Rent a house and, with the monthly payment of the contract, be saving to fulfill the dream of owning a house. That was the idea that Argentine Ale Resnik came up with when he moved to Silicon Valley, after finishing his master’s degree at MIT in Boston, and which ended up becoming Belong, one of the leading platforms for permanent rentals in the United States. . Recently, it closed an investment round for US$80 million.
“I always programmed, since I was a kid, and when I was five years old my dad gave me a computer. I created my first company when I was 18 years old and with that I managed to pay for my studies at ITBA. But it wasn’t until I came to live in California that I started with the idea of Belong, partly because of the bad experiences I had renting in Argentina and the United States. I ended up understanding that there is a big problem for tenants and owners,” said the entrepreneur.
The application not only connects supply and demand, but also seeks to get tenants out of the permanent cycle of renting and to achieve the dream of home ownership. With each contract payment, Belong separates 3% of the total in a kind of “forced savings” so that tomorrow the renter can buy their own home. In the same way, a portion of what the owners receive is channeled into savings, so that in the future they continue buying houses to put them up for rent and that there is a greater supply.
“I think it’s something we can do. As we have many owners and they want to sell their properties, Belong facilitates the sale of houses. If the tenants buy the house through the application, we earn a little less with the operation, but they already have a part saved to buy it. It seems to us that it has a social impact and that both owners and tenants feel more invested in that relationship”he explained.
Besides of software, from the platform they offer services for home maintenance. From an internal team, They offer to take care of the plumbing, electrical and renovation of the unit. Born in 2019, three years later they have operations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, New York, Miami and one of the largest offices is in Utah.
Looking at the Argentine rental market, Resnik compared “the extreme regulations” with those that exist in the city of San Francisco and remarked that instead of solving the housing problems, they increased. “When there are many regulations, companies fail to develop, the market ends up more depressed and sales prices go down,” graphic.
A couple of months ago, the company closed a Series C investment round for US$80 million. It was led by Fifth Wall, as well as supported by the Andreeessen Horowitz (A16z) platform, GGV Capital, and Battery Venture, who had already participated in previous rounds.
With the new capital, from Belong they announced that they will open 150 new positions in engineering, product and data science. Currently, a large part of the development and product team is located in Argentina, Mexico and Colombia. “I am Argentine, even though I have been abroad for ten years. For me, the most beautiful thing is to do what I do with talent from my country and Latin America”, hill.