lifestyle that meant living out of a suitcase in the same few nondescript hotel chains that all began to blend together.
And what’s more, hotels aren’t a particularly cost-effective solution for companies either. In Chatzielefteriou’s case, McKinsey sometimes paid $10,000 or more for him to stay in a major city for a month, which was far more expensive than local rents.