Belong, a rental property marketplace and management solution, today announced raising $50 million in equity and securing $30 million in debt funding led by Fifth Wall, according to TechCrunch.
The company says it will use the funding to expand its offerings and enter new markets, with plans to increase hiring and add focus on product development.
Belong provides a three-sided marketplace that provides services for homeowner landlords and renters. For homeowners it provides home management services which it says makes owning a rental home easier, including an in-house maintenance team and financial tools to manage investments. These tools include guaranteed rent tools and property fixes to help owners get units ready to rent.
The startup also provides tools to help renters turn into homeowners, giving residents 3% of their rent payment back to an account that can be used as a down payment for a home purchase. This is similar to another proptech startup, Gravy, which recently launched with a $2.6 million seed round and offers loyalty-like cashback on rent to help renters complete future home purchases.
Belong also provides property management, which it says is different from other rental management startups in the space like Divvy.
“We’re painfully aware of all the pains that people go through when they need to rent a home, and how difficult it is to be able to afford a home,” Belong founder and a16z entrepreneur-in-residence Ale Resnik told TechCrunch.
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“We dug into why there were not more individual homeowners, which would be net positive for the economy. And we realized it wasn’t easy to buy a home and manage it and do it in a way that’s stress free,” Resnik said.
Based in the Bay Area, Miami and Seattle with an engineering team across Latin America, Belong currently hosts 7,000 renters and thousands of homeowners on its platform. While it declined to reveal valuation or revenue figures, Resnik did say that the company tripled its revenue in 2021.
Revenue streams include the 8% homeowners pay Belong to manage their home, and a 6% share of rent from renters. It also provides financing to homeowners for repairs or maintenance, and acts as a real estate brokerage as well.
“We believe Belong’s people-first model raises the bar for the future state of home rentals and ownership,” Fifth Wall Partner Dan Wenhold told TechCrunch, adding, “With in-house operations and service professionals in each market in which they operate, Belong brings a full-stack approach to property management.”
The company has now raised almost $100 million in equity funding, including its previous $40 million Series B led by Battery Ventures, $10 million Series A led by GGV Capital and $5 million seed led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). All of those previous lead investors also participated in the most recent funding round, which was preempted by Fifth Wall, according to Belong co-founder and president Owen Savir.
FinLedger recently spoke with Gary Beasley, CEO of single-family rental proptech Roofstock, to talk about the U.S. rental market, which can be found here.
In other recent proptech news, Flexspace announced a $6 million seed round to extend its on-demand workspace product. Enertiv also raised $9 million in venture funding for its CRE carbon intelligence platform.