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Starcity Acquires Another Co-Living Startup

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Co-living startup Starcity said Thursday that it’s acquiring another co-living company, Ollie.

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Starcity CEO Jon Dishotsky said he met Ollie co-founder Chris Bledsoe on a panel several years ago and has long admired the Ollie brand, so kept the company on his radar as Starcity and Ollie each expanded. 

Ollie went through a leadership transition toward the end of last year and experienced a lot of the same challenges others in the real estate world were going through during the pandemic, Dishotsky said. Starcity entered serious talks with Ollie over the summer.

Starcity was a West Coast and Western Europe-focused company, whereas Ollie had a presence on the East Coast. The acquisition gave Starcity the opportunity to expand its footprint.

“We’d made some inroads on the East Coast and this really was a chance for us to accelerate  that growth,” Dishotsky said. 

Starcity did not disclose the price of the acquisition, which was an all-stock deal.

Ten Ollie employees, which Dishotsky said is the majority of the company, will join Starcity. The employees are a combination of leadership, development, operations, engineers and onsite management staff. 

With the acquisition also comes Ollie’s proprietary technology stack, which includes a property management system, leasing system and a roommate matching platform.

“Over time the properties will transition to the Starcity brand and we’re spending the next couple of months doing the conversion, working with all of our partners to make sure that that happens,” Dishotsky said. “It’s not like a rip the Band-Aid kind of thing, we want to make sure it’s done thoughtfully and that the resident experience doesn’t change and is only improved.”

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, co-living startups have continued to raise venture capital. Starcity raised a $30 million Series B round in April, and Common Living, another co-living startup, raised a $50 million Series D round in September.

Ollie has about 12 properties in operation and development now, and with the acquisition Starcity will operate more than 1,500 units around the world, with 3,000 units in development and in the pipeline. 

Starcity operates in cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, and plans to launch in cities including Chicago, Boston and Madrid in the future.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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