Home-financing startup EasyKnock raises $20 million, lays out plans

  • Alternative home-financing company EasyKnock has raised a $20 million Series B round, co-led by Blumberg Capital and QED with funding from long-time proptech VC Moderne Ventures, among others. 
  • EasyKnock gives customers cash for their home and lets them stay on as a renter. 
  • The company is developing four new products to help homeowners during the downturn, including one that will help those in forbearance on their mortgage.
  • It’s also creating a marketplace to connect those looking to sell and rent their homes with people who want to invest in homes. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

EasyKnock, an alternative home-financing company that provides multiple lease buyback products for the home, has raised a $20 million Series B round, co-led by returning investor Blumberg Capital and new investors, fintech-focused QED Investors.

The round included funding from previous funders FJ Labs, Correlation, Moderne Ventures, and new investors 7BC and Interplay.

The company is also developing new products to help homeowners with financing needs amid a downturn. 

EasyKnock, founded in 2016 by CEO Jarred Kessler, offers two main products: Sell and Stay, where the company purchases a consumer’s home in cash and then collects rent and a 3% annual fee from the consumer as they continue to live in home, and MoveAbility, which allows someone looking to move to sell their house to the company and rent it back while they’re looking for a new home.

The company has now raised more than $350 million in debt and equity.

Kessler said that while it was a challenge raising funding during a pandemic from funders he hasn’t yet met face-to-face, the company is well-positioned to thrive during a downturn, which has made it especially attractive to venture capital. 

“People are more interested in companies that are countercyclical and will actually benefit in the recession versus a sexy dating app,” Kessler said.

Kessler also told Business Insider that he had to raise the money while recovering from a mild case of the coronavirus himself, a distinctly 2020 detail. He said the money was raised so that the company could “hit the gas” and expand its customer base and launch new products and services.

Read more: These 12 real-estate tech startups are transforming the financials of homeownership

The company is creating a marketplace that connects those looking to sell and rent their homes with people that want to invest in homes. It’s also planning to launch a white-glove cleaning and concierge service.

It also has products to assist homeowners who have a mortgage in forbearance and one for senior citizens in the works. 

EasyKnock has partnered with real estate agents to offer the MoveAbility product, but Kessler said that their real estate partners have actually had even more success in recent months with Sell and Stay, as new moves slowed but more people have needed short-term liquidity, especially as many major banks have suspended new home equity lines of credit.

Kessler said that while other companies were getting their debt lines pulled because of concern about the market, EasyKnock has actually continued to be approached by new lenders who see the company’s potential in a downturn. 

The company has also continued to operate through the most uncertain parts of the pandemic in late-March and April, when many iBuyers closed. Kessler said that this is a major benefit of EasyKnock’s model, which gains most of its revenue from rent, compared to a model that relies on flipping a home for a higher price than it was purchased for.

However, 15% of the company’s customers have asked for rent-payment freezes during the pandemic which the company has honored, Kessler added.

The company has also launched a nonprofit, The Stay Mission, which will raise money to distribute to organizations that prevent evictions and foreclosures.

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