Full credit for this article goes to Tristan Navera at Business First in Columbus.

Renter savings app Rhove signs with F & W Properties, Columbus landlord, expanding its reach.

A Columbus startup helping renters build wealth is expanding again.

Rhove has signed with F&W Properties, a landlord that has 890 rental units in a dozen neighborhoods around Columbus.

The deal further expands the reach of the Rhove app that helps renters build savings with the assistance of their landlords.

“We now serve renters in most all of the neighborhoods around downtown Columbus and in a range of rent prices from the high end to the affordable,” Rhove CEO Calvin Cooper said. “We’ve got a broad spectrum now.”

Founded by Cooper, Jon SlempScott Sumi and Jonathan Nutt, Rhove lets renters get dollar-for-dollar monthly savings via a “Rent to Earn” app that has landlords match a tenant’s savings for up to 2.5% of their rent. So a person who pays $1,000 in rent and saves $25 a month in their Rhove account will get $25 from their landlord. That’s $600 in savings over a year.

It’s a benefit for both sides – renters build savings to help them eventually buy a home, while landlords can see less costly tenant turnover.

The potential market is huge – Columbus has about 129,600 apartment units and 256,500 apartment residents, who pay about $19 billion a year in rent and other rent-related expenses, according to a study by the National Apartment Association and National Multifamily Housing Council. The apartment construction and management business is a $3.4 trillion business nationally.

Cooper, a former director of NCT Ventures and a member of the 40 under 40 class of 2017, estimated renters using the app have saved “tens of thousands” of dollars since Rhove launched in 2018. The company has 10 employees working at a coworking space and it’s looking to hire additional back-end developers.

“What’s been pretty exciting is the landlords are reaching out to us,” Cooper said. “We haven’t yet started putting the effort on outbound marketing. I think the followup has been from word of mouth.”

The app has been adopted by six major Central Ohio landlords with several thousand units, including Kaufman Development, Haddon Communities and Borror. Their properties range from higher-market luxury units to affordable properties like those owned by F&W, a family business focused largely around Ohio State University.

“Rhove is an innovative company which, like us, is passionate about solving the systemic challenges around housing affordability with creative solutions,” Clare Fisher-Brofford, project manager at F&W, said in a statement.

Rhove is looking to expand its reach to properties across Columbus and its suburbs, Cooper said, staying local to gain scale before marketing the app nationwide.

“We’ve seen incredible interest from owners in other markets,” he said. “We’re just mainly focused on Columbus before expanding.” See how Rhove works here: