Real Estate Startup Bilt Sees Valuation Quadruple to $1.5B

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The chief executive of real estate startup Bilt Rewards says his company has seen its valuation grow fourfold to $1.5 billion following a $150 million equity funding round.

In an interview with Bloomberg News Tuesday (Oct. 25), founder and CEO Ankur Jain said Bilt — which offers a credit card that transforms rent payments into points towards a down payment on a home — processes $3 billion in rent payments a year.

Meanwhile, users of the Bilt Mastercard, which debuted last year, are spending at an annualized rate of $1.6 billion, Jain added.

He told Bloomberg the company is profitable and has more than half a million members, a number which Jain expects to blossom as more of its partner landlords — companies that collectively own more than 2.5 million apartments — send their tenants to Bilt as their main payment platform.

Earlier this year, Bilt teamed with Wells Fargo — one of the investors in the latest funding round — on a credit card that allows customers to earn points and miles on rent payments.

Bilt’s new unicorn status coincides with what has been a hard year for renters — both residential and small businesses — who are facing one of the toughest markets in decades.

See also: Tough Rental Market Sees More Digital Payments, Cash Back, Discounts

As PYMNTS noted in July, The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JHCS) State of Housing report found a “resurgence in demand, the overall rental vacancy rate dropped to just 5.8 percent — its lowest reading since the mid-1980s.”

That has left an opening for FinTechs that offer digital payment tools to make modern renting seamless, PYMNTS reported.

In June, the Boston-based FinTech Rentdrop launched a mobile app for digital rent payments, offering tenants and their landlords a choice in how rents are paid and received.

Rising from the increasingly common practice of roommates splitting rents and the collection and payment issues that result, the app is aimed at simplifying an often-messy process by making it easier to collect digital payments.

This summer also saw Houston-based Venterra Realty, which owns and manages 70 communities and more than 20,000 apartment units around the country, debut its Autopay Discount program, giving renters a $20 monthly credit for automatic electronic rental payments when they enroll.