Bilt Rewards Joins Unicorn Ranks With $1.5B Valuation
It’s been an eventful 16 months for Bilt Rewards.
During that time, the company built a product that allows renters to earn rewards for paying rent. It hosted a star-studded party featuring A$AP Rocky and Wyclef Jean. It also raised about $213 million in funding, including a $150 million round announced on Tuesday.
Bilt Rewards’ latest funding round valued the company at $1.5 billion, which boosts the NYC startup into unicorn territory.
A number of tech companies have tried to help renters gain a financial foothold in recent years, including rent-to-own startups like Divvy and Landis, but Bilt Rewards said it is the first business to allow users to pay rent, earn loyalty points and apply those points to a down payment.
Users receive the most benefit if they rent a property within the Bilt Alliance, a collection of more than 2.5 million properties owned by Blackstone and other large real estate companies. Users renting these apartments can earn points by paying rent through the Bilt App and referring new renters to properties in this collection. These renters can also enroll to have their rent reported to credit bureaus, which can boost the credit scores of those who make payments on time.
People who don’t live in a property affiliated with the Bilt Alliance can still earn points by paying rent with Bilt’s credit card. Neither program charges transaction fees.
Bilt Rewards points can be put toward next month’s rent or a down payment fund. Points can also be redeemed to purchase airline tickets, hotel rooms and group fitness classes.
In addition to the fresh funding, Bilt Rewards also announced the launch of Bilt Homes, a new service that shows users which homes they can afford if they were to shift their monthly rent payments to mortgage payments. The feature automatically considers factors such as interest rates, taxes and credit scores.
The shift from renter to homeowner is no easy feat, however. It also requires a down payment and closing costs, which users could cover by saving Bilt Rewards points over time.
Bilt Rewards has a team of 70 employees. The company told Built In it is currently hiring engineers, technical product managers and a growth marketing position.
Bilt Rewards founder and CEO Ankur Jain said in a statement that this new round of funding will help the company “build additional tools, strengthen relationships with existing loyalty and real estate partners and work to expand the Bilt Rewards platform across the country.”
The funding round was led by Left Lane Capital and included participation from Smash Capital, Wells Fargo, Greystar and other investors.
“Housing represents the largest monthly expense for over 100 million renters in the U.S., and yet consumers have never received any incremental value in return,” Harley Miller, Left Lane Capital CEO and managing partner, said in a statement. “Over the last year, the [Bilt Rewards] team brought together an unprecedented group of real estate owners, which has afforded them large-scale and immediate distribution to renters across the country. Bilt is quickly weaving itself into the fabric of the everyday consumer and has the potential to become a household brand that covers the entire homeownership journey.”