Bilt Rewards, a New York-based startup that operates a loyalty platform where users can earn point on rent payments, has more than doubled its valuation to $3.1 billion – and added NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and former American Express CEO Kevin Chenault to its board.
Led by former Tinder executive Ankur Jain, the New York-based startup scored $200 million in its latest funding round led by investment firm General Catalyst, the company said Wednesday.
Eldridge, Left Lane Capital, Camber Creek and Prosus Ventures also participated in the round.
Bilt generates its revenue by serving as the payment processor for rental firm partners and by taking a cut of customer spending. The firm also has a branded Mastercard that allows users to rack up points on certain transactions.
Chenault, who is known for helping to pioneer rewards programs at American Express, is joining Bilt as chairman of the board. He is also chairman and managing director at General Catalyst. Goodell is serving as an independent director.
“There’s nobody in the world who understands this type of rewards platform, candidly, better than Ken,” Jain said in an interview with The Post. “He built it with local merchants back in the day and now we get to create a version of that focused really on neighborhood and local because of our platform with the apartment buildings.”
Jain described the NFL as “the largest hometown loyalty company in the world” and said Goodell could provide valuable guidance on how Bilt can effectively tap “neighborhood pride and loyalty” while expanding its rewards program to local communities.
Bilt plans to use the freshly raised funds to fuel an ongoing “strategic expansion” of its “Neighborhood Rewards” program, which allows users to earn points and other benefits through transactions at local businesses.
Jain cited plans to expand the service to more restaurants as well as grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and coffee shops over time. Bilt is also eyeing further expansion into single-family and condo housing, as well as a planned entrance into the mortgage market later this year.
“Rental and mortgage payments consume 30% of household income on average in the US,” Chenault said in a statement. “Bilt is transforming this market by empowering and rewarding renters and homeowners for their monthly payments and everyday spend with local merchants.”
Goodell described Bilt as an innovator in the rewards space, empowering the next generation to turn rent and expenses into unforgettable experiences.”
“I am proud to join a board that shares the NFL’s values of hometown loyalty while innovating and delivering for its members,” the commissioner added.
The company is active in all 50 states and has “hundreds” of housing firms as partners, including more than half of the top 50 residential owners and operators, according to Jain. Members of its “rental alliance” include industry giants such as Related Companies, Starwood and Cushman & Wakefield.
Less than two years after its debut, the startup is profitable, with nearly $20 billion in annual spending by its members. Bilt has about 125 employees and is not planning to boost headcount during its expansion, Jain said.
While Bilt launched less than three years ago, Jain said the idea behind the platform began percolating shortly after he stepped down as Tinder’s vice president of product in 2017.
The 33-year-old said he grew “so frustrated” by the number of Silicon Valley startups that were focused on categories such as cryptocurrency, electric scooters or juice presses rather than the broader issues affecting the region, such as housing affordability.
“We have of the biggest housing affordability crises, healthcare crises, people can’t pay off their student loans and people are wasting all their time on crypto and scooters,” Jain said. “We have to focus on the big challenges facing our generation. If we did that, my hypothesis was that those are the real trillion-dollar markets — not the shiny object of the moment.”