LoftSmart Adds $12.9M for Student Housing Review and Rental Software

LoftSmart, a website that helps college students find off-campus housing, has raised $12.9 million in an equity funding round, according to a securities filing.

New York-based LoftSmart lets students search for and review properties typically rented by students, leaving feedback in each apartment building’s listing on amenities, problems, or other details that might help college kids when making a housing decision. The students can apply for an apartment through the website, too.

Apartment managers have a separate portal, where they can post and edit property listings, and review students’ applications. Students and managers can chat through the website, too. The portal for apartment managers is how LoftSmart makes money—the company charges managers a 4 percent to 8 percent fee if a student books through its website, according to Bloomberg.

The company got its start in 2015 while CEO Sam Bernstein was at University of Virginia. Bernstein dropped out of the school and moved to Austin, TX, to build the business. One night at a bar, he happened into Sundeep Kumar, an engineer at Dell, according to LoftSmart’s website. The pair began collaborating on the business, slowly at first, until they were accepted into the AngelPad accelerator in 2016 in New York, where they then moved the business.

LoftSmart raised $1.4 million in funding in September 2016, which included investment from New York-based Corigin Ventures. The company added another $2.75 million in 2017. Chip Meakem, a co-founder of Tribeca Venture Partners, has been listed as a director of the company since 2017. Bloomberg said LoftSmart had raised $5 million as of July 2017.

Kumar and Bernstein were named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 2018 list for consumer technology. Bernstein won an $100,000 Thiel Fellowship in 2017, the program which awards students who drop out of school to work. Neither co-founder has responded to an e-mailed request for comment.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

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