Chototel is derived from the words “chotu,” meaning small in Hindi, and “hotel.” The London head-quartered business has been established to provide dignified housing solutions for the global accommodation crisis.
Chototel was founded by Rhea Silva, who is a third generation social entrepreneur with experience in building affordable housing and hotels. The idea to disrupt the housing market has attracted strong support, and Rhea has been joined by Chris Phillips, who has enjoyed a successful city career chairing a number of companies listed in the United Kingdom and Germany and has been appointed Non-Executive Chairman. He is currently the Chairman of Places for People, one of the largest property and leisure management, development, and regeneration companies in the UK, which owns or manages over 143,000 homes with assets in excess of £3 billion.
To give global context to the housing crisis – access to decent, affordable shelter is embedded in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and yet, according to a 2014 McKinsey Global Institute report, it is still estimated that 440 million households or 1.6 billion people (a third of the urban population) will occupy crowded, inadequate and unsafe housing by 2025.
Founder and Managing Director Rhea Silva comments: “In light of this social issue, we have developed an innovative and scalable business model, aimed at disrupting the current housing market. Once the initial proof of concept and financial model has been validated in India, we hope to tackle issues generated by the global accommodation crisis by rolling the concept out to other countries affected, including the UK.”
The concept seeks to offer accommodation starting from just US$2 per night and to use technology to provide residents with the services they need – paying only for what they consume. The US$2 rent can be potentially shared by up to four residents. Electricity, water and gas will be charged on a consumption basis, which will discourage wastage. The cost of utilities per room is not expected to exceed US$0.50 per day, as the equipment in each room has been optimally sized to maximise efficiency.
Investors who wish to share in the founder’s vision will have the opportunity to invest in the first two projects located in India, as in the coming weeks Chototel intends to seek admission to trading on the Social Stock Exchange segment of London’s ISDX Growth Market of Chototel Cell A IC Limited (“the Cell Company”). The Cell Company intends to raise US$ 5 million via a subscription for shares to invest in the first two projects.
Chris Phillips, Non-Executive Chairman of Chototel commented: “The Cell Company intends to generate appropriate returns for its stakeholders, whilst at the same time delivering demonstrable economic, social and environmental impact in the areas where it operates. As an important member of the impact investor community we understand that profit and good can go hand in hand and we look forward to social impact investors participating in our vision.”
Tomas Carruthers, CEO of the Social Stock Exchange added: “All our members must demonstrate that they have the drive to deliver a social or environmental impact at the heart of their business. Chototel delivers on both these counts and we wholeheartedly support their vision to create affordable housing solutions – wherever they are needed.”