CUPERTINO — Poplar Homes, a tech-enabled property management company for single family rental (SFR) investors, has raised $53M in Series B funding led by LL Funds with participation from new and existing investors including Crescent Cove Advisors, AGNC Ventures, LLC, the corporate venture capital arm of AGNC Investment Corp., computer scientist Jeff Dean, proptech VC Zain Jaffer, and other seed investors.
The company also announced a series of strategic hires, doubling the size of the team and bringing on key executives including Travis Buchanan as Chief Operating Officer (formerly of American Homes 4 Rent), Scott Breon as Chief Strategy Officer (formerly of Vacasa), Carolyn Landis as Executive Vice President of Corporate Development, and Justin Lieberknecht as Vice President of Marketing (formerly of American Homes for Rent). Poplar also made nine acquisitions of property management companies in multiple high-growth markets across the country ranging in portfolio sizes from 200-1,000 doors. Poplar plans to continue to leverage strategic hires and acquisitions to drive its growth strategy.
For individual property owners, who own 90% of the SFR market, Poplar eliminates the burden of maintaining a rental home so that the investment is as easy as managing a stock portfolio online. With 67% of Poplar’s customers previously self-managing their properties, the company’s platform and service is specifically designed for the 7 million independent SFR landlords. Poplar Homes’ property owners on average own 1.4 homes, making them truly “mom-and-pop” investors that have historically been unable to access the technology and custom-built property management platforms used by large commercial institutions. Using technology designed specifically for the individual property owner, Poplar Homes helps keep tenants in their homes – and paying rent – longer than traditional property management companies.
“Single family rentals are an increasingly valuable asset, and Poplar is at the forefront of bringing institutional operating power to Main Street real estate investors, who are often spending hundreds of hours a year on everything from leasing and maintenance to legal issues and accounting,” said co-founder and CEO Greg Toschi. “We’re well positioned with 7,500 doors and growing to help everyday property owners nationwide improve their margins on their rentals while also adding real-time transparency into the day-to-day operations, robust financial reporting, and guaranteed rent payouts.”
Poplar’s tech-enabled service is setting new standards in the $100 billion fragmented property management industry. Considered the first to offer guaranteed rent and eviction protection to landlords in 2014, Poplar’s cutting-edge approach has found traction with 5,000+ property owners and has 95% adoption of its platform for all maintenance and payment activities. Today, the company has local teams in all 13 major cities it serves, a centralized 24/7 support office, and an Owner Dashboard where customers can track leasing, maintenance, and financial performance real-time. Customers can manage a geographically-dispersed portfolio of rentals with Poplar, benefiting from the company’s institutional systems, while still retaining the local expertise. This year, Poplar will manage over a quarter billion dollars in rent volume with the fastest rent payouts in the industry averaging 1.5 days.
For renters entering the market, Poplar Homes rebalances the power dynamic and makes it easy to get approved, view available properties, and rent a home online. Prospective renters can browse, access virtual tours, get approved and rent instantly through Poplar’s site – all remotely without having to spend the time and money traveling to see homes. Once in the home, renters can easily solve maintenance issues with Poplar’s automated troubleshooting, which leverages 3D imaging and machine learning to resolve 65% of all maintenance issues remotely. Poplar’s StreetCred program also helps renters achieve their own dreams of home ownership – creating future Poplar owners in the process.
“When we lived in the Bay Area CA, Poplar made finding a rental home easy for us, but as with many families, an ultimate goal was to own a home to provide more stability for my family and I,” said James Booth, a Poplar renter turned homeowner. “When Poplar launched the StreetCred program, we were able to use a percentage of the money we paid in rent towards the purchase of our home, even though we ended up buying all the way across the country in Pittsburgh PA. We wouldn’t be where we are today without Poplar Homes.”