Jay-Z and Will Smith are among a list of investors involved in a startup that helps renters build credit until they can buy a home.
Landis Technologies is raising $165 million from a group of investors that include Sequoia Capital, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, and Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, Bloomberg reports. Founded by Cyril Berdugo and Tom Petit, the startup models its service on a rent-to-own strategy for would-be homeowners who can’t afford to buy.
The company’s investment comes at a time when working-class Americans are struggling to acquire homeownership amid soaring prices. Landis purchases a home and rents it out to the future homeowner until they can qualify for a mortgage.
“Landis helps families take their very first steps toward homeownership,” Roelof Botha, partner at Sequoia, said in a statement.
“By focusing on financial literacy and individualized coaching, we are giving everyone the opportunity to own their home. Landis’ technology is particularly relevant to those with low-to-moderate income who have been neglected by traditional financial solutions.”
The company has used referrals from real estate agents and mortgage lenders to work with prospective homeowners who are typically unqualified for a mortgage due to poor credit, lack of down payment savings, or debt.
In addition to helping renters become homeowners, Landis offers financial coaching for clients to help improve their credit and get lower down payments.
“Financial inclusion is really important to us,” Berdugo said. “An aspect of Landis that we’re very proud to be a part of is wealth creation for low-income Americans.”
The company currently operates in 11 states including Alabama, Kentucky, and South Carolina. Now, to continue with its mission, Landis secured $165 million from debt and Series A equity funding, TechCrunch reports.
In addition to the investments from Jay-Z and Will Smith, a group of founders also invested in Landis, including leaders at Cash App, Ethos, Instacart, and Tango. This latest round of funding brings the startup’s total debt and equity raised to $182 million.