2022 Cohort applications are closed.

Thank you

Apply to the 2022 Housing Lab

We are looking for innovators with bold new ideas to make housing more affordable and fair. In 2022, we are also adding a focus on sustainability. To learn more about what we're looking for, read our areas of interest for 2022.

Applications are due March 30th*

* While the application window formally closed Wednesday, March 30th, we do accept late applications. If you would like to submit a late application, please email housinglab@ternerlabs.org.

Program runs August 2022 - January 2023. Programming is primarily virtual with an in-person fall retreat in California and a winter event in DC with policymakers.

Want to learn more? Read the press release or watch a recording of our applicant webinar.

What do ventures get?

A seed grant

An investment in product development and growth

A dedicated coach

Weekly virtual advising from an expert in policy & business strategy in the housing market

Capital markets advice

Support refining the venture’s financial structure and fundraising approach

Network access

Connections to builders, policy makers, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs

Case study of Housing Lab and Venture partnership:

Esusu:

  • Esusu is a platform for large multifamily owners and operators providing (1) on time rent reporting to the credit bureaus, (2) housing stability loans, and (3) predictive analytics to improve renter financial health and landlord cash flow.
  • When they applied to the Housing Lab, they had a team of 7 and had raised $300k in outside capital.

The Housing Lab

  • Expanded Esusu’s network, facilitating introductions to market-rate and affordable housing clients and coaching on sales growth strategy 
  • Provided advice and insights on local, state, and federal public policy that informed Esusu's government relations strategy
  • Provided opportunity to partner with multiple other Housing Lab cohort members across the 2020 and 2021 Housing Lab cohorts.

Esusu now covers over 2.5 million units, providing an average of 51-point improvement in renter credit for the renters that opt-in. In 2020 they launched a philanthropic fund to provide forgivable zero-interest loans to thousands of renters who fall behind on rent. In Fall 2021, Esusu announced a five year agreement with Freddie Mac to help make rent reporting the industry standard. In January 2022, they raised $130M and reached a valuation of $1 billion.

Meet our portfolio

How we evaluate applicants

Our program team and selection committee analyze companies with a holistic lens. Factors we consider include:

  • The inventiveness & fit of the idea: How new and creative is the core concept, and how well does it fit today’s housing challenges? Can it create transformational outcomes for housing affordability and equity?
  • Strength of core product and business model: Do the core elements of the organization’s product or service work? Are the barriers the organization may face in the regulatory landscape overcomeable? Is there a path to long-term profitability and/or an ability to attract the outside investment needed to grow?
  • Potential for national influence: Could this concept make housing or homeownership more accessible on a national level, either by growing nationally or by creating a model that is replicable by others in their communities?
  • Strength of the leadership team and key staff: Does the core team have the skills necessary for success? Can they attract additional talent to help them grow? 
  • Program fit: Will the Housing Lab’s support help catapult the venture to the next phase of growth?

We believe housing inequality disproportionately hurts the most marginalized people in society — including people of color, people from working-class backgrounds, women and LGBTQ people. We believe these communities must be centered in the work we do and strongly encourage applications from organizations led by individuals with these identities or members of other marginalized communities.

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