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Zumper Raises $46M To Be Airbnb For Long-Term Rentals

Zumper, a marketplace for landlords and renters, has raised $46 million in Series C funding. The round was led by Axel Springer and Stereo Capital with participation from Blackstone, Dawn Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Breyer Capital, Goodwater Capital, and Xfund.

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The company declined to release its valuation, but in 2016, following its $17.6 million Series B, TechCrunch reported that the company was worth north of $100 million. The capital infusion brings Zumper’s total known funds raised to $90 million.

Founded in 2012, Zumper initially launched as a marketplace for renters to search for apartments. Since then the company has expanded its offering, aiming to assist renters and landlords from posting and searching into the lease signing process.

Much like Craigslist (but admittedly much prettier), apartment seekers can set criteria, filters, and search through listings. However, with Zumper users can contact landlords through the app, rather than having to keep track of ten different anonymous email addresses. On the other end, landlords can post their properties for free and view incoming messages within the Zumper dashboard. They can send applications through Zumper, as well as screen applicants with credit and criminal checks through the app. Landlords can also pay to promote their listings through Zumper’s lead program. Zumper also offers a full-service system through which it delivers pre-qualified and vetted rental profiles to landlords. Zumper CEO Anthemos Georgiades told Crunchbase News that the full-service platform now accounts for about 50 percent of its revenue.

Currently, the company competes with other rental booking platforms moving in on the Craigslist market, including ApartmentList and Zillow. On a monthly basis, Zumper claims that it delivers more than 8 million organic visits per month and hosts about a million listings per month on the platform. Even so, Georgiades admits that breaking Craigslist’s hold on the market in certain areas, specifically places like San Francisco, is challenging.

“That Craigslist still exists is a testament to the fact that market-based liquidity is really hard to lose,” Georgiades said. “I think Craigslist has really started to lose that on the East Coast where we send significantly more leads than they do. But on the West Coast they’re still pretty popular.” Zumper acquired PadMapper in February 2016, which is popular among individuals seeking roommates and sublets, a feature that Craigslist has dominated.

The San Francisco-based company plans to hire at least 50 more individuals within the next six months. The financing will be directed toward designing and building out the next feature on the platform, a booking transaction model much like the one Airbnb has implemented for very short-term rentals.

“There’s a lot of operational and product work required […] because no one has solved that problem in our space,” Georgiades explained.

Beyond booking, Georgiades said that in the future Zumper plans to keep landlords on the app by facilitating not only the lease signing and payment process but also monthly rental payments on the app, providing a full end-to-end experience.

Illustration Credit: Li Anne Dias

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