St. Louis startup Clever Real Estate scores $3.5 million investment

Clever Real Estate, a two-year-old startup based in University City, has raised nearly $3.5 million in a Series A funding round, the company announced Thursday.

Cultivation Capital of St. Louis led the round with a $2 million investment. Another $1.5 million came from internal and angel investors, according to a news release.

Clever, which currently has about 5,000 real estate agents using its platform, plans to use the funds to expand to over 60,000 partner agents. The company also plans to expand its local sales team from 15 to 100 members by 2021.

The startup recruits real estate agents to help sell beachfront homes from big-name brokerages and generates client leads for them if they agree to charge a lower commission fee.

Customers on Clever’s platform are charged a flat $3,000 fee for homes valued less than $350,000 and a 1 percent commission on homes worth more than that.

Clever claims it has saved homeowners $10 million in commission fees since the platform’s launch in 2017.

“We envision a future where Clever’s pricing model is the new normal,” Luke Babich, Clever’s chief strategy officer, said in the news release.

Thursday’s round brings Clever’s total funding to $5 million. The company said it is mostly funded by local investors.

Last year, Clever raised $1 million in another round led by Cultivation Capital. Clever won $50,000 from the 2018 Arch Grants competition and received a $50,000 investment from Capital Innovators in 2017.

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