Founded in 2016, Singapore-based co-living start‐up Hmlet has grown from a single apartment to over 1,500 rooms in Singapore, Hong Kong and Sydney. That number, co‐founder Yoan Kamalski shares, is set to hit 2,400 by the end of the year. The company raised US$40 million in funding in July, and plans to expand in its existing markets as well as foray into Tokyo, Melbourne and Brisbane.
More than just providing people with an affordable roof over their heads, however, Kamalski says Hmlet is about giving power back to tenants. “Let’s say you’re currently renting a place and your company decides to send you overseas. Your landlord will probably not allow you to break your one- or two-year lease. For us, though, all we need is thirty days’ notice.”
Hmlet works with both landlords and tenants, using data to match people to the right spaces, whether they’re looking for like‐minded flatmates or after a private apartment in a historic neighbourhood. Kamalski shares that when Hmlet started three years ago, they first needed to change people’s views about shared housing. “For tenants, the perception was that you had no money or no choice,” he explains. “We also had to convince landlords that we weren’t bringing illegal people into their spaces or sub‐dividing their apartments to house more people.”
Though Hmlet is currently focusing on building co‐living spaces for millennials and establishing a presence in 10 of the biggest first-tier cities in Asia-Pacific, a future goal is to expand its social experiences to include families and empty‐nesters too. “I want people to realise that for all our perceived differences, we’re all inhabiting the same planet,”
says Kamalski. “We can all work together so everyone can lead more fulfilling lives.”
Kamalski is wearing a shirt by Mr. P, and shorts by Brunello Cucinelli, all at MR PORTER