Illustration by J. Claeys

Companies profiting from buying, selling or leasing cheap real estate are sometimes tagged as flippers, loan sharks or slumlords. Now, venture-backed startups are jumping into the market, claiming they can clean up unseemly parts of the industry while using software-driven financial and property management services to make money.

We profile four of these companies below—Divvy Homes, PadSplit, Sundae and Landed. Each one takes a different approach to the market. Landed, for instance, focuses on helping teachers in expensive cities buy houses, in exchange for a cut of the price appreciation, while Divvy rents homes out on terms that let the tenants eventually buy the houses. But they all claim that their expertise in new financial technology gives them some advantages over traditional firms. The companies collectively have raised about $85 million, with investors ranging from Andreessen Horowitz to Founders Fund.