Ember raises $17.4M led by Peter Thiel to bring vacation home co-ownership mainstream
Salt Lake City — Ember, a real estate proptech company, is reimagining the vacation home experience through co-ownership powered by technology, management, and concierge services. The $17.4M financing was led by co-founder of PayPal, early Facebook investor, and venture capitalist Peter Thiel. Ember was founded by CEO Kurt Avarell (Canopy, Milbank), CRO James Sukhan (Qualtrics, Podium), and CXO Jeff Lyman (Nike, Vivint). All proven innovators with collective backgrounds in real estate, home building, legal, consumer goods, and SaaS, this team developed Ember as a streamlined technology platform for buying and owning luxury vacation property.
Ember is built on four core pillars: (1) buying and/or building high-end, professionally designed vacation homes in destination locations; (2) creating a property-specific LLC so that the home can be purchased in shares by co-owners at a fraction of the whole home price; (3) streamlining vacation home ownership by stripping out the burdens of a second home and instead providing white-glove property management and a thoughtfully designed app that centers on the experience; and (4) increasing vacation home accessibility to significantly more people.
“Ember is enabling the dream of vacation homeownership for millions of people and we’re making the experience radically simple,” says Ember CEO Kurt Avarell. “This idea was born out of my personal experience co-owning a houseboat on Utah’s Lake Powell with friends and family for the past decade. We recognize that so many families want vacation homes, but their dream home is just out of reach. Ember intends to make second home ownership attainable, affordable, and enjoyable for millions of want-to-be second homeowners.”
Ember affords property ownership of single-family vacation homes in popular destinations. Ember co-ownership is not a timeshare. Ember brings together vetted homebuyers to collectively own the property. In a one-eighth ownership share, each owner then gets to use the home exclusively for their enjoyment for up to 45 nights per year.
The Ember mobile app uses a proprietary scheduling algorithm to ensure that co-owners have equitable and fair opportunities to enjoy the property. The Ember mobile app and website allow buyers and owners to browse vacation properties for sale, view and pay expenses and get one-touch access to their dedicated, in-market Ember Concierge. With Ember’s end-to-end concierge service, homeowners spend minimal time on the logistics and can focus on the real investment – spending quality time away with their family and friends.
Though Ember acquires existing properties, Ember is focused on building homes designed for co-ownership. On average, Ember homes range between $1.5 and $5 million in total home price, with individual shares ranging from $100K to $500K. Homes frequently come with private amenities such as pools, hot tubs, entertainment spaces, plus value-added benefits like dedicated owner storage, professional interior design, and high-end appliances and finishes. Ember also handles maintenance and management of the home, at a modest monthly fee, so that homeowners get an elevated, worry-free second homeownership experience without the hassle of cleaning, maintenance, and repairs.
Ember is expanding rapidly with a focus on 20 markets in 10 states with listings now in destinations like Bend, Oregon; St. George, Utah; Santa Fe, NM; and more. Consumer financing will be available this year through the Ember platform, empowering even more potential buyers to co-own their dream homes.
Ember is actively recruiting in-market sales agents and property concierges. Ember also has more than a dozen open Utah-based positions in management, engineering, sales, and marketing positions with the company.
With more investments on the horizon, this funding includes participation from Pando Ventures and prior investors including the former CEO and Founder of Vivint Smart Homes Todd Pedersen, former CEO of Progressive Leasing Ryan Woodley, and Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Progressive Leasing Curt Doman.
To find an Ember Home or for more information about co-ownership, please visit: www.emberhome.com.