Esusu announced the closing of $2.3 million in seed extension on August 26, 2020.
The fresh round brings Esusu's total capital raised to $4 million. The investors included Acumen Fund, Concrete Rose Capital, Global Good Fund, Impact America Fund, Next Play Ventures, and Zeal Capital Partners.
Esusu co-founders, Abbey Wemimo and Samir Goel, intentionally secured a majority (65%) of the capital in this round from extraordinary Black and women-led venture capital firms. They believe diverse investors give Esusu a strong competitive advantage. In the next year, Esusu plans to hire exceptional talent to fuel its expansion to one million rental units in the United States.
Esusu partners with multifamily owners and property managers to report rental payment data into credit bureaus. In addition, the company pairs tenants who cannot afford rent with affordable loans. This enables tenants to build credit while property owners can encourage on-time payments.
Esusu currently operates in over 30 states and covers over 200,000 rental units. "Esusu’s vision to use data to eliminate the racial wealth gap is driven by the role that credit and housing play in financial stability and wealth accumulation in the United States. Our fundamental belief is that where you come from, the color of your skin or your financial identity shouldn’t determine where you end up in life. We are privileged to join forces with world-class investors to address these systemic issues through the innovative use of data", said Esusu Co-Founders, Abbey Wemimo and Samir Goel.
Currently, less than 1% of rental payments are reported into the credit bureaus despite being the largest expense for most Americans. According to HUD and Urban Institute, rental data is one of the strongest predictors of a tenant’s credit risk. Esusu’s model presents a profitable solution for property managers to help keep renters in their homes while equipping financial institutions with the data to underwrite renters with limited credit history.
We are experiencing the greatest public health crisis in a century, the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression and accelerating income inequality. Concomitantly, we are dealing with systemic racism that stifles the promise of America. "At Esusu we have a unique opportunity to challenge the status quo by using our platform to dismantle barriers to housing for working families and over the longer horizon, eliminate the racial wealth gap", continued Abbey Wemimo and Samir Goel.
"This is Esusu’s moment. The company is adding significant value to both renters and property managers when the current economic crisis and chronic income inequality call for new, innovative solutions. Abbey and Samir’s plans for the business are both visionary and pragmatic, and we couldn’t be more excited or inspired to be on their team,” said Sean Mendy, Partner at Concrete Rose Capital.
"Low and moderate-income communities of color need financial tools that prioritize their needs. This has long been the case, however, the joint health and economic crises in 2020 have exacerbated the need for innovative solutions. We are excited to invest in a team that has demonstrated significant traction in a short and turbulent period", said Brittany Henry, Investor at Impact America Fund.
"The pandemic's disproportionately harmful impact on underserved communities has reinforced the importance of closing societal divides and ensuring that equal talent has equal access to opportunity. Esusu provides a foundational building block in making that a reality: ensuring that deserving individuals and families have access to affordable housing. As founders who have experienced and overcome this issue firsthand, Abbey and Samir have been purpose-driven from day one and we couldn't be more excited to help them fulfill their vision," said Jeff Weiner, Founding Partner at Next Play Ventures and Executive Chairman at LinkedIn.
"Esusu is the gold standard model for how consumers with subprime credit scores can increase their credit and become financially healthy through alternative means, like rental payments", said Nasir Qadree, Founder and Managing Partner of Zeal Capital Partners.