Local tech startup Rhove is creating a new financial services category that provides value for renters. Rhove will launch its tenant rewards program “Rent to Earn” with Kaufman Development’s Gravity Project in Franklinton.
When renting can feel like throwing away money every month, Rhove will offer a dollar-for-dollar monthly savings match from the property owner, up to 2.5 percent of an individual’s rent value. The program also give users access to other rewards and benefits, such as partnerships that accelerate the path to first-time homeownership.
“We are closing the gap between renting and owning,” says Rhove Founder & CEO Calvin Cooper. “Now, more than ever, young adults are struggling to save due to rising housing costs, student debt and other factors. Consumers are also increasingly embracing solutions outside of traditional financial services. We are developing a suite of products that accelerate the path to meeting financial goals, such as homeownership, by helping people capture more value from their rent.”
Gravity renters stand to receive between $330 – $550 in matched money every year. Breaking down the deal for a studio, average rent runs $1,110 per month. If a tenant contributes the full 2.5 percent, installments of $27.50 per month add up to $330 for the year. Add in Gravity’s contribution and a renter has a $660 yearly balance. The average one-bedroom renter stands to see a $900 yearly balance, and the two-bedroom renter a $1,100 yearly balance. The balance is at a Rhove user’s discretion to spend or save.
The program has incentives to keep renters in place for longer. For the first year, renters earn 50 percent of their match every month and unlock the remaining half when renewing their lease. In year two, those percentages up to 75-25, and in years three and beyond, 100 percent of the match is available every month. If a renter does choose to move on, their Rhove dollars go with them, no matter what.
Incentivizing retention is part of the appeal for property owners like Kaufman Development. In addition to reducing turnover expenses, Rhove touts attracting more tenants with lower marketing costs.
Cooper launches the technology startup after a career in venture capital as former director and venture partner at NCT Ventures. He’s joined in Rhove by Kaufman Development Founder & CEO Brett Kaufman as a co-founder and investor.
“We believe that communities built around wellness, philanthropy, sustainability and innovation can change the world,” Kaufman says. “Rhove is a value-add to our renters. By helping our tenants in a more holistic way, we strengthen both our business and our community at large.”