Rent-To-Own Startup Divvy Homes Raises $110M

Divvy Homes, a startup that facilitates rent-to-own home purchases, said Tuesday it’s raised $110 million in a Series C round.

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Customers work with Divvy to find a home, and then the company purchases the home on their behalf, with the customer contributing about 1 to 2 percent of the home’s value. Customers then rent the home, with about 25 percent of the monthly payment going toward a future down payment, according to the company.

Customers can build up to 10 percent of the value of the home over the course of their three-year lease, but are also free to buy the home at any point during the lease. If a customer decides not to buy the home, they are able to cash out their savings, the company said.

Divvy currently operates in 16 cities across the United States, including Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, and Miami. 

With the new funding, the company plans to expand into four more markets and add to its 80-employee team, CEO Adena Hefets said in an interview with Crunchbase News. 

It also plans to offer more adjacent services for customers looking for a new home, such as an in-house real estate agent. The company is also exploring adding services like title and escrow, along with mortgage services. “It just creates a more consistent customer experience to not be using as many third parties and bring a lot of this stuff in house,” Hefets said.

Divvy says it financed five times the number of home sales last year compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. Residential home sales in general have been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic sparked the work-from-home era and interest rates remain low. Existing home sales in 2020 were the highest they’d been since 2006, according to the National Association of Realtors, and home sales in total rose more than 22 percent year-over-year.

Several other startups in the home-buying space have recently raised notable sums of venture funding, including Doorvest, Propertymate and Rendin. But Divvy Homes’ Series C is the largest venture round raised by a real estate startup in the past month, according to Crunchbase data.

The company, which is based in San Francisco and was founded in 2017, most recently raised a $43 million Series B in September 2019 and is backed by investors including Andreessen Horowitz and Caffeinated Capital. 

Tiger Global Management led the round, with participation from GGV Capital, Moore Specialty Credit, JAWS Ventures, and other previous investors. 

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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Payment startup Curve has raised a fresh $95 million but faces questions over its late financial filings

Summary List PlacementPayment card startup Curve has landed a fresh $95 million in Series C funding, but has raised eyebrows for filings its 2019 financial accounts late.
Founded in April 2018, Curve has now raised some $175 million in funding. The startup offers a payment card that digitally aggregates all of a user’s debit and credit cards.
Unlike in the US, private firms of a certain size in the UK are obliged to file detailed annual accounts. It can be a valuable snapshot into the state of a business.
Curve was due to file its full-year results for 2019 on 31 December but missed the deadline. Sifted reported that the firm had already been granted extensions to its filing deadline in March and October. Curve is also under caution by the UK’s financial regulator over its lack of records.  The fine for not filing accounts is, however, negligible. 
Asked why the filings were late, a Curve representative said: “We have now filed our 2019 accounts at Companies House. These were delayed by a few days, as a result of our focus being fully centered on a successful Series C fundraise.”
Insider has previously raised questions about Curve’s transparency.
During a crowdfunding drive in September 2019, Curve did not reveal a monthly active user figure, but claimed in an investor pitch deck it would reach 4 million customers by the end of 2020. The firm subsequently raised £6 million ($7.7 million) from the drive. Figures obtained by Insider for May 2019 indicated monthly active users were a tiny fraction of its then-500,000 customer number, implying the firm was struggling at that point to keep users loyal.
A Curve representative on Monday declined to disclose active user base, but said the company had seen significant growth.
“The number of active users is commercially sensitive information, but what we can say is that over the past 12 months we have seen significant growth both in customer numbers, which now total 2 million up from around a million at the start of 2020, and the value of transactions processed by our platform, which now exceeds £2 billion up from around £1 billion over the same period,” they said. “Both of these metrics demonstrate our impressive growth trajectory of the business and the appeal of our products and services. Investors too are comfortable with our progress as proved by our successful Series C round.”
And one early investor in Curve told Insider that they were fully on-board with Curve and had no issue with either its lack of filing or MUA figures. 
With its new funds, Curve is planning to grow its headcount from around 300 currently to around 600 in the next 12 months by hiring across Europe and the US. The company also plans to develop a new product called Curve Credit. 
In addition to its 2019 accounts being overdue on Companies House, , the company has been accused of a lack of transparency. 
The funding round was led by IDC Ventures, Fuel Venture Capital and Vulcan Capital, with participation from OneMain Financial and Novum Capital. Curve previously raised a $55 million Series B in September 2019. 
“The proceeds of the fundraise will be used to support international expansion and research and development,” Shachar Bialick, founder and CEO at Curve, told Insider.”Our expansion plans will focus primarily on launching in the US and deepening our foothold in the European market, which has shown a very strong pool during 2020. Both markets offer incredibly exciting growth prospects in 2021 and beyond.”
The company declined to comment on its new valuation. SEE ALSO: The London fintech aiming to become the ‘Spotify for money’ raised $55 million using this pitch deck
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