Dwellsy’s consumer-first rental search earns $11.5M seed round

Dwellsy channels rentals from multiple portals, management systems and third-party listing sites across all residential property types and publishes industry trend reports.

Proptech Month 1This November, Inman offers a deep dive into the world of proptech and the state of the startups that are building the future now. We’ll also debut a brand new coveted set of awards, Proptech All-Stars, celebrating the entrepreneurs, VCs, and visionaries in the field. It’s Proptech Month at Inman.

Venture capital continues to favor the rental market.

Days after Summer announced its vacation home acquisition and management platform closed on a round of $18 million, rental portal Dwellsy made public its news of an oversubscribed $11.5 million seed round.

The company channels rentals from multiple portals, management systems and third-party listing sites across all residential property types and publishes industry trend reports. The funding was led by Ulu Ventures and contributed to by the University of Chicago, Frontiers Capital, Heroic Ventures, NJP Ventures, Blackhorn Ventures, Gaingels and the BCG Angels.

Jonas Bordo is the company’s CEO and co-founder. In a statement on the raise, he attributed the increasing demand for a better consumer experience for finding rental housing as the reason for his firm’s rise.

“Dwellsy provides an amazing experience for renters; zero-cost, high-quality listings for residential rental owners and managers; and high-quality property rental price data for businesses,” Bordo said. “There’s a huge base of renters and owners who need help navigating a system that’s more complex than it’s ever been — particularly with the rental fraud happening on other platforms.”

Bordo founded the company in 2019 alongside his wife Rosalind Bordo, who said the company is honored to work with its 20,000+ property managers and rental marketers who submit listings for exposure. She also cited “hundreds of thousands of individual landlords.”

“They’ve got the amazing homes and apartments that renters want, and Dwellsy is the platform that renters can use to find the best available rental, quickly and easily,” Bordo said.

Perpetually refreshed data is processed and presented on a consumer-facing website alongside a traditional browsing interface at dwellsy.com. The site presents listing information on more than 14 million rental units, according to the release, spanning 250 property attributes.

The company’s mission is in part to provide as transparent an experience as possible for finding a place to rent, from four-bedroom suburban homes to urban high-rises and suburban communities, even mobile homes. It eschews pay-to-play models that equate quality of life with advertising budgets.

Its consumer rent metrics allow a user without charge or account sign-up to compare rents between all sizes and types of property. Decisions can be made quickly if needed or over time while watching trends unfold. It also makes it simple for property managers to link back-end leasing systems to its portal.

“Send the feed from your property management software such as Appfolio, Yardi or Entrata with just a few clicks. Your vacant units will be automatically listed and updated. All you have to do is watch the leads come in,” Dwellsy’s website states.

The company is championing the importance of a consumer-first, information-forward rental search, a smart move in a home sales environment suddenly and excessively burdened with an unsettled compensation model driven by consumer-led lawsuits. In short, residential sales is paying the price for not being more open with its customer base. Landlords and property managers need to be on alert.

CrunchBase performed research on how the VC space is reacting to the growing landscape of rent-related technology, including alternatives in second and investment property ownership, finding that the reaction can be measured in the billions.

“Between July 2021 and April 2022, 17 rental-related U.S. companies raised a collective $1.3 billion from VC firms,” CrunchBase reported. The funds can be directly traced to the ongoing rise in average rent during that period, and the company also noted the number of aspiring homebuyers waiting out, or sidelined, by the current market conditions.

Inman reported last month that Rent prices fell for the first time in six months during September.

After coming within $2 of a historical high record during August, the national median rental rate dropped 2.02 percent in September, knocking $40 off the national median price, according to a report from Rent.com.

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