Days out of Y Combinator, venture capitalists valued ZeroDown, a financial and real estate technology startup, at $150 million. The company had the perfect match of experienced founders and eye-popping ambitions to carve a new path to home ownership.
“I think we will be known as a company that makes it easier to buy a home in every single aspect,” ZeroDown co-founder and chief executive officer Abhijeet Dwivedi tells TechCrunch.
The startup, which has raised $30 million in total equity funding and more than $110 million in debt financing to help Bay Area residents make down payments on homes, now plans to take on Zillow and Redfin with its new home search engine.
The business, founded by former Zenefits chief operating officer Dwivedi, Laks Srini, Zenefits’ former chief technology officer, and Hari Viswanathan, a former Zenefits staff engineer, was founded last year and quickly landed backing from Sam Altman, followed by consumer technology venture capital fund Goodwater Capital. Targeting those in the Bay Area, where costs of home ownership are amongst the highest in the country, ZeroDown charges $10,000 to purchase your home outright and front your entire down payment.
ZeroDown is constructing a new path to home ownership
That is, however, if your home is priced between approximately $550,000 and $1,750,000 and you have an individual or combined salary of more than $200,000, stock options and some money put away (or some variation of this). If you meet these criteria, ZeroDown will purchase your home and lease it to you. The goal is to eliminate one of the largest pain points of home-buying, the down payment, and facilitate more real estate purchases.
The company says it intends to expand the service outside the greater San Francisco area to cities like Denver, Seattle and Austin, but given the $10,000 price tag and large population of wealthy tech workers in the Bay, the business could flourish in this area without expanding.
With the launch of its home search engine, Dwivedi says users will be able to learn about more than just the square footage of a home. The tool tells users whether a potential home is naturally lit, if it has a large backyard, if it has a decent commute to your work and to various schools and, most importantly, whether it’s dog friendly.
ZeroDown has also partnered with a number of San Francisco-based tech companies, including Pinterest, Postmates and Square, to provide their employees a rebate if they choose to purchase a home using ZeroDown.
“We know first-hand what companies need to support a great quality of life and keep their employees in the Bay Area,” Dwivedi said. “A part of that is loving where you live — feeling part of a local community.”