Funnel Leasing Closes $36.5M Series B Round

RET Ventures leads funding for the renter-centric proptech leasing platform

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Looking to create an innovative renter management platform, renter-centric proptech startup Funnel Leasing announced Tuesday that it has closed a $36.5 million Series B round, led by RET Ventures.

The oversubscribed round marks RET’s largest total investment in any one proptech company in its portfolio, said Tyler Christiansen, CEO of Funnel. RET was joined in the round by Camden Property Trust and Morgan Properties, which are current users of Funnel’s platform.

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“RET is leading multiple rounds through Funnel because they see the opportunity to really create a new category within the space,” Christiansen said. “Historically, the industry as a whole has been referred to as property management, and therefore the largest software players are property management software.

“What RET’s limited partners, in particular their largest anchor limited partners, have seen in Funnel is the opportunity to redefine the space as renter management,” Christiansen added. “So in addition to the strong financial growth that Funnel has had, the limited partners who guide a lot of the strategy at RET have decided to double down on Funnel as not only a [customer relationship management platform] but as a true renter management system that will live alongside their back-office ledger property management systems.”

Founded in 2010, the Lutz, Fla.-based Funnel is a marketing, communications and leasing platform that seeks to streamline every stage of the rental life cycle. It works to create efficiencies for property teams and to improve the apartment leasing process through automation and added conveniences for renters.

“Our conversations with strategic investors have increasingly shown the need for a more streamlined leasing process that puts the prospective resident in control of the process and allows for self-touring, omnichannel communications and online leasing so that an apartment can be leased at any hour of the day at the prospective renter’s convenience,” said John Helm, a partner at RET. “The pandemic accelerated this trend. In this environment, Funnel has become one of the most valuable proptech tools, sought by clients and tech partners because of its location at the top of the sales funnel.”

The software differentiates itself from legacy vendors through its “renter-centric” approach that places a renter — not a property — at the center of every interaction, and the funding will help Funnel “expedite our product delivery and add more tools to facilitate a cyclical customer life cycle,” Christiansen said.

“There are no tools designed to manage the renter through their entire life cycle,” he added.

RET is the first industry-backed early-stage venture fund focused on helping build “rent tech” — technology for multifamily and single-family rental real estate. RET’s base of limited partners includes some of the largest real estate investment trusts and private real estate owner-operators and managers, who control some 2.4 million rental units.

“[RET’s] decision to invest in a company almost always follows a successful deployment of the technology at the limited partners [LPs],” Christiansen said. “Our relationship didn’t start as an investment relationship. It started with multiple LPs of RET utilizing the Funnel [customer relationship management] at their apartments, which then led RET to say, ‘hey, these limited partners are seeing great results. We would like to fund Funnel to continue to see more growth for our limited partners and the industry as a whole.’”

Other investors in the Series B round were Wilshire Lane Capital, Trinity Ventures and Camber Creek. Additional strategic investment was provided by RET Ventures Limited Partners MAA, Essex Property Trust and Cortland Partners.

Philip Russo can be reached at prusso@commercialobserver.com.