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Celeb-backed startup Landis pulls in $165M of debt and equity

The homeownership driven fintech has now raised a total of $185 million since 2018

A fintech startup backed by movie star Will Smith has hauled in $165 million in debt and equity financing.

Sequoia Capital led the Series A round for Landis Technologies, which aims to help renters become homeowners. Other investors include Smith’s Dreamers VC fund, Roc Nation investment arm Arrive and Signia Venture Partners.

The $165 million round, announced July 27, brings Landis’ fundraising total to $182 million since Cyril Berdugo and Tom Petit founded the New York City-based company in 2018.

“Landis is an innovative company that also has a social mission we are aligned with,” Smith said in a Landis news release. “We are excited to be part of a journey that helps Americans achieve homeownership through financial education.”

Roelof Botha, a partner at Sequoia, said Landis opens up homeownership opportunities by focusing on financial literacy and individualized coaching.

“Landis’ typical client is a prospective homeowner who is unable to get a mortgage due to credit, down payment savings or debt. Although they may not be mortgage-ready yet, Landis’ dynamic underwriting technology can determine whether the client might qualify for a mortgage in the next 12 to 24 months,” the company said.

If Landis’ technology determines a mortgage qualification could come within the 12- to 24-month period, the company will give the customer a budget for a home, which Landis then moves. Next, the customer moves into the home as a renter and a Landis coach works with them to become mortgage-ready. Once the customer reaches the mortgage state, they buy the house from Landis and switch from paying rent to paying a mortgage.

“We understand that people can fall on tough times, but no one should be locked out of homeownership forever. Whatever their situation, we give our clients easy, achievable steps to become eligible for a mortgage,” Petit said. “Getting ready for a mortgage is often a stressful and difficult process. Landis makes it easy, fun and approachable.”

In conjunction with the funding announcement, the company said its homeownership coaching app is now available at no charge to iPhone users.

“What makes Landis unique is our ability to coach anyone to homeownership. This new funding will allow us to help more Americans on their path to homeownership by expanding to new states, hiring talent nationwide and providing a better experience to our clients and partner agents and lenders,” Berdugo said.

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