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Exclusive: Rent payments startup Atlas raises $1.6M

Jun 3, 2024
Illustration of apartment doorbells with an intercom shaped like a dollar sign.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Atlas, a startup developing payments and property management software for independent landlords, raised $1.6 million in pre-seed funding, it tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: The startup gives small landlords better tools for collecting payments, managing properties, and reducing tenant churn.

Zoom in: Investors include Better Tomorrow Ventures, On Deck, Orange DAO, Common Metal, Casey Winters, Deon Nicholas and Blockchain Founders Fund.

  • Atlas was one of eight startups participating in the second cohort of BTV's startup accelerator, The Mint.

How it works: Atlas provides renters with a mobile digital wallet that enables them to pay rent and receive cashback rewards for doing so.

  • The wallet earns a 2% APR and can also be used for peer-to-peer payments so roommates can split rent, utilities or other bills.
  • It takes 2% of a landlord's monthly rent for those services, compared with the 8% to 12% that more traditional property management firms charge.

For landlords, Atlas offers property management tools that go beyond payment collection and include lease management, property listings, tenant communications and accounting.

  • It allows landlords to offer discounts and incentives to renters who renew their leases, pay rent early or refer other tenants to their properties.
  • It also enables payment plans and can extend credit to renters to reduce late payments or evictions.

Between the lines: Besides payments, the startup provides an AI-driven property management agent to facilitate communications with renters, coordinate with contractors and handle tenant issues.

State of play: Bilt Rewards, a startup connecting renters with credit card rewards, raised $200 million earlier this year at a valuation of $3.1 billion.

The other side: But while Bilt is courting large property management firms, Atlas is focused on independent, "mom-and-pop" landlords with a limited number of units, according to CEO Manny Bamfo.

  • "At that scale, you can't really afford to have a front desk person, or security, or onsite maintenance," Bamfo says.

Fun fact: Before building Atlas, Bamfo and co-founder Islam Sharabash were both landlords and renters, so he says they could see both sides of the equation.

  • Their third co-founder, Fred Twum-Acheampong, had worked with Bamfo on his previous startup, Recharge.
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