French social impact startup Colette has today announced securing its first funding round of €1 million, which it will use to grow its co-living solution for students and lonely seniors across Paris, then France and eventually in other European cities.
Founded in 2019, Colette is helping young people to move in with seniors who have a free room at home. The startup is helping, on the one hand, to facilitate access to housing for young people, and on the other, fight loneliness experienced by seniors.
In Paris, where the startup has launched, the figures speak for themselves. Almost 20% of students drop out of their studies each year because they cannot afford the cost, with rent representing 30% of a student’s monthly expenses. Regarding seniors, 92,000 Parisian seniors aged 65 and over, living alone, have a free room at their home, and nearly 30% of seniors say they suffer from loneliness on a daily basis.
With these fresh funds, the startup now wants to solve this double problem and prove the attractiveness of its value proposition in Paris and the entire ‘Ile de France’ before expanding to other cities nationally and internationally.
In 3 months, Colette has already managed to list 100 rooms in Paris, and to create dozens of pairs of cohabitants, thanks to a unique value proposition: the club. To join the Colette club, on the youth side, you have to have a video-conference interview with the Colette team, and for the ‘less young’, the Colette team travels to their home to meet each host personally and create a strong relationship of trust.
Over the next 12 months, Colette aims to list more than 1000 rooms for rent, and multiply by 10 the number of pairs created each month.
Matthew Vaxelaire, co-founder and CEO of Colette said:“Today we have validated several key points: we know recruiting hosts who offer their free rooms on Colette, we know meet the demand of young people who seek room, we know how to create the best pairs of cohabitants. But the most important thing is that the Colette solution really appeals: we have a satisfaction score of 9/10 with the pairs of cohabitants that we created in 3 months.” (quote translated from French)
Colette can now count on the support of investors committed to intergenerational solidarity, such as Thibaud Elziere (founder of Fotolia and startup studio EFounders), Roxanne Varza, (Director of StationF), Michaël Benabou (co-founder of Veepee), or Andrew Robb (co-founder of Farfetch) and Rachel Delacour (co-founder of Sweep and ex-president of France Digitale), to name a few.
Thibaud Elziere said:“Colette is tackling a global problem that affects everyone. On the one hand, they facilitate the access of young people to housing; on the other, they allow seniors to live longer at home, and in the best conditions. It’s 100% virtuous, and that’s what touched me. I am convinced that as an investor, it is our duty to promote the positive impact that a company can have on society, and therefore encourage projects that are part of this #TechForGood movement. The Colette team is today the best to tackle this problem and make intergenerational cohabitation a democratized practice, and even a new way of life.” (quote translated from French)
This first fundraiser for the startup sends a strong signal that intergenerational solidarity is more important than ever. And today, entrepreneurs and investors, hand in hand, are mobilized to encourage it.