Actor Will Smith and Brooklyn born rapper, Jay Z are among the investors who’ve bought into a project that will help renters in the US build credit until they can buy a place. Landis Technologies is raising $165 million from the group of investors which includes Sequoia Capital, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and Will Smith’s Dreamers VC.
Landis Technologies, founded by Cyril Berdugo and Tom Petit, caters to would-be homeowners who can’t afford to buy. The company purchases a house and rents it to the client until they can qualify for a mortgage. The client can buy it back at a predetermined price up to two years after the initial acquisition.
The model is a new spin on a rent-to-own strategy that has been employed by other companies including Home Partners of America, which Blackstone Group Inc. recently agreed to acquire for $6 billion. As part of its service, Landis provides coaching for clients on how to manage their finances to improve their credit and save the amount they need for a down payment.
The company’s typical client is a first-time homebuyer with a budget between $110,000 and $400,000.