ven rich San Francisco residents can’t buy a home.
Sure, if your startup just went public, you might be amongst a small class of people able to put in all-cash offers over the asking price. But most people living in the Bay Area, even those with six-figure salaries, only aspire to become homeowners.
“Owning things is a pretty central idea to the American enterprise,” said Abhijeet Dwivedi, the co-founder and chief executive officer of ZeroDown, a new startup hoping to make home ownership in the Bay Area a reality for more people by combining the security of ownership with the flexibility of renting. “Anyone who has gotten rich in the last 240 years has done so by owning things.”
ZeroDown, as the name suggests, couples technology and a debt-fueled real estate fund to allow home-buyers to forgo the traditional down payment process required to purchase a home. The company, which charges a $10,000 fee per home, is a graduate of the Y Combinator startup accelerator’s winter cohort. Today, it’s announcing a $30 million round of capital from former YC president Sam Altman and consumer technology venture capital fund Goodwater Capital.
Earlier this year, ZeroDown had the VC community buzzing. At just a few months old, the San Francisco-based startup was already fielding offers from funds. Why? Because its founding team is made up of Dwivedi, the former chief operating officer of Zenefits; Laks Srini, Zenefits’ former chief technology officer; and Hari Viswanathan, a former Zenefits staff engineer.
Ultimately, the trio raised a bucket of capital at a valuation north of $70 million, sources confirm to TechCrunch, (the company declined to comment on its valuation). That’s quite the vote of confidence for a capital-intensive real estate business but the founders reputation preceded them and early backing from Altman, who invested before the company decided to enter YC, peaked the curiosity of early-stage VCs. Read more