Blackstone MD joins US housing startup Divvy Homes
The company, which seeks to make homeownership more accessible with its rent-to-own product, has appointed a Blackstone managing director as COO months after securing a $2bn valuation.
Divvy Homes, which hired John Lee from Blackstone’s private equity division, buys homes on behalf of customers and rents it to them.
Up to 25% of a customer’s monthly payment goes towards saving for a deposit for the house, though they can change their mind and cash in their savings. About 47% of customers choose to purchase their homes, which Divvy said is “well above” the industry average.
Last year, the company, which operates in 16 US metropolitan areas, raised $200m in a Series D fundraising round led by US investment firm Tiger Global.
At the time, the investor said it believes Divvy has the potential to “help more than 100,000 families become financially responsible homeowners” over the next 10 years.
Lee will join the company to oversee all operational functions of the business and provide strategic vision to the organisation, Divvy said. Prior to Blackstone, he worked at TPG and Merrill Lynch.
The appointment comes after the company secured two debt facilities totalling $735m shortly following its Series D fundraise.
Adena Hefets, co-founder and CEO of Divvy Homes, said: “This is the third time that John and I have worked together, and I am absolutely thrilled to have John join Divvy Homes as we begin this new chapter.
“Fuelled by our Series D funding and debt financing, we’re poised for accelerated growth.”
With new funding, the company is expanding both geographically and in its product development, having recently promoted VP of product, Shirley Lin, to chief product officer.
She will lead her team on driving growth through automation and “differentiated customer and agent experiences”, Divvy said.