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Common raises $50M, eyes housing for remote workers

Brad Hargreaves (Photo by Francesco Sapienza; iStock)

Brad Hargreaves (Photo by Francesco Sapienza; iStock)

With its eye on housing for remote workers, co-living startup Common has raised $50 million in new funding.

The Series D was led by Kinnevik with participation from existing investors Maveron, 8VC and Norwest Venture Partners, CEO Brad Hargreaves wrote in a blog post Tuesday. The round brings Common’s total funding to more than $113 million at a time when urban rental markets are struggling due to the pandemic.

Founded in New York in 2015, Common was an early entrant in the crowded field of co-living, which has billed itself as an alternative for renters in expensive cities. Today, it has 17,500 units under development in 26 cities.

But as Common has expanded into new housing ventures, co-living only accounts for about half of its business.

“We always had an eye on the bigger vision of making housing better,” Hargreaves wrote on Medium. “The choice to fundamentally reconsider how property management works was a pivotal one, and over the past few years has taken us well beyond co-living.”

Last year, the company launched a co-living product with Tishman Speyer called Kin. With L+M Development Partners, it was selected by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration to develop an affordable co-living project in East Harlem. And in May, it launched Noah, a property management division focused on workforce housing. Common is also managing 575 units owned by Nuveen in South Florida and Los Angeles.

Despite falling demand for urban apartments, Hargreaves said he believes apartment rentals will bounce back. Common has a new payment plan for cash-strapped renters and is offering reduced rent in some instances.

“There are existential questions around the future of office, the future of retail, but people will always need a place to live,” Hargreaves told the Wall Street Journal, which first reported news of its latest funding.

In the blog post, Hargreaves said remote workers are Common’s next target. The company recently announced a Remote Work Hub RFP, through which it aims to “design and develop the first work-and-live building that accurately addresses the growth of a remote workforce in a post-Covid world,” he said. “We’ve already seen interest from over 300 public and private groups.”

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