Newly out of its beta mode, rent-to-own mobile app Gravy has secured a seed round of financing in the amount of $2.6 million.
Gravy didn’t disclose who led the funding, saying only individual “real estate and technology investors” contributed.
Reviewed by Inman in March, 2022 before its official launch, Gravy exists in a quickly-growing sector of industry providers that marries financial services with home buying assistance and resources.
Among other benefits, renters use the app to accumulate Gravy Rewards, a general term the company uses to encompass a number of different forms of financial benefits it provides.
Funds of up to five percent of each on-time rent payment are earned monthly, and more when renters use agents who are members of Gravy’s national network to buy a home. It also deposits $250 into users’ accounts upon setup, and connects aspiring buyers with approved partner lenders.
The FDIC-insured down payment savings app also uses rewards to incentivize use of its homebuyer education modules, to encourage savings milestones and for user referrals. Friends and family can directly contribute to a user’s Gravy account, too.
According to the funding press release, Gravy has issued over $4 million worth of rewards and its members have set more than $100 million in goals for their first home purchases.
“Gravy’s partnership with the leading brokerage group in the country, Realogy, matches members with agents from some of the most recognized names in real estate, such as Coldwell Banker and Century 21, as well as accredited national mortgage lenders,” the company wrote in a statement.
Baselane, a property management app for single-family landlords, is another example of a technology company blending its productivity tools with financial services. Divvy, valued at more than $2 billion, also helps renters save for home ownership.
The rental market is seeing a great deal of attention from investors and technology entrepreneurs alike, a result of the increasingly challenging home-buying environment. Upon rolling out rentals on its national search experience, Redfin estimated that about one in five of its 47 million monthly site users are also interested in rentals.
“Homeownership is the primary way Americans build wealth, but between surging rents and home prices, it’s never been harder to buy your first house,” said co-founder and CEO Jeff Dinter. “We started Gravy to help renters save up, prepare, and ultimately buy their first home with confidence.”
Gravy was founded by Dinter, Will Dunn (CGO) and Jimmy Lien (CTO), all alumni of rental property management software company Buildium, which was acquired by RealPage for $580 million in 2019.