Bilt Rewards, a loyalty program that allows tenants to earn points on rent at no cost and work their way into homeownership, on Tuesday announced $ 60 million growth funding that values the company at 350 millions of dollars.
The investment comes from Wells Fargo and Mastercard and a group of the nation’s largest property owners including The Blackstone Group, AvalonBay Communities, Douglas Elliman, Equity Residential, GID-Windsor Communities, LENx, The Moinian Group, Morgan Properties , Starwood Capital Group and related.
Bilt launched in June of Kairos, the start-up studio run by Ankur Jain, focused on enabling more than 109 million renters in the United States to earn points by paying their rent each month – typically the biggest monthly expense of somebody. Since then, the program has rolled out to more than 2 million rental units, Jain told TechCrunch.
“We are the first and only alliance of large landowners to create this type of program and already have 15 of the top 20 owners involved,” he added. “We are also the only co-branded card to offer rental points. “
Greg Bates, President and CEO of GID, said his company owns 130 assets in the 20 major markets and manages 40,000 apartments. He heard about Bilt from a colleague who attended a proptech conference where Jain demonstrated the Bilt board.
For about 20 years or so since Bates started in the real estate business, tenants have wanted to pay their rent with a credit card for convenience and earn loyalty points. However, that was prohibitive in terms of any surcharges to add to the rental rate – up to Bilt, he said. The card “is incredibly easy to use” and integrates into owners’ online payment systems.
“Bilt has transformed the value proposition for residents who want to use a credit card and for homeowners who want to accept it,” Bates added. “There will always be barriers to entry for products like this, but Bilt has spent time with Mastercard and Wells Fargo to develop this unique product that will be a differentiator from the competition for a few years to come.”
In addition to the new funding, Bilt is also announcing new benefits for its loyal members and improved offers for the Bilt Mastercard, including the ability to earn up to 50,000 points on rent per year and unlimited points using the credit card. credit.
For members, Bilt will pay interest in the form of points on a member’s account each month based on their average daily point balance over the 30-day period, and will provide a concierge service to members choosing to redeem their Bilt points against a down payment for the house. . Additionally, members can earn bonus points in addition to the points used by owners on new leases and renewals.
Bilt worked with regulators, as well as with Fannie Mae and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to gain approval to use reward points for a mortgage. Members can also report their rent payments to the credit bureaus free of charge, which can help build credit histories for millions of younger renters.
Meanwhile, the company’s new “0-1-2-3” points earning structure for Bilt Mastercard holders provides no annual fees, 1x points on rent payments, 2x points on travel, 3x points on meals and 1x points on all other purchases.
This is the company’s first major external roundtable and will serve to expand its network of real estate and loyalty partners, develop its distribution channels and make its credit card platform more widely accessible to the public. Jain estimates that Bilt has 20% enrollment among residents.
As more and more tenants become homeowners over time, Bilt intends to leverage this larger potential business to eventually become a mortgage provider for them.
“Renting is something that people do for a while, and the core business offers a large-scale opportunity, especially for those under 35, who tend to be promising professionals,” Jain added. “This is a unique target market, and Bilt will grow with them as they find their way to homeownership. “