Nigeria-based rent-reporting and credit building data solutions startup Esusu raised $10m in a Series A funding round led by Motley Fool Ventures and Tennis star Serena Williams’ Serena Ventures.
The round, which brought the startup’s total fund raised to $14m, also saw participation from Predictive VC, The Equity Alliance, and other top angel investors. Some of the firm’s previous investors include Global Good Fund, Next Play Ventures, and Zeal Capital.
This Series A financing will enable Esusu to double down on growth through product innovation, top talent recruitment and building the most comprehensive financial health platform in the market for low to medium-income families.
Co-founded in 2016 by Abbey Wemimo and Samir Goel, Esusu aims to provide financial solutions for low-to-middle income consumers. Esusu reports rental payments to major credit bureaus and allows renters to build their credit histories.
Approximately 41 million families live in apartments, according to the National Multi-Family Housing Council, and 45 million Americans do not have a credit score, according to a 2020 report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Esusu uses its platform to record and report rental payments to the largest credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.
According to Serena Williams, “Esusu is really focused on credit building and creating pathways to financial inclusion for not only working families but for individuals as well.
“Their services also make rent reporting seamless – finally giving renters credit for what often is their largest expense every month. Last year, of course, was the COVID-19 pandemic. It created an unemployment and housing crisis that left many renters struggling to make their rental payments on time, and they were often facing eviction. We saw Esusu respond immediately with rent relief efforts – creating zero-interest housing stability loans to address this problem head-on.”
Esusu claims it is available in 2 million homes representing over $2.4bn in Gross Lease Value in the US. Esusu now works with 30% of the biggest landlords on the National Multifamily Housing Council. Its partners include Goldman Sachs, Related Companies, Winn Residential, Camden Property Trust and Starwood Capital Group.
Motley Fool Ventures MD Ollen Douglass commented, “Esusu is an excellent example of an innovative fintech company leveraging technology to deliver scalable and much-needed financial solutions for underserved populations. From reliable rent reporting to zero-interest housing stability funds, their inclusive credit–building offerings can unlock access to credit for low-to-medium income households across the country.”
According to the founders, an individual’s colour or financial identity shouldn’t determine where they end up in life.
Williams added, “We invested in Esusu’s mission and have a strong conviction in the potential of this space. The tech-enabled model really creates win-win situations for stakeholders from renters to landlords. Our significant investment in Esusu will help the company scale and unlock more financial opportunity for people.”
Williams is no stranger to the investment world. She joined a $5m pre-Series A funding round for Bitcoin rewards company Lolli in an effort to champion financial inclusivity and empowerment in her community and beyond. She is hardly the only celebrity to pump in money in FinTechs. From NBA stars such as Stephen Curry and Carmelo Anthony to National Football League players Larry Fitzgerald and Kelvin Beachum Jr., a slew of celebrities have turned FinTech investors in the past decade.
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