🦄 Unicorner Startup of the Week: Brownstone
Christina Lennox (left) and James Stallworth (right) pose for the camera in October 2022 | Photo by Arek Der-Sarkissian
✍️ Notes From The Editors
When we first met Brownstone CEO James Stallworth and CPO Christina Lennox, we were struck by the duo’s passion and thoughtfulness. We’re excited to finally share the company with you.
In addition to that, for the first time in Unicorner history, you can directly invest in our weekly covered company. Check out how you can join the company’s cap table below.
If you want more investment opportunities like this, reply to this email.
- Ethan and Arek 🦄
💸  Invest in Brownstone
Want to invest in Brownstone?
This week, we’re partnering with Wefunder to allow you to invest in Brownstone for as little as $100. Anyone can invest—learn more on the team’s fundraising page.
Making housing affordable
Brownstone is rethinking what it means to rent affordably. The company’s main product is furniture-based pods, each meant to be private single-person living spaces. Consumers can rent pods on a monthly basis from properties that work directly with Brownstone, and businesses like homeless shelters can purchase pods from the company.
🔗 Check it out: brownstone.live
💰 Business Model
Renters living in a Brownstone house pay a monthly fee (the amount of which depends on the location) to reserve a pod. Plans are also underway to sell individual pods to third parties.
📈 Traction and Fundraising
  • Raised $166k from friends, angel investors, and accelerator programs
  • Two active houses in Palo Alto and Bakersfield with a third in Los Angeles scheduled for opening in January 2023
  • Average stay lasts six months with 20 renters (14 in Palo Alto, 6 in Bakersfield) at any given moment; current monthly rent is $800 in Palo Alto, $500 in Bakersfield, and projected $650 in LA
  • Plans underway to sell 4,000 pods by June to homeless shelters, hospitals, colleges, and pod hotels; pricing would be $5,000 for two pods and revenue would be used to buy properties for more Brownstone houses
👫 Founders
  • James Stallworth, CEO: Previously Auditor @ California State Auditor’s Office, Science, Technology and Society @ Stanford
  • Christina Lennox, CPO: Previously Auditor @ California State Auditor’s Office, Criminology @ Arizona State University
💼 Opportunities
Want to stay updated on opportunities at Brownstone? Fill out this form and we’ll let you know when we find a role that fits your profile.
🔮 Our Analysis
Before they met, both James Stallworth and Christina Lennox knew they wanted to make housing affordable. Each co-founder had individually experienced housing insecurity, giving them a personal attachment to the problem. On the other hand, Lennox had been a landlord, so she knew what being on the other side was like. Both co-founders had spent time individually brainstorming ways to address the problem. Together, they are uniquely positioned to tackle housing, bringing a nuanced perspective that can make a solution to the problem a reality.
The result of them coming together is Brownstone. Brownstone is on a mission to make housing affordable through pods, which are living spaces meant to replace the traditional single-family home, hotel, Airbnb, or any other type of living arrangement. Because Brownstone’s pods are technically just furniture and not actual modifications to a house, its houses don’t require many of the permits otherwise needed to privately accommodate each of its individual tenants. While it’s not the first to adopt a pod design, its pod designs and targeted communities come with a lot of thoughtful consideration following personal experience. Moreover, the founders truly believe in what they do, having directly lived in the pods and spoken to other tenants. Given the company’s strong founder-market fit, it’s possible we see a world where anyone looking for housing can live in a Brownstone. 
If you'd like to invest in Brownstone, you can do so on its Wefunder page.
📚 Further Reading
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💰 Bonus Content
Want to learn more about Brownstone? Ethan had a conversation with CEO James Stallworth on his podcast, SpotClub, where they went deep on James’ story, what living in a Brownstone is like, and where they see the future of the housing market going. Listen to the full episode, released earlier this morning, on SpotifyApple Podcasts, or your preferred podcast platform.
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