Rental platform Apartment List has raised $50 million in a funding round, doubling its prior valuation to $600 million.
Janus Henderson Investors led the latest round, and the new capital injection signals investors’ growing interest in rental platforms to compete with Craigslist and StreetEasy, Bloomberg News reported. Unlike its competitors, however, Apartment List only earns a fee when a property is rented.
The San Francisco-based startup has 5.5 million units listed and more than 30 million users. It plans to use the new funding to increase its sales initiatives and bring in renters to its platform. More than 175,000 renters used Apartment List to find new homes this year, the company claims. Many of these new homes were in growing cities like Houston, Dallas and Austin, as well as Denver, Phoenix, Minneapolis and Charlotte.
When it comes to sales, the residential listing space is largely dominated by Zillow, Redfin and Realtor.com. The rental listing space is more fragmented, but that could soon change. Zillow and Zumper are big players, and CoStar recently made a big bet on the sector through its $250 million purchase of HomeSnap.
Apartment List said a public listing is possible in the next two years and the company would consider a conventional initial public offering or a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, also known as a SPAC.
Its other backers include Allen & Co., Canaan Partners, Tenaya Capital and Quantum Partners LP, a fund managed by Soros Fund Management LLC.
[Bloomberg News] — Keith Larsen