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Circa Funded to Reinvent Rent

In the US, with more than $15 billion in rent paid late every month, Circa’s mobile-first platform helps renters pay on time, every time

Circa, an innovative payments technology company, has raised $2M to accelerate its growth in the residential rental industry. Investors in Circa include Maine Venture Fund, Techstars, Hub Investment Group, and prominent industry leaders.

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“We created a genuine win-win situation that helps renters pay their rent on time, secure housing stability, and improve their credit, while property owners collect more rent more efficiently, avoid evictions, and cultivate community.”

Circa is a mobile and web-based platform that reimagines the way we pay rent, prioritizing choice, convenience, inclusion, and respect. It addresses the need for renters to have options beyond paying late under threat of eviction, which is a challenge for approximately 30% of US households that rent. Circa enables residents to easily pay rent on a flexible schedule so that they are able to pay in full and on time every month. For property owners, Circa simplifies rent collection, increases on-time rent and arrears collection, and improves resident relations.

“At Circa, we observed the changing relationship between renters and property owners, and how their challenges were evolving. With all of the foundational issues and modern demands in mind, we went back to the drawing board and designed a completely new model for how rent is paid and collected,” said Leslie Hyman, co-founder and CEO of Circa. “We created a genuine win-win situation that helps renters pay their rent on time, secure housing stability, and improve their credit, while property owners collect more rent more efficiently, avoid evictions, and cultivate community.”

“The key to Circa is the convenience and simplicity for the user. It better fits into how we pay for things in a modern world. Circa also has an amazing social impact component that could affect millions of households by bringing housing stability and improved potential for upward mobility,” said Lars Perkins of Techstars. In 2021, Circa completed the Techstars accelerator program at the Roux Institute in Portland, Maine.

The Circa experience for residents is easy, flexible, and convenient. Residents set up their payment plan, choosing to pay in one, two or four installments; and they pay a small convenience fee only when they use a flexible plan. Payments are deducted from a bank account, paid with a debit or credit card, or paid with cash at a local retailer like Wal-Mart or CVS. Everything else happens automatically, with residents receiving notifications before each payment. When residents pay with Circa, their payments contribute to their credit history. Since Circa only reports successful, on-time payments, residents benefit from a boost in their credit scores.

“I love the ease of use of Circa and I don’t need to worry about my monthly payment being late,” said Rick D., a resident using the Circa platform.

Circa’s property owner customers range in size from ten to 10,000 units. With the majority of rent payments still made by check, Circa’s modernized process has shown a 4X improvement in both on-time rent and arrears collection for its customers. Circa charges property owners $1/unit per month which is recouped through a revenue sharing agreement with Circa.

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“We’ve tried really hard to improve our renters’ experience, but a lot of the solutions in the market are incremental. It means patching together multiple offerings from multiple partners. Circa is a one-stop offering that goes beyond a sum of its parts. They walk the walk when it comes to revolutionizing how rent is paid and how our renters feel about being a part of our community,” said Demetre Booker, Managing Partner, Elevate Commercial.

There are millions of households in the US behind on their rent and/or at risk of eviction. With a comprehensive solution based on flexibility, choice, and mutual respect, Circa aims to strengthen communities through payment innovation.

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