A $95 million investment in Rhino powers our commitment to renters

Paraag Sarva
5 min readJan 27, 2021

Rhino has helped American renters and their families save over $250 million that would have otherwise sat idle as security deposits, and we’re now available in over 1 million homes nationwide. While these milestones are celebratory in their own right, we have much more work ahead of us.

That’s why I’m thrilled to announce Rhino’s $95 million funding round, led by investors that are committed to joining us on our mission, as we double down on creating greater financial freedom for renters and kick off 2021.

The journey of a Rhino renter

When I founded Rhino 4 years ago, we knew we had an idea that could transform one of the largest industries in the world — real estate — and would truly benefit both renters and property owners. As a renter and as a multifamily property owner for many years, I knew our security deposit insurance would be a win-win and that we could build a real business around it.

What I didn’t realize until we began signing up our first Rhino renters in August 2017, was the real extent of the impact we have on renters and their families.

The “aha” moment

One of my favorite customer moments is when renters first realize they have another option at move-in, besides the dreaded cash security deposit. Take Greg Coleman, a renter who was able to make a move he didn’t think was possible because he had a new choice.

“When I moved here I had zero dollars and zero savings and having not found Rhino I would have moved back to Philadelphia.”

Greg made the move to New York, found an apartment that fit his budget, and even ended up becoming a Rhino employee, too. After three years of hearing from renters like Greg and hundreds of millions of dollars saved for Rhino renters, these stories continue to be the most important signals of the impact of our work.

Why cash in hand is king

Remember when lockdown first started last year? I do. That’s when my partner and I pulled our kids out of elementary school and decided to batten down the hatches after a Costco run. While we’re still far from out of the woods on Covid, the world felt considerably more fragile and uncertainty and anxiety was at an all time high, for me and billions of others.

Christy Hill from Southaven, Mississippi, had recently moved into a new home just days before lockdown! She signed up for Rhino and paid $9/month instead of an ~$1,100 security deposit. A mother of three, Christy had a full-time position as an auditor — but then suddenly lost her job due to the pandemic. Unbeknownst to her at the time she moved in, the financial flexibility and savings that Rhino provided turned out to be a huge help during her job loss.

“The choice to use Rhino came at the perfect time. Having the option to keep my security deposit money to help out when I got into my new apartment was a life saver. I’d never pay another security deposit if I didn’t have to because that money went to better use. Rhino just made more sense for me and my family.”

Her savings helped her focus on her job search and child care. And I’m happy to share that Christy has since found a new job and her family is doing well.

Pandemics aside, whether a renter is planning for moving expenses, furniture, or their next vacation, we all want our cash in our own hands for one reason or another — cash is king.

What changing the status quo feels like

Last week we kicked off a new campaign to highlight the work we’re doing with our elected officials like Mayor Suarez from Miami and Mayor Garcetti from Los Angeles. We asked renters to tell us how they would spend their security deposit for a chance to win a free month’s rent every week for the next 11 weeks.

It’s been amazing to see the outpouring of renter stories from across the country sharing how much they saved with Rhino and just how quickly they’ve helped us establish the new status quo of skipping the cash security deposit.

A renter-first mentality matters to property owners

We started four years ago working with some of the most forward-thinking folks in the business. They understood that building homes and creating communities that deliver more for renters than just a place to sleep isn’t just out of the goodness of their hearts but it makes financial sense too — and they’re seeing it improve their bottom line.

Four years later, the tide has turned and it’s amazing to see the industry broadly adopt a win-win solution like ours. We have partnerships in 46 states, have written over $1 billion in lease transactions, and are partnering with mayors and legislators around the country on Renter’s Choice legislation.

With $45 billion locked up in security deposits the potential for security deposit insurance in communities across the U.S. can be truly transformative for renters, the real estate industry generally and the economy overall. My friend, Mayor John Cranley of Cincinnati, put that realization best.

“It never occurred to me…literally billions of dollars are just sitting in escrow accounts in security deposits all across the country.”

And so, while we’ve given back $250 million, we have $44,750,000,000 left to go… I’m excited for 2021 as we continue to push forward on our mission to help empower renters, and I’m looking forward to many more “aha” moments this year and beyond.



Paraag Sarva

Co-founder and CEO @ Rhino (sayrhino.com). Our mission is to give renters financial alternatives to afford the homes they want.