Esusu, a fintech startup dismantling barriers to housing, has closed $2.3 million from Acumen Fund, Concrete Rose Capital, Global Good Fund, Impact America Fund, Next Play Ventures, and Zeal Capital Partners for US expansion.
The $2.3 million in seed extension bringing total capital raised to $4 million and Esusu will use it to hire exceptional talent to fuel its expansion to one million rental units in the United States.
“We are experiencing the greatest public health crisis in a century, the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression and accelerating income inequality. Concomitantly, we are dealing with systemic racism that stifles the promise of America. “At Esusu we have a unique opportunity to challenge the status quo by using our platform to dismantle barriers to housing for working families and over the longer horizon, eliminate the racial wealth gap,” continued Abbey Wemimo and Samir Goel, Esusu Co-Founders.
The two intentionally secured a majority (65%) of the capital in this round from extraordinary Black and women-led venture capital firms which gives Esusu a strong competitive advantage.
Operating in over 30 states and covering over 200,000 rental units, Esusu partners with multifamily owners and property managers to report rental payment data into credit bureaus. The firm also pairs tenants who cannot afford rent with affordable loans to get back on their feet. This enables tenants to build credit while property owners can encourage on-time payments.
The startup aims to use data to eliminate the racial wealth gap driven by the role that credit and housing play in financial stability and wealth accumulation in the United States.
“Our fundamental belief is that where you come from, the color of your skin or your financial identity shouldn’t determine where you end up in life. We are privileged to join forces with world-class investors to address these systemic issues through the innovative use of data,” said Esusu Co-Founders, Abbey Wemimo and Samir Goel.
Currently, less than 1% of rental payments are reported into the credit bureaus despite being the largest expense for most Americans. According to HUD and Urban Institute, rental data is one of the strongest predictors of a tenant’s credit risk. Esusu’s model presents a profitable solution for property managers to help keep renters in their homes while equipping financial institutions with the data to underwrite renters with limited credit history.
According to Brittany Henry, Investor at Impact America Fund, low and moderate-income communities of color need financial tools that prioritize their needs. This has long been the case, however, the joint health and economic crises in 2020 have exacerbated the need for innovative solutions. Impact America Fund is excited to invest in Esusu to prioritize the needs of the minority communities.
“The pandemic’s disproportionately harmful impact on underserved communities has reinforced the importance of closing societal divides and ensuring that equal talent has equal access to opportunity. Esusu provides a foundational building block in making that a reality: ensuring that deserving individuals and families have access to affordable housing. As founders who have experienced and overcome this issue firsthand, Abbey and Samir have been purpose-driven from day one and we couldn’t be more excited to help them fulfill their vision,” said Jeff Weiner, Founding Partner at Next Play Ventures and Executive Chairman at LinkedIn.