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Next Chapter For Shipt Founder: Landing, A Flexible Leasing Startup That Just Raised $30M

Landing, a startup offering flexible leasing “memberships” for long-term living, announced this morning it has secured $30 million in debt and equity.

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Greycroft led the San Francisco-based company’s $20 million Series A raise, which included participation from Maveron and Abstract Ventures. Landing also announced a $10 million debt facility.

With this funding, Landing has raised a total of $45 million. Former Shipt CEO Bill Smith put in $15 million of his own money to get the company off the ground last year.

His premise behind starting the company was that the dynamics of renting had been “essentially unchanged for decades.” (Shipt, a grocery delivery service started in Alabama, was acquired by Target for $550 million in 2017.) Smith calls Landing an example of an emerging category: “Living as a Service.”

In a Medium blog, Smith wrote how Landing was born out of his own moving experience:

“In 2016, as we were scaling Shipt nationally, my family and I moved to San Francisco. When I arrived, I was immediately struck by how difficult it was to rent an apartment. From countless phone calls and coordinating movers to furnishing an empty space and setting up utilities, it was a massive inconvenience and extremely tedious. Of course, I’m not alone in feeling that frustration.”

How it works

Landing works directly with property managers and apartment owners to offer studio, one and two-bedroom apartments in neighborhoods with features such as easy access to public transportation and shopping. Renters pay $199 a year for the ability to pick up and move whenever they want within the Landing network. They only need to provide a 30-day notice if moving to a non-Landing property. Otherwise, only a three-day notice (when moving to another Landing property) is needed.

The company says it takes care of all the hassles that come with renting, such as setting up utilities. Users move into a fully furnished apartment that has “a kitchen stocked with essentials” and an on-call concierge service. Basically, the apartments are turn-key and move in-ready. Think all-inclusive for apartments. (Landing even designed its own line of furniture.)

“We’re seeing a growing mobile workforce in need of more flexible living solutions that empower them to embrace opportunities as they arise–no matter where they’re located on the map,” he said. “Landing is the first company addressing this.”

The company has brought about 300 units online since it was founded last year.

Landing plans to use its new capital in part to further expand into new markets. Currently, it’s in nine cities: Austin, Birmingham, Ala., Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, D.C. By the end of 2020, the company’s goal is to be offering apartments to its members in 30 cities.

 

“You should never be locked in a lease,” Smith told me. “Renters should have freedom and flexibility. Isn’t that the point of renting?”

Investor POV

For Greycroft Co-founder and Partner Ian Sigalow, Landing is unique in its flexible living membership offering and it meets an important need.

“People’s needs for living are changing–they want to balance flexibility, stability and quality,” he said.

It should be noted that Greycroft also backed Smith at Shipt. As did Maveron. And this funding proves that VCs often back founders as much as they do ideas.

Shipt Founder & CEO Bill Smith

“Bill’s proven success creating premier consumer businesses, such as Shipt, brings us great confidence in his ability to introduce and scale an exceptional product to the market, breathing new life into the real estate industry,” said Dan Levitan, co-founder and partner of Maveron, in a written statement.

Landing is not the first flexible apartment startup we’ve covered. In October, I wrote about how New York-based Blueground, a tech-equipped apartment rental company, raised $50 million in a Series B round co-led by WestCap and Prime Ventures.

Blog Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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