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Zolostays: competing in Indian co-living space

Surajit Ghosh Dastidar (Department of Analytics and IT, Institute of Management Technology, Hyderabad, India)
Nitin Gupta (Department of Marketing, Institute of Management Technology, Hyderabad, India)
Damini Raichandani (PGDM, Institute of Management Technology, Hyderabad, India)

Publication date: 19 May 2021


Learning outcomes

The key learning objectives are mentioned as follows: to understand the attractiveness of the co-living sector using Michael Porter’s five forces model; to do competitive analysis of ZOLO by understanding its objectives, strengths and weaknesses; to understand various competitive strategies which ZOLO’s competitors could apply against it; and to understand application of various defense strategies, which ZOLO would follow to retain its market leader position.

Case overview/synopsis

ZoloStays (ZOLO) was an Indian real-tech start-up based in Bengaluru. It was in the business of co-living, i.e. providing affordable accommodation for students and young professionals who had to leave their home and temporarily settle in other cities in search for jobs or education. ZOLO had grown 300% and had served over 50,000 customers across 10 Indian cities, since its inception in 2015. It had claimed to be the largest co-living brand in India in FY 2019. Nikhil Sikri (Sikri), who was a Co-founder of ZOLO, had big plans of expanding the firm to a million beds in 5 years. However, increasing awareness of a huge untapped market in the co-living sector had led to entry of a flurry of competitors. Notable among them were Nestaway, Colive, StayAbode, CoHo and OYO Life. Facing such intense competition Sikri had the challenge to be able to sustain his company’s early momentum. How would he retain ZOLO’s market leadership position? What would be the best strategy to achieve further growth? Should ZOLO diversify into allied services or apply a more focused strategy? Sikri was facing all these challenging questions and had to quickly address them to continue to lead in this competitive race.

Complexity/academic level

The case can be taught in advanced undergraduate, MBA or executive-level programs dealing with marketing. This case study helps students in dealing with issues pertaining to a given market sector where a firm is operating, the strategies that could be used by the competitors and application of competitive strategies which the firm can apply.

Supplementary materials

Teaching Notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS 8: Marketing



Disclaimer. This case is written solely for educational purposes and is not intended to represent successful or unsuccessful managerial decision-making. The authors may have disguised names; financial and other recognizable information to protect confidentiality.


Ghosh Dastidar, S., Gupta, N. and Raichandani, D. (2021), "Zolostays: competing in Indian co-living space", , Vol. 11 No. 1.



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