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Serena Williams backed fintech Esusu hits unicorn status, procures $130M to bridge racial wealth gap

esusu

Financial service plays a crucial role in one’s life. And credit is fundamental to financial stability and upward mobility, but financial exclusion makes the American dream unattainable for millions. 

Each month, over 109M Americans spend on average $1,100 in rent, which is often their biggest monthly household expense. Despite this, over 90% of renters do not get credit for paying rent on time, leading to financial exclusion. 

Meet Esusu

And here’s where New York-based Esusu bridges this gap. The platform reports on-time rent payments to the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, helping renters improve their credit scores to unlock quality financial products.

Recently, the company announced that it has raised a $130M funding in a Series B round, at a valuation of $1B. 

Who backed?

The round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 with participation from Jones Feliciano Family Office, Lauder Zinterhofer Family Office, Motley Fool Ventures, Schusterman Foundation, SoftBank Group’s SB Opportunity Fund, Related Companies, and Wilshire Lane Capital. 

This fundraise makes Esusu one of the few Black-owned startups to reach unicorn status both in the United States and globally. The funding round comes six months after raising a $10M in Series A round last July led by Motley Fool Ventures Managing Partner Ollen Douglass.

The company intends to use the funding to scale the team, accelerate growth through product innovation, and build the most comprehensive financial health platform in the market.

The company was founded in 2018 with the premise that no matter where people are from, their skin color, or their financial identity, it should never determine where they end up in life.

“We founded Esusu with the vision of using data to bridge the racial wealth gap and create more equitable financial opportunities for low-to-moderate-income households in this country,” said Abbey Wemimo and Samir Goel, Co-Founders of Esusu. “By establishing and improving credit scores, we are strengthening financial identities while empowering individuals, families, and communities to meet their long-term financial goals.”

Existing investors include Concrete Rose Capital, The Equity Alliance, Impact America Fund, Next Play Ventures, Serena Ventures, Sinai Ventures, and TypeOne Ventures.

How was Esusu born?

Abbey Wemimo and Samir Goel founded Esusu after experiencing financial exclusion firsthand as they grew up in immigrant families in the US without a financial or credit footprint. 

As a result, they built the company with a mandate to empower the 45 million Americans who don’t have credit scores. 

Rent reporting platform

Esusu’s rent reporting platform captures rental payment data and reports it to credit bureaus to boost credit scores. 

The platform allows renters to build and establish their credit scores while helping property owners mitigate against initiating evictions, powered by differentiated data and insights.

Esusu is available in 2.5M homes representing over $3B in Gross Lease Volume nationwide, claims the company. The company works with 35% of the largest landlords on the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) list. 

Partners

Partners include BH Companies, Camden Property Trust, Cushman & Wakefield (formerly Pinnacle), GoldOller, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Harbor Group, L+M Development Partners, Jonathan Rose Companies, Morgan Properties, Related Companies, Starwood Capital Group, Stoneweg, Winn Residential, and more. 

The company recently announced a joint initiative with Freddie Mac Multifamily in November, in which Freddie Mac will provide closing cost credits to its borrowers using Esusu.

“By using alternative data to enhance credit scores, Esusu can open up financial opportunities for millions of underserved American households,” said Vikas Parekh, Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers. “We believe that Esusu has built a leading rental reporting and financial platform through partnerships with renters, property owners, and lenders that can become the central data hub for consumer financial health. We are thrilled to partner with Samir Goel, Abbey Wemimo and the team to support their vision to generate equitable financial access for everyone.”

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