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Will Smith and Jay Z Start Up Company To Help Low Income Renters

Landis Technologies, a start up that helps renters build credit until they can buy a place, is teaming up with Will Smith, Jay Z and other investors to raise $165 million for low-income renters. Jay Z joined the group of investors via Roc Nation, and Will Smith joined with Dreamers VC.

Founded by Cyril Berdugo and Tom Petit, the New York based company aims to cater to would-be homeowners who can’t afford to buy. the company purchases a house and rents it to the client until they can qualify for a mortgage. The client can buy it back at a predetermined price up to two years after the initial acquisition.

Financial inclusion is really important to us,” said Berdugo. “An aspect of Landis that we’re very proud to be a part of is wealth creation for low-income Americans.

The $165 million being raised will include debt and equity, and is reportedly enough to acquire nearly 1,000 homes in that range. The company’s goal is to convert roughly more than half of its clients from renters to buyers, a rate that would far exceed traditional rent-to-own companies in the U.S.

The business operates in 11 states including Alabama, Kentucky and South Carolina. The company’s typical client is a first-time homebuyer with a budget between $110,000 and $400,000.

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