RET Ventures’ first ESG fund, partnered with a coalition of mission-driven and impact investors, is leading investments to align landlord and tenant incentives.
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Stake, which provides cash back and banking services to tenants, today announced the closing of its $12 million Series A funding round. With Stake, tenants earn cash back when they take positive action, like signing a lease and paying rent. Landlords save money with every tenant action.
The tour was led by RET companies, which selected Stake as an early investment for new ESG fund RET Ventures (the “Housing Impact Fund”). Participation also included: Corporate Community Partnerswhich, since 1982, has made it possible to create or preserve 873,000 housing units; Hometeam Ventures; Operator stack; and Second century companies, the investment arm of the National Association of Realtors. Existing investors Shadow businesses and Olive companies also participated in the tour.
Today, more than 44 million U.S. households pay rent every month, and from 1985 to 2020, median rent prices have increased by nearly 150% despite revenue growth of only 35%. Drawing on behavioral science, Stake was founded in 2018 to empower tenants by offering cash back on their rent as well as free banking to build savings. Stake also alleviates the difficulties faced by building owners, by increasing leases, reducing economic vacancy, improving maintenance and increasing ancillary income.
By using Stake, property managers receive a 130% return on every dollar spent. Renters earn an average of 4% cash back on their rent each month. Of the $385 million in annual leases connected to the platform, 65% of tenants have more money in their Stake account than any other bank account. Over the past year, the number of residences offering cash back with participation has increased tenfold.
“Tenants don’t need more debt or loans,” noted Rowland Hobbs, co-founder and CEO of Stake. “What tenants need is money to help them with basic necessities and to build up long-term savings. With Stake, we’ve reinvented the classic “rainy day fund” for tenants to create the kind of wealth traditionally associated with home ownership. Today, their biggest expense is also their biggest source of savings.
The new funding round will allow Stake to continue to build its financial infrastructure and suite of solutions that address difficult tenant and landlord issues.
“Stake’s approach to housing affordability is perfectly aligned with the mission of our ESG-focused fund,” said John Helm, partner at RET Ventures, who will join Stake’s board. “While a multitude of platforms offer tenants innovative payment options, they are all credit or debt based. They ultimately encourage dangerous behavior as part of their proposed solution. Stake turns this model on its head by providing a risk-free, tenant-centric, efficient, and easy-to-use path to building wealth.
“Unlike landlords, tenants rarely see any financial benefit from paying for their homes – and families who rent tell us they could use a little extra cash each month. That’s why Stake’s goal of empowering more economically resilient tenants with cash back and no-fee banking services appealed to us,” said Priscilla Almodovar, President and CEO of Enterprise Community Partners. It also makes sense for landlords, who are more likely to retain residents, which in turn strengthens communities.
Stake is building the financial infrastructure for the next generation of rentals. Stake aligns incentives between tenants, operators, landlords and investors, so everyone earns the Return on Rent™ they deserve. Stake’s revenue management tools are more powerful, with a 130% return on every dollar spent. These savings return millions of dollars to tenants every year in the Stake app. Thousands of renters use Stake to earn Cash Back, grow their savings, and access free and fair banking. Based in New York and Seattle, Stake is on a mission to empower wealthier, happier, and more resilient tenants. For more information, please visit https://www.stake.rent/
About RET Ventures
A leading real estate technology investment firm, RET Ventures is the first industry-backed, seed-stage venture capital fund strategically focused on building cutting-edge “rental technology” – technology for real estate multi-family and single-family rental. RET invests from grassroots venture capital funds and a housing impact fund, supporting businesses that address a range of issues for property operators. Through deep expertise and connections, RET provides solutions to issues ranging from housing affordability and sustainability to risk management and operational efficiency. The company’s strategic investors include some of the largest REITs and owner-operators and managers of private real estate, which control approximately 2.4 million rental units worth $600 billion. For more information, please visit www.ret.vc
About Enterprise Community Partners
Enterprise is a national non-profit organization that exists to make good housing possible for the millions of families who don’t have it. We support community development organizations on the ground, pool and invest capital for impact, advance housing policy at all levels of government, and build and manage communities ourselves. Since 1982, we’ve invested $54 billion and created 873,000 homes in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, all to make homes and communities places of pride, power and belonging. . Join us on enterprisecommunity.org.
*Stake is a fintech company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Blue Ridge Bank NA; FDIC member. The Stake Visa® debit card is issued by Blue Ridge Bank NA pursuant to a license from Visa USA Inc. and can be used anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.