Urban tech startup Venn announced the closure on Tuesday of a $40 million Series A funding round to expand the company’s model of transforming developing neighborhoods into vibrant communities. Investors included Pitango Venture Capital, Hamilton Lane, on behalf of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, and Bridges Israel.
Founded in 2016, by CEO Or Bokobza, CXO (chief experience officer) Chen Avni and CRO David Sherez, Venn says it creates urban revitalization by managing homes, creating shared spaces, and supporting local businesses and initiatives for community engagement on a neighborhood-wide level.
It also facilitates resident-led events through a digital platform and ‘personal assistant’ app
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Venn first launched as an urban renewal experiment in Shapira, a run-down neighborhood in Tel Aviv. It currently also operates in Bushwick, New York and Friedrichshain, Berlin.
“There’s an entire generation of people searching for a more meaningful, connected way of urban living,” Bokobza said in a statement. “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.”
The Tel Aviv-based startup runs on the motto “If they build it, they will stay.” Its unique financial model “reinvests revenue directly back into the neighborhood with small local business support, cultural and creative projects, educational opportunities, safety initiatives, and programs to minimize displacement.”
Venn says it is “reimagining community life in a world where more people than ever are living in cities” and creating “urban neighborhoods that are more affordable but with no less vitality than the downtown core. “
The company said the funding will allow Venn to expand to more cities across the US and Europe, with an aim to bring Venn to “millions of people in 100 cities by 2030,” it said in a statement.
Chemi Peres, managing general partner and co-founder of Pitango, said investing in cities needs to be sustainable and forward-thinking.
“Venn stands out from other real-estate developers or proptech startups in their belief that neighborhoods need a business model,” Peres said. “Venn encourages the sector to view real estate as a long-term ongoing process…We are excited to be a part of Venn’s journey toward positive urban transformation.”
Vice Chairman at Hamilton Lane, investing on behalf of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, said Hamilton Lane is “happy to invest in and support this pioneering model of urban investment.”
Since its launch, the startup says it has backed 35 local businesses and supported 590 neighborhood events attended by almost 12 thousand people.