Aarusha's successful pitch is that its hostels are safer than slums or informal “guest houses”, especially for women.
It now has 4,300 beds in 1,300 rooms spread out over 20 hostels in four cities.
The typical tenant stays for six months.
Satyanarayana Vejella, the firm's co-founder, plans to raise another $10m to increase capacity by 12,000 beds in nearly 70 new hostels, all in the next two years.
Operating-profit margins are in the mid-teens.
The chain's backers include investment funds who seek social as well as financial returns.
The latter would be improved if the chain dodged taxes by operating in the informal economy, like much of its competition, but it sticks to the formal side.
The problems it faces are those confronted by any Hilton or Hyatt: finding properties big enough to offer over 100 beds is hard.
Tenants have to be chased for payments.
An attempt to cater to blue-collar workers at an even lower price didn't work out.
So Aarusha is reliant on the IT and outsourcing sectors, which are hiring less eagerly than before.
Aarusha can probably depend on continuing strong demand for a room from which to make sense of it all before people can get their own places.
The hostels have something of a communal feel, and parents find them reassuring because residents put up with not being able to drink, smoke, or mingle with the opposite sex.
Soon enough, they will have moved on, taking their aspirations and their posters with them.