Apartment List’s Valuation Hits $600 Million Amid Pandemic Boost

Apartment List, a rental platform, has raised $50 million in a funding round led by Janus Henderson Investors. It roughly doubled its prior valuation to more than $600 million.

The investment comes as Apartment List’s business gains momentum.

“Our business is predicated on motion, and in 2020 we became profitable,” Chief Executive Officer John Kobs said in an interview, adding that the coronavirus pandemic accelerated decision-making by renters, who may have been motivated to downsize after job losses, get their own place or move in with a partner. “Mobility stood out this year as more users on our platform looked to change their living situation.”

The startup earns a fee only when a property is rented, unlike competitors such as Craigslist and StreetEasy.

Apartment List helped more than 175,000 renters find new homes this year, including in Texas cities such as Houston, Dallas and Austin, as well as Denver, Phoenix, Minneapolis and Charlotte, among others, Kobs said. For cities previously known for being supply-constrained, such as San Francisco and New York, the pendulum had swung, he added.

“Apartment List’s unique value proposition -- at the intersection of an industry we find attractive, a supportive macroeconomic backdrop and a huge market opportunity ahead -- makes this a really unique and interesting investment for us,” Janus Henderson portfolio manager Denny Fish said in an emailed statement.

“Rentals is the last remaining classified category not yet won by a modern-day startup,” said Dana Stalder a board member and partner at Matrix Partners, which has previously invested in the company. “Apartment List is well-positioned to lead the charge.”

Other backers include Allen & Co., Canaan Partners, Tenaya Capital and Quantum Partners LP, a fund managed by Soros Fund Management LLC.

The San Francisco-based startup, which has 5.5 million units and more than 30 million registered users, will use its fresh fundraising to build out its sales effort and attract potential renters to its platform, Kobs said.

A public listing is “realistic” in the next two years, Kobs said, noting that the company would consider all options; namely a traditional initial public offering or a merger with a special purpose acquisition company.

“Being public has always been a goal of mine, and there’s a lot of appetite from institutional investors to support a company like Apartment List.” Kobs said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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