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citybiz+ Real Estate Startup Renew Raises over $8 Million in Seed Round

April 12, 2023
Rob Hayden

Renew, a New York startup developing software to manage tenants and speed up rental renewals, emerged out of stealth on Tuesday, and announced the closing of a seed round of over $8 million.

Investors include Santa Monica, Calif.-based Upfront Ventures; Dallas, Texas-based Goldcrest Capital; New York-based Allen & Company LLC; and Los Angeles-based Walkabout Ventures. Apartment operator RXR and executives of another real estate firm, WC Smith, also participated.

Focus on Retention

"It is thrilling to finally share with the industry what we have been quietly working on, and perfecting, for the last couple of years," said Renew co-founder and CEO Rob Hayden, who previously held a senior executive position at renters-insurance startup Jetty.

Founded by Hayden and his former Jetty colleague, Kevin Murphy, Renew has developed software that integrates with leading property management systems, giving apartment operators a centralized tool to manage tenants and potentially enhance retentions. Renew claims that renewals, for example, can be done in four minutes on its platform.

"By bringing modern technology and holistic thinking to this often-neglected component of the resident lifecycle, apartment operators can take advantage of an invaluable opportunity to retain residents, generate new revenue and increase asset value," he said.

"We noticed a lot of people talking about building long-term relationships with residents, but they had no plan for how to combat the fact that basically 50% of their customers move every year," Hayden said in a Q&A on Renew’s website. "Essentially, everything broke down at renewal."

Renew also named an advisory board consisting of apartment industry members. They include:

  • Holli Beckman, chief marketing officer at WC Smith;
  • Daryl Smith, chief marketing officer at Kettler;
  • Greg Lozinak, a former C-suite executive with a strong track record in multifamily investment management; and
  • Jake Holzman, senior vice president, operations, at Imagine Homes Management.

"Renew has had a powerfully beneficial impact on our communities," said Cindy Fisher, president of Kettler, which is implementing Renew’s solution across its portfolio after completing a successful pilot project.

‘140% Return on Investment’

"During our pilot project, we were able to reduce the workload of our onsite associates, increase resident engagement during the renewal process and speed up the time to a renewal decision," she added. "At the same time, we were able to assess residents’ likeliness of renewal and to gather actionable insights into the reasons why they moved out."

Connecticut-based Hamilton Point Investments, which uses Renew across its multifamily portfolio, claimed a 140% return on its investment in Renew.

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"Renew’s dynamic pricing gives me another powerful tool to incentivize residents to make decisions quickly," said Tyler Billings, director of revenue and marketing at Hamilton Point. The tool gave us 140% return on our investment by speeding up renewals and other features, he added.

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