Zumper raises $46 million to make its name in the long term rental market

United States: Zumper has raised $46 million in Series C funding as it tries to make its name as the Airbnb for long term rentals.

Zumper, which launched in 2012 initially as a marketplace for renters to search for apartments, has expanded in recent years to help renters and landlords in posting and searching in the lease signing process.

The company has not disclosed its valuation, but after its $17.6 million Series B funding in 2016, the company was reported to be worth over $100 million. The financial input therefore brings Zumper’s total known funds raised to $90 million.

While Zumper allows it users to set criteria, filter and search through listings, it works with renters contacting landlords directly through the app, to avoid communicating with anonymous email addresses.

Meanwhile, landlords can use Zumper to post their properties for free and view incoming messages within the site’s main dashboard. They send applications and screen applicants with credit and criminal checks through the app.

The app also allows landlords to pay to promote their listings through Zumper’s lead program if they wish via a full-service system through which it delivers vetted rental profiles to landlords.

Zumper CEO Anthemos Georgiades said the full-service platform now accounts for about 50 per cent of its total revenue. He also claimed that Zumper delivers over eight million organic visits per month from search engines and displays upwards of a million listings each month on the platform.

This is important when Zumper is competing with other rental booking platforms and is trying to break into the heavyweight Craiglist market, which has a stronghold in San Francisco. However, Georgiades admitted that it would be challenging to achieve that.

Georgiades said: “That Craigslist still exists is a testament to the fact that market-based liquidity is really hard to lose. 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.”

The San Francisco-based company plans to hire more than 50 more individuals in the next six months, which will allow it to build a booking transaction model akin to the one Airbnb has implemented for shorter-term rentals.

Georgiades said: “There’s a lot of operational and product work required because no one has solved that problem in our space.”

Georgiades added that in the future, Zumper intends to keep landlords on the app by facilitating the lease signing and payment process as well as monthly rental payments on the app to enhance the customer experience.