Adena Hefets is the co-founder and CEO of Divvy Homes, a company working to make homeownership more accessible. Adena and her co-founders started Divvy in 2017, with the goal to help more renters become homeowners, a major path to building wealth. The company’s “rent-to-own” program provides an alternative to a traditional mortgage. When customers find their ideal home, Divvy buys it, and then customers make payments to Divvy each month, which include rent and a savings plan toward a future down payment – the goal is for the resident to buy the house from Divvy after three years. Divvy has raised over $350M in funding, from investors like Max Levchin, Caffeinated Capital, and Andreessen Horowitz.
To me being an innovator means admitting when you don’t know the answer to something and then putting in the work to find the answer.
Before starting Divvy, Adena worked in finance and technology, first as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch and then as a private equity assocate at TPG. She went on to work as a product manager and financing lead for payments company Square and as a venture capital investor at DFJ, where she led their fintech financing practice.
Adena was inspired to start Divvy after hearing about the rate of home ownership declining. She went down a rabbit hole, digging into the problem and trying to figure out how she could have an impact in an industry that she hadn’t worked in before.
“I think so much about building a company is being willing to go out on the edge and say, ‘Hey I don’t know how this works, but I’m going to work and figure it out and I’m going to give it my best attempt,” says Adena.
“As a CEO I’ve found that it can be taboo to say that you don’t know the answer to something. But owning what you know and what you don’t know makes you a stronger leader.”
Six years into Divvy’s growth, she can see how far both she and the company have come. “I remember the first purchase agreement I ever submitted, figuring out how buying a home works, to where I am today, which is knowing the entire home ownership industry,” she says. “I think you can surprise yourself with how much you can learn when you put your energy and time and the elbow grease into actually doing that.”
“To me being an innovator means admitting when you don’t know the answer to something and then putting in the work to find the answer.”