Jay-Z and Will Smith are working to make homeownership accessible to all. The two have used their wealth to invest in a start-up company that helps low-income buyers on the path to ownership. The business, Landis, helps renters build credit until they can buy. Bloomberg reported a group of investors, including Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, raised $165 million for the startup.
“Financial inclusion is really important to us,” said Landis co-founder Cyril Berdugo. “An aspect of Landis that we’re very proud to be a part of is wealth creation for low-income Americans.”
He added, “We make money when our client buys the house back,” said Berdugo. “If we leave money on the table, that’s our problem.”
In February, Policy Advice reported the homeownership rate in the United States is less than two-thirds of the population and only one-third when looking at Americans under the age of 34. The data also found white people, on average, are 50% more likely to own homes than people of other races.
According to Landis’ official website, interested browsers can apply and get prequalified for their “dream home.” Working with agents, the company then buys the residence and allows the hopeful purchaser to rent for two years as they build credit and secure a down payment. After the term ends, the renters can buy the house back at a pre-determined price. The company, based in New York also runs in Kentucky, Alabama, and South Carolina.
“We are very proud to announce that Landis has raised a $165M Series A, led by Sequoia Capital,” Landis shared on the company’s Instagram account. “Homeownership is one of the most fundamental aspects of financial stability, and we are working to make that a reality for Americans. If you are a renter in America with a dream of becoming a homeowner, we want to help you!”
As per the report, the $165 million, which includes debt and equity, can be put toward the purchase of at least 1,000 homes.