How Caspar Lee Went From YouTuber To Student Accommodation Developer
It was a blisteringly hot day in Cape Town and I was just getting ready for a NYE party with my friends who came over from England to visit my home country. Joe Sugg, Conor and Jack Maynard, Oli White, Josh Pieters and I were all staying in a house together. It was non stop fun and we had our local friend Benji Schaffer to thank. He’s an unbelievably organised person who knows absolutely everything and everyone in Cape Town. I remember him coming up to me and telling me that he had an investment opportunity that I should take a look at. I had just co-founded my company Influencer.com and was always interested in talking about opportunities. He told me about the student accommodation market in Cape Town and how he had found the perfect place to develop a brand new apartment block across the street from AFDA and 5 minutes from the University of Cape Town. I was sold.
It took a few months to finalise the deal. During that time we decided that if we were going to do this project, we should do so to do more going forward. I loved the idea of investing in South Africa and creating over 90 rooms for students and young professionals in Cape Town which has a shortage of decent accommodation for young people but I knew that if we wanted to make a proper difference in the market and provide something that would force the other players within it to improve their offering, we were going to need to turn this single development into a startup that could disrupt things.
That’s why we created Proper Living, to allow us to build multiple developments in different locations around South Africa and hopefully one day the world and bring them under one umbrella with certain requirements to make sure our high standards can be met. For example, we know how important solid security, high-speed WiFi and community are for young people looking for somewhere new to live. Which is why we make them standard and expected within all Proper Living properties. There’s also a level of style and sophistication that our design team maintain.
Our first development “6 On Nansen” is opening on the 1st of February 2021. We’re so overwhelmed with the amount of interest. We still have 6 months to go and have already received over 230 applications. I started my career as a YouTuber and never in a million years did I think I'd be developing an apartment block in my favourite city, Cape Town. I grew up in a smallish town, 5 hours away from the spot and dreamt that one day I'd study at the University of Cape Town and live out my student dreams in this cool neighbourhood. Being a YouTuber has taught me a lot about working with others to create new things. Without collaboration, I would never have achieved any level of success.
I’ve taken that sentiment into everything else I do outside of YouTube and make sure to always work with and learn from the best in the business. That’s why and how we’ve been able to build such a wonderful product here at Proper Living and I’m hoping my knowledge about social media will help us to spread the word and truly disrupt student and young professional accommodation.