Renter Cash Back Platform Stake Announces $4 Million Funding Round
A FinTech that helps renters earn cashback has just raised some money of its own. This week, Stake announced that it had closed a $4 million funding round. The seed round was led by Shadow Ventures while Hometeam Ventures, Olive Tree Holdings, Blue Field Capital, Hampton VC, Gaingels, and Silicon Valley Connect managing director Ellen Levy also participated.
Stake is a rewards program that allows renters to earn cashback when they make on-time payments. To do this, it partners with property owners and management companies to offer the service to their tenants. According to Stake, properties using the platform have seen 15% more lease renewals, 50% lower marketing costs, and other benefits. Currently, Olive Tree Holdings, Greystar Holdings, Brick Capital, and others are among those using Stake at their properties.
Explaining the idea behind Stake, the company’s CEO Rowland Hobbs said in a statement, “The single largest expense for a majority of Americans is housing. Stake is enabling the 48 million Americans who rent to build equity via true cash savings ensuring financial security is attainable for all.” Hobbs went on to elaborate on how the platform is a win-win for residents and landlords, noting, “Investing in residents with Cash Back creates a higher propensity to pay, and propensity to stay, a financial win-win for renters and owners. This is just the start of a FinTech revolution in real estate.”
Elsewhere, commenting on State’s history and potential, Shadow Ventures senior associate and newly-appointed Stake board member Nick Durham said, “Stake joined our inaugural Multifamily Technology Accelerator in November 2020, and was immediately adopted by strategic asset managers who wanted to outperform the market. The opportunity Stake has tapped into is to reinvent revenue management with a resident-first focus. We supported Stake early in their growth, and are thrilled to continue to invest in Rowland and Jimmy’s FinTech vision and their world-class team, as Stake scales their platform to revolutionize the revenue management and payment model.”
Incidentally, Stake’s seed round comes on the heels of another renter-centric rewards program raising money. Last week, Bilt announced that it had raised $60 million from a list of investors that included the likes of Wells Fargo and Mastercard. Like Stake, Bilt partner properties allow customers to earn rewards when they pay their rent on time. However, in an added twist, Bilt also offers a branded credit card that not only allows customers to avoid fees on rental payments but also enables them to earn 1x points on rent (among other perks).
With Bilt having the advantage of greater funding and larger investors, one might assume that Stake will have an uphill battle ahead of it. However, as other FinTech niches have shown, there’s plenty of room for more than one disruptor in a single field. Ultimately, it will be up to the real estate owners (and, to some degree, the renters) to help decide which platform makes the most sense for them. This all adds up to an interesting battle that could play out between these two FinTechs and others in the months and years ahead.