Company Updates

The story behind our $12m Series A

June 30, 2022
Rowland Hobbs
CEO, Co-founder

I’m thrilled to announce our $12m Series A equity investment led by RET Ventures Housing Impact Fund, with followers including Enterprise Community Partners, Second Century Ventures, and Operator Stack. Every one of our seed investors participated in the round including Shadow Ventures,, Olive Tree Ventures, and Bluefield Capital.

See detailed coverage of the announcement in TechCrunch, The Real Deal, Forbes, HousingWire, Inman, Fortune, PYMNTS, finLedger, Fintech Futures, Finextra, Crowdfund Insider, IBS Intelligence, Globe St, Multifamily Executive, Strictly VC, Fintech Global, AlleyWatch, and FinSMEs.

Why now? What does this investment achieve?

We announce this milestone for Stake in the middle of a highly volatile economy. Renters are struggling and the old rules for rentals no longer promise the same returns.

This is why Stake’s mission — of wealthier, happier, and more resilient renters — is relevant today more than ever. We see this not just an investment, but a coalition of mission, impact, real estate, and FinTech experts that brings Stake’s mission onto a larger stage.

  • With RET alone, Stake can reach a network of 9 of the top NMHC Owners and Operators, and 4 out of the 7 public multifamily REITs. One of the first investments from RET’s ESG-focused Housing Impact Fund, we couldn’t ask for a more mission aligned partnership.
  • Stake is also one of first venture investments of Enterprise Community Partners. A not-for-profit with an incredible 40 year history, Enterprise has created or preserved over 873,000 affordable homes in all 50 states.
  • Second Century Ventures taps into the National Association of REALTORS® – a 1.4M member strong trade association.
  • Operator Stack are founders with deep FinTech know-how who can help us scale the next generation of financial infrastructure for rentals.

What we’ve learned

Stake’s vision — the financial infrastructure for the next generation of rentals — aims to transform today’s inefficient revenue, payments, CRM, and renter engagement technology, saving money for owners, and putting more money in the wallets of America’s renters. We call it Return On Rent™. We do not believe debt or loans are what renters need, but rather we believe in financial savings for renters. Here are the four first principles we learned as we created the first Cash Back program for renters:

  1. Listening. We started by showing apartments in New York City. We tested many loyalty solutions to renters as they searched for and chose their next home: Loyalty points to earn. Rewards with coupons. Equity for a home. Crypto for your building! Don’t make me get out the old decks, concepts, and designs. We likely cycled through a new concept monthly. But we listened to see what stuck, and what didn’t. What we heard from one renter summarized all the comments in four words: “It’s the money, stupid.” Cash Back hit the mark. But what’s important, as we build a company, is to keep listening to who matters most: the renter.
  2. Do the hard things first. A rather famous New York real estate tycoon was yelling. We had worked hard to get this meeting, and he had gone from friendly to full-throated fit. Testing what worked with renters was one thing, asking owners to pay for the Cash Back was another. But here is what we learned: You have to do the hard work first. Without the willingness to fail, we wouldn’t have hit on the four pillars of what we are building now: better yield through more efficiency, smarter on-time payments, intuitive and easy renter engagement, and banking services for renters. Together, this now saves owners $2.11 for every $1 they spend on Cash Back. Hard? Yes. Worth it? 100%.
  3. Community: Every week, I send out an update to our advisers, investors, and early client partners called, “Sunday Stake.” We simply wouldn’t be here without the folks who have believed in our mission, to create wealth for renters, since the early days. Investing in community matters.
  4. Restless patience: Real estate isn’t going to change overnight. The vision of a win-win — where owners and renters get the Return on Rent they deserve — will take time. Leases are 12 months long at least. We are dealing with people’s homes, physical structures, and mortgages and financing that takes decades to complete. “Growth hacking” won’t get us to our vision; patience to learn — with restless minds — during the transformation will.

Come join us — as a renter, resident, owner and operator, employee, partner, or advocate — we are on a mission to make wealthier, happier, and more resilient renters.

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