After coming out from anonymity to win the 2019 GeekAwards “Startup of the Year”, Israeli startup Venn has recently announced the closing of its Series B funding round, bringing in $60 million from Dovi Frances’ Group 11. Others who participated in the round included Hamilton Line, Pitango, Bridges Israel. The company has raised $100 million to date.
Just like how WeWork introduced the concept of shared working spaces, Venn wants to revolutionize the concept of community. The company’s platform supports communication between homeowners, renters, tenants, landlords, and more. Based on the data collected from the community, the platform knows to send landlords insight so that they can adjust their space according to the community’s needs.
Tenants can use the platform to initiate events, open discourse, sell services and products, as well as find different services for their houses, such as cleaning, laundry, different delivery services, and more. The idea is to create a sustainable community which can be implemented around the world.
Also as part of a Venn powered community, residents have access to different communal work spaces, music rooms, shared roofs and yards.
Venn’s neighborhood management platform integrates with “all existing real estate and asset management systems.” According to the company, the platform can be used to create different functions that connect resident rent payments, maintenance, communication with their landlords, and others.
Too similar to WeWork?
Venn began its journey as a sort of WeWork, purchasing the real estate where the company operates. While chatting with Geektime, CEO and co-founder, OR Bokobza, explained that the company modified its concept, and started to focus on the technology: “Marketing our product through SaaS has allowed us to say goodbye to the actual buying and renting of real estate. Despite this model accompanying us through the company’s first years, it slowed us down. Now, by strictly selling our tech, we open room for exponential growth.”
Bokobza mentions that even though many people spent 2020 curled up at home, the global pandemic actually played in favor of the company’s concept: “COVID significantly accelerated the sector, and we saw a real need for a technological solution to help support neighborhoods and communities, for both tenants and landlords.”
"We love the city,” Bokobza noted, “It keeps us energized and inspired. But we think it can be done differently – and better.” He added that “there's an entire generation of people searching for a more meaningful, connected way of urban living. Somewhere within the madness of city life, they want more time to see friends, explore interests, and make an impact. Venn is reinventing the urban neighborhood by equipping our community of young urbanites with the tools they need to connect, collaborate and build a home beyond their houses."
There are a lot of similarities between you and WeWork, and we all know how that ended up. What are you doing to ensure that Venn’s path is different?
Bokobza: “Uber, at the beginning, purchased vehicles for its drivers in order to prove its business model, all while developing the software product. Similarly, Venn had to purchase and rent locations to prove its model. Today, Venn markets and sells strictly technology solutions to landlords and tenants, opening exponential growth opportunities as Urban living continues to rise. WeWork, on the other hand, continued to focus on buying assets and remodeling, rather than cementing its tech as a key product.”
Neighborhoods using the platform retain residents
Venn was founded by David Sherez, Chen Avni, and Or Bokobza. The trio met following their military service, when they moved into Shapira neighborhood in Tel Aviv, where they witnessed the hidden potential. As of today, the company has offices in Tel Aviv, Brooklyn, and Berlin. According to the company, its 2020 numbers showed that tenants who participated in at least 2 programs or events via the platform have testified to a 90% chance they would stay in the neighborhood. Additionally, the company claims that it has seen a 37% drop in resident bounce rate and a 20% rise in new residents for neighborhoods and communities that have implemented the platform.
After experiencing 1,200% growth, the company said that it plans on expanding its platform into 5 new cities in the U.S. during 2021. As of today, Venn employs a team of 60 people at its Israeli R&D center.