By Carlo Versano
When thinking about untapped markets, the founders of Domuso, a full-stack software platform for paying rent, looked to the rental market: about 40 percent of Americans rent, and of those, fewer than 2 percent pay their monthly balance on a credit card.
"Our vision was to incorporate credit in a new way," co-founder and COO Michael Lightfoot told Cheddar Wednesday.
So Domuso built out a mobile-centric, direct lending arm that allows borrowers to pay their rent in installment plans if they miss a payment, or if a major life event gets in the way of making rent. Property managers get paid as normal, and Domuso charges variable interest rates depending on credit checks and data analysis. Those rates are in the same ballpark as credit-card interest rates, according to the company.
And for renters who don't require loans but still would like the convenience of being able to pay their rent as they want ー whether via ACH, or check capture technology, or on a credit card, ー Domuso offers "digital full-service financial optionality," Lightfoot said. That amounts to something unprecedented for renters: flexibility.
For landlords ーwho need to adopt the Domuso platform for any of this to work ー the value proposition is that it removes the risk of not getting paid, and they can automate more parts of the day-to-day business of running a property, according to Lightfoot.
The company announced in November that the number of properties using the Domuso platform increased 400 percent year-over-year, to 300,000, and that it has raised nearly $6 million thus far in its quest to disrupt the rather quotidian task of paying rent.
With the rental market likely to remain tight with more millennials opting to rent instead of buy, Lightfoot says the network effects from more widespread adoption could make Domuso "the future of rent."
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