Jay-Z and Will Smith Just Invested in a Tech Startup That Helps Low-Income Americans Become Homeowners

·1-min read
Photo credit: Charley Gallay - Getty Images
Photo credit: Charley Gallay - Getty Images

With the average price of a house soaring to $287,148—reportedly a 13.2 percent hike from last year—the dream of owning a home seems increasingly out of reach for many low-income and working-class Americans.

Tech startup Landis is hoping to change that with its unique rent-to-sell model. The pioneering platform purchases homes on behalf of its clients, then allows them to rent the properties until they are able to qualify for a mortgage. Aspiring homebuyers work with a dedicated coach to help build their credit and improve their financial literacy. During that time, part of their rent goes towards a downpayment for their dream house. After two years, clients are then offered the opportunity to purchase the property at a predetermined price.

“Financial inclusion is really important to us," Cyril Berdugo, one of the co-founders of Landis, told Bloomberg. “An aspect of Landis that we’re very proud to be a part of is wealth creation for low-income Americans.”

Luckily, the budding business has caught the attention of not one, but two A-list celebrities: Jay-Z and Will Smith, who are backing the company through their companies (Roc Nation and Dreamers VC, respectively) with a combined $165 million in seed funding. With the new cash infusion, Landis hopes to purchase around 1,000 homes priced between $110,000 and $400,000.

“We are proud to have invested in Landis,” Smith said in a press statement. “Landis is an innovative company that also has a social mission we are aligned with. We are excited to be part of a journey that helps Americans achieve homeownership through financial education.”

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