Zently, a tech startup with a mobile app for renters that helps them pay on time and flags issues for the landlord, has recently raised $1.6 million in venture capital funding and rolled out an expense-sharing feature.
According to a news report in TechCrunch, the mobile app now includes the ability to link a bank account, enabling roommates to split shared expenses. The new tech feature is enabled by connecting the user’s bank or credit card account and letting them flag purchases that go for the house. The app will then figure out how much each member of the household owes and to whom.
For instance, the app lets users set up a master tenant who can collect rent from the roommates in one place. Apps like PayPal, Venmo or Square Cash allow people to send multiple payments, but it doesn’t end up in one place, noted the report.
The new round of venture capital funding came along with the new app feature, noted the report. Montage Ventures led the round of VC funding, which also includes investments from real estate industry players, noted the report.
With the VC funding recently raised and the expense-sharing feature, TechCrunch said the company aims to bring more millennial renters to its mobile app, which it thinks will result in more landlords also joining the service.
Zently is among a growing number of startups that are trying to transform the rental market, where checks reign supreme. According to data last year from the U.S. Federal Reserve, the number of checks in use declined by more than 50 percent over a 12-year period beginning in 2000. In that same span, payment with cards, mobile wallets and direct deposit tripled, and the trend is not expected to reverse itself anytime soon.
Young people especially have stopped using checks, with a study from WePay reporting that 52 percent of millennials never use checks at all. When it comes to rent payments, however, checks are still the preferred payment option. The Fed study indicated that consumers are still using checks to pay for larger transactions, such as their monthly rent, despite the inconvenience of writing a check.