UPDATED, Aug. 8, 9:32 a.m.: New York-based rental insurance startup Jetty raised $11.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, the company announced Tuesday.
The firm’s seed-round investors Ribbit Capital, SV Angel, Box Group and RedSwan also participated in the latest round.
Valar partner Andrew McCormack said in a statement that the firm has a chance to improve “an industry notorious for commodity products and one of the worst customer experiences a person can have.”
Jetty, which officially launched in April with $4 million in seed money, sells what it claims is rental insurance tailored to today’s city dwellers: think protection against bed bugs and theft or property damage by Airbnb guests. It also offers to act as a guarantor on an apartment lease in return for 5 to 10 percent of the annual rent and takes care of the security deposit in exchange for an 18 percent fee. The German reinsurance giant Munich Re underwrites Jetty’s policies.
Jetty’s founders are Michael Rudoy and Luke Cohler, who previously co-founded the design agency Breadhouse.
When it comes to Jetty’s guarantor and security deposit offerings, “landlords have to decide to accept those products,” Rudoy said, adding that the firm has held talks with numerous landlords and property managers. He claimed the two products are currently available at 50,000 apartments countrywide, including at the Blackstone Group and Ivanhoe Cambridge’s Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village.
Although based in the Big Apple, not all of Jetty’s products are yet on offer here or California (New Yorkers can buy its guarantor and deposit products, but no rental insurance). It first launched in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Georgia and says its entire suite of products is currently available in 13 states.
MetaProp NYC, a real estate tech investor and accelerator run by Millennium Partners’ Zach Aarons and Cushman & Wakefield veteran Aaron Block, previously invested in Jetty’s seed round. Aarons told The Real Deal that he sees Jetty as part of a trend towards “fluidity” in the rental market, in which customers may commit for shorter terms and move more often, but place greater emphasis on brands.