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Startups Bet on Flexible Apartment Leases, Even as Employees Return to the Office

Investors are pumping money into real-estate startups that are pioneering flexible ways to rent apartments on the belief that remote working trends and new forms of housing demand will remain long after the pandemic is over.

Startups like Sonder Corp. and Mint House Inc. were founded in the years leading up to the pandemic, offering short-term, fully furnished apartments that could be booked almost as easily as hotel rooms on the Internet. They have gotten a boost from the pandemic because of the large number of young professionals who left downtown while the health crisis was the most acute.

Now, a company that was formed 18 months ago—which has backing from an investment group including Highgate Hotels LP and Iconiq Capital, a money manager with ties to Silicon Valley giant

Mark Zuckerberg

—is rolling out a new name and upgrading services with a hope of increasing market share.

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