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Vero, a RentTech company offering a platform for landlords and tenants, closed on a series B round of funding worth $9 million led by Fifth Wall, according to an announcement shared first with Inman.
Vero has raised a total of $26.7 million and will put the money toward the ongoing enhancement of its feature set, which is centered on proving a transparent leasing process to improve the way apartment managers and tenants work together.
“As one centralized hub for end-to-end leasing needs, the key experience of operators and renters is critical,” said Vero’s CEO and co-founder Lou Baugier in the announcement. “We’re investing in what our customers want and need the most, customizable solutions that provide a streamlined experience, increased net asset value and transparency for all involved.”
Specifically, Vero deploys a top-down rental workflow that uses instant income verification, for example, to reduce applications submitted by unqualified tenants, detect and decrease fraud attempts and automate the leasing process.
Applicants, too, can benefit from Vero’s use by property owners, as it documents their viability as candidates and keeps the process transparent, whereas legacy processes hide behind the burden of paperwork and disintermediated, inconsistent approval standards.
“Vero will soon launch the industry’s first dynamic, conversational application for leasing, offering an omnichannel experience with AI-assisted, dynamically generated interviews,“ the announcement stated.
Fifth Wall is arguably the real estate industry’s most recognizable backer of technology innovations, having closed an $866 million fund to support them in December 2022. The certified B-corp (benefit corporation) is also driven to decarbonize the space or make it more environmentally sustainable.
A month before closing its proptech fund, Fifth Wall announced a $500 million war chest to fund climate-first tech companies.
Fifth Wall co-founder Brendan Wallace said real estate’s vast reliance on disparate materials contributes to its tremendous carbon footprint, in a February 2023 interview with Inman.
“Well, there are a lot more materials in buildings and homes,” Wallace said. “The real estate industry consumes 40 percent of the world’s raw materials, and the heterogeneity of those materials inside a home is vast, more than what you’ll find in a car or mobile phone, so the challenge of building a modularized home or multifamily housing or industrial construction solution is so daunting.”
“Shipping a truss, you know, from China to build a home in Kansas isn’t like shipping an iPhone,” Wallace said.
Younger generations of buyers and sellers are showing a preference for a home that’s prepped for a sustainable future in an active community, Inman reported, citing findings from a RE/MAX study.
Overall, 91 percent of Gen Zers reported that having a “green home” is important, while just 85 percent of Gen Y, 73 percent of Gen X and 60 percent of baby boomers and seniors thought it was important.
Fifth Wall’s confidence in Vero isn’t surprising. Technology products in the multifamily, single-family and rental property investing markets, collectively, are surging, even on the news that average rents continue to drop after peaking a year ago. Housing inventory numbers haven’t improved to a level that can alleviate the grip on available homes, meaning renting is becoming accepted as a long-term living solution for tens of millions of Americans.
“Mitigating lease application fraud is paramount to ensuring owners’ fiscal security and enhancing trust between owners and tenants,” said Sarah Liu, partner on the Real Estate Technology Investment Team at Fifth Wall, in the announcement. “Vero’s streamlined platform embeds renter financial and insurance products with robust verification tools to unify what is currently a disparate set of points solutions.
“It is shepherding in a new generation of leasing, enabling renters to get approved faster and allowing owners to make data-driven decisions.”