Tellus Raises $26 Million to Fuel Continued Growth

A company that helps consumers grow their savings via real estate has just closed an early investment round itself. This week, Tellus announced that it had raised a total of $26 million. That includes a $16 million seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz, as well as a $10 million SAFE note from early investors. Also participating the in seed round were All-Stars Investments, Alumni Ventures, Decent Capital, Vectr Ventures, West Arrow, and Westwood Ventures along with several angel investors. According to the FinTech, it will utilize the newly-acquired funds to build its team and continue expanding its platform.

Founded in 2016, Tellus bills itself as a smart savings tool that’s powered by real estate. The platform enables consumers to earn yields by providing single-family home loans and passing a part of the earned interest to customers. These funds are paid out daily and can be withdrawn at any time. Currently, the company estimates that accountholders can earn between 3.85% to 5.12% APY. Beyond this core feature, the app also includes budget tools and helps users set financial goals.

Sharing more about the idea behind Tellus, the company’s co-founder Rocky Lee said in a statement, “Tellus gives people access to savings opportunities through a method previously only available to the ultrawealthy: earnings from residential home mortgages. We built Tellus to bring together everyday consumers’ need for passive income and attractive rates.”

Co-founder T Zhu added, “We reward people for saving and developing healthy money habits. We want to help everyone build wealth via real estate. Historically, real estate has proven to be resilient during periods of inflation. Harnessing it, and without giving up your liquidity to do so, is the challenge.”

Additionally, a16z general partner Jeff Jordan said of his firm’s investment in the company, “The Tellus team is leveraging their unique insights around the interplay of real estate, savings, and lending to help consumers’ cash savings work harder for them. We’re excited to support Rocky and T as they continue to build out the product and team.”

Overall, Tellus is a unique idea that has obvious appeal to investors and consumers alike. At the same time, with high-yield savings account interest rates rising quickly and topping 3% in some cases, it’s hard to say whether the stated APYs that Tellus’s platform can offer will be as attractive when compared to the safer option (note: Tellus funds are not FDIC insured). Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how the company can grow and expand its product, especially with these seed round funds.

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Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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