Israeli urban tech start-up Venn has announced the closing of a $40m funding round, which will allow it to expand into more cities.
Israeli start-up Venn has revealed that it has raised $40m in Series A funding to help it enhance its R&D capabilities, refine its model for “urban revitalisation” and expand into more cities around the world. Currently, it operates in the US, Germany and Israel, and has set a goal that it will operate in 100 cities by 2030.
Investors include Pitango Venture Capital, Hamilton Lane on behalf of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, and Bridges Israel.
Venn was founded in 2016 as an urban renewal experiment in Shapira, an “underserved” neighbourhood in south Tel Aviv. It provides leases to commercial tenants as well as co-living facilities that offer private and shared living and working arrangements. It also provides an app that local residents can use to order groceries and sign up for social activities.
“When it comes to cities that are becoming homes to more people every day, investment must be sustainable and forward-thinking,” said Chemi Peres, managing general partner and co-founder of Pitango.
“Venn stands out from other real-estate developers or proptech start-ups in their belief that neighbourhoods need a better business model, whereby social return on business is just as important as return on investment.
“Venn encourages the sector to view real estate as a long-term, ongoing process, and community engagement is the only way to sustainably transform developing neighbourhoods. We are excited to be a part of Venn’s journey toward positive urban transformation.”
According to the company’s 2018 impact report, it has supported 35 local businesses and created 66 jobs. The start-up claims that its users are, on average, happier and less lonely when compared to city residents.
Yet some critics have argued that Venn could also expedite the already existing problem of gentrification in urban spaces. They have also levelled complaints about the size of some of the Venn units, some of which offer 2m by 3m rooms for residents to share for almost $300 a month.