Jay-Z and Will Smith to invest in a rent-to-own startup to help renters become home buyers

Entertainment legends Jay-Z and Will Smith are investing in a credit building startup to help renters become homeowners in a matter of time.

The two business moguls through Roc Nation and Will Smith's Dreamers VC, together with a group of investors generated $165 million in Series A for Landis Technology, a rent-to-own startup which helps renters become owners, according to TechCrunch.

The funding round was led by Sequoia Capital. Other participants include existing investor Signia Venture Partners, Cash App, Ethos, Front, Tango, Flatiron Health, Ethos, Plaid, and Instagram.

"We are proud to have invested in Landis," Smith said in a statement. "Landis is an innovative company that also has a social mission we are aligned . We are excited to be part of a journey that helps Americans achieve homeownership through financial education."

Co-founder and President of Roc Nation's venture investment arm Arrive, Neil Sirni supported Smith's statement saying they are optimistic that "Landis is determined to build a company that consumers can trust." Adding that, the company's investment demonstrates its commitment to helping Landis on its mission to make homeownership more accessible to renters.

Landis offers clients a new approach on the rent-to-own business strategy. It's also offers client coaching on how to manage their finances, improve their credit and save enough money to down pay on a home, according to Bloomberg. This approach will help Americans seek homeownership by making resources available to everyone.

"We understand that people can fall on tough times, but no one should be locked out of homeownership forever," said Tom Petit, co-founder of Landis,in a statement. "Whatever their situation, we give our clients easy, achievable steps to become eligible for a mortgage. Getting ready for a mortgage is often a stressful and difficult process. Landis makes it easy, fun and approachable."

Cyril Berdugo and Tom Petit founded the company in 2018 after they witnessed many renters lose money by over paying for a home below its actual value, whereas with a mortgage they can pay way lesser than the initial amount they paid. Landis works with referrals from real estate agents and mortgage lenders to work with prospective homeowners and provide them with necessary guidance on how to improve their finances, credit, and savings for down payment.

The New York-based fintech tests propspective homeowners eligibility through its underwriting technology that helps to determine if a client will be able to afford a mortgage within 12 to 24 months. Once that has been determined, Landis will give the client a range of budget to pick from and rent the home to the client, who will then spend the given time to build their savings and prepare to pay off the mortgage.

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