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NBA star Andre Iguodala on Apartment List investment: 'It's a rare thing you see' with startups

Melody Hahm
·West Coast Correspondent
·3 min read
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As more Americans get priced out of homeownership, they continue to extend their time apartment hunting and hopping. With over one-third of the U.S. population renting their home, the category has seen massive growth during the pandemic, and Apartment List, a San Francisco-based startup, has benefited from this trend.

“We actually saw record numbers over the last decade. The most searches ever for apartments was this summer. And so, it's been really incredible. It's proven that consumers in America are still willing to move, even in the midst of a pandemic. We find ourselves at this intersection of a lot of mobility in America,” Apartment List founder and CEO John Kobs, who first founded the company in 2011, said in an interview with Yahoo Finance on Wednesday.

After announcing a $50 million Series D round of funding last month, the company has raised an additional $10 million led by high-profile names including the actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas, singer Lizzo, and sports legends Alex Rodriguez and Andre Iguodala.

The platform, which houses 5.5 million listings and has 30 million registered users, currently has a $600 million valuation and logged a profitable 2020.

The profitable piece was an immediate point of attraction for NBA star Iguodala. “It's a rare thing you see with startup companies. Even when companies who have IPO-ed or who are public traded companies are never profitable. So what John is able to do, he's done in such a quick amount of time, is an amazing thing,” he said in an interview with Yahoo Finance on Wednesday.

Iguodala has made a name for himself on the basketball court and an early tech investor with a portfolio boasting Zoom (ZM), PagerDuty (PD), Data Dog (DDOG), Locker Room and AllBirds, to name a few. He is also a general partner at Catalyst Fund, which has a primary focus on Black, Latinx, and female founders. He also co-founded The Players Technology Summit, an annual conference that focuses on connecting business leaders with professional athletes.

Investing in underfunded communities

Clearly, his latest investment is providing a valuable tool for apartment hunters. Still, this doesn’t solve the bigger issue of many Americans unable to afford their monthly rent payments. Ten million families owe $57.3 billion in back rent, utilities and late fees, according to a new analysis by Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi and Urban Institute fellow Jim Parrott.

“To be evicted in the height of a pandemic would be devastating for these families, and for the nation as a whole as it struggles to break the emotional and economic grip the virus has imposed for almost a year,” the authors write in the report.

Iguodala said Apartment List’s mission in helping underserved groups through their Home Bridge program, which connects families in need with real estate companies eager to serve their communities, was another draw for him.

“I was told not only is this the platform that makes economic sense in terms of investing, but also serving underprivileged people with. Part of our mission with the Catalyst Fund is investing in underfunded communities... so it's also platforms that serve them as well. So not just the founders, but platforms to serve them, and this is definitely a unique opportunity that goes above and beyond just investing in a smart startup that's going to make money, but it's also certainly those from the communities that I come from.”

Melody Hahm is Yahoo Finance’s West Coast correspondent, covering entrepreneurship, technology and culture. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm.

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