Divvy Homes CEO & Co-Founder: Adena Hefets

Summary

Today’s guest is Adena Hefets, CEO & Co-Founder of Divvy Homes.  She grew up in Long Island, New York to immigrant parents who lived paycheck to paycheck, and were not financially stable, and this drove her ambition to be financially independent at a very young age.  

She would go on to work in lots of finance roles like investment banking, private equity, venture capital, and also worked in product management, before starting Divvy Homes with her cofounders.  In 2016, Adena started Divvy Homes with two other co-founders with a mission to make home ownership accessible to everyone.  Today, Divvy has raised almost $300 million in funding, and is changing the world of real estate.

Podcast Transcript

Note:  There may be errors to this transcript (some funny, some confusing - we used an automated transcription software!)

Ash Faraj  00:02

Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of executalks. Today's guest is Adena Hefets CEO and co founder of Divvy homes she grew up in Long Island, New York to immigrant parents who lived paycheck to paycheck and were not financially stable in this drove her ambition to be financially independent at a very young age. She would go on to work in lots of finance roles after college like investment banking, private equity, venture capital, and also worked in product management before starting Divvy with her co founders. I am joined today by Divvy Holmes, CEO and co founder Adena Hefets, thank you for being here. Welcome to show.

Adena Hefets  00:42

Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Ash Faraj  00:44

I'm going to high school classroom with you who are you in high school,

Adena Hefets  00:47

I was super dorky in high school, I pretty much was doing all AP and IB, which is International Baccalaureate classes, and I was the president of Model UN. So talk about super dorky, that's exactly where I fit in

Ash Faraj  01:04

your, your parents immigrated to Long Island where the immigrant from

Adena Hefets  01:09

my you want to hear a funny story. And my mom was hitchhiking in Israel and my dad picked her up. And that is how they met. And my whole family as a result has this really special place in their heart for hitchhiker. So we always pick up hitchhikers, which is like not safe and not appropriate in this day and age. But yeah, and so then they came back to the US, my dad, you know, ended up staying here with my mom and my parents couldn't get an mortgage. And so they found a lovely woman who's willing to give them seller financing on their their home. And that was how my parents were able to afford their their first property have a bunch of kids,

Ash Faraj  01:47

your you know, you were a child. Your dream was to be an ambassador, you decided to go study public policy in college, is that right?

Adena Hefets  01:54

So I studied public policy in college. And I kind of joke now that I thought I'd be an ambassador. And I really think that that's not that's not a job. Like you get appointed to that for for donating to campaigns and stuff, I wanted to have an impact on the world, in my view, that was that the best way to have an impact on the world was through government policy, helping with things like education, health care, access to homeownership, things like that. So kind of in the same vein of what I really focused on at Divvy. However, I also realized that the impact you could have coming from a business background might be a little bit more interesting, you can actually implement something than just purely working in the public sector. Now that's not to say I think public sector jobs are awesome and really impactful. It was just a different approach that I ended up taking to ended up going into investment banking, and then private equity. So it gave me kind of this basis for a business background in college I was also very This is the theme of my entire life has been very dorky. I was super into school, I T aid. I love learning, I am a highly curious person. And I spend a lot of my time just exploring your thinking college. So I did everything from like science, math, history, public policy, art philosophy, I wanted to be a sponge and just take in as much information as possible.

Ash Faraj  03:19

You know, what I was kind of like, you know, kind of reading a little bit about your story and about you, you know, you seem to be like kind of like financially driven at a young age. And I remember like a story that you when you were in college, you went to the Career Center, and you were like, okay, which job pays the most? And I think they said Goldman Sachs. And so you're like, Okay, I'm gonna go to Goldman Sachs because you want to make the most money. Do you feel like the fear? Like Did you feel like you feared not having enough money going up because of immigrant parent because your parents struggled financially? Or like what what do you feel like drove you financially at that at that age, looking back.

Adena Hefets  03:50

So we grew up in a fairly low income family. I mean, I remember growing up my family lived very paycheck to paycheck saving was like not a thing. And my family we saved in our house and in I was the asset that was the only asset that we really had. And so I was definitely motivated to be able to provide for myself, so I paid for my way through college. And so when I said I needed a job at Goldman Sachs, it's because I had all the student debt and I was like, Okay, well, I'm gonna have to pay for that. I also felt like that in order to start a company and take that risk later on in life, I needed to create that sort of stable financial base earlier on, I had to work in investment banking, you had to work in private equity, I had to be able to pay my bills and doing those things and working those jobs, afford good money, the really great opportunity to take a risk later in life and start a company.

Ash Faraj  04:37

You know, some, some people will hear the advice of, you know, don't don't pursue a job just because of the money. How do you feel about that? How should they be thinking about their career right out of college or like, you know, internships, should they be thinking, you know, how can I make the most money?

Adena Hefets  04:53

I think my thought on that is, you should do what makes you happy in life. Ultimately, money is not going to be the path That decides your happiness. But I knew I wanted to do the thing that I knew that I would derive happiness from. I needed to be financially stable in order to take that risk. And and so that is why I made that decision. Now call me a worrywart. But I like I couldn't just be like eating ramen every night, which, you know, you still like you're struggling as a founder, but like not having that stability and, and feel confident, and be able to start a company and not have to worry. And so I think you should do whatever brings you happiness in life. And life is too short to do anything else. But you also have to know that there are times to get what you want long term, you need to make trade offs in the short term, right, and you have to do things that maybe don't feel great in the short term to get to ultimately your long term goals. And if you can get to your long term goal, right out of college, working in a job that brings you a lot of happiness and fulfillment, you should do that. With the job that I knew that would bring me a lot of happiness and fulfillment required that I do some things that maybe didn't bring me as much personal fulfillment, but allowed me to eventually get to the place where I can start something.

Ash Faraj  06:06

So during college Adena, spent a summer with Goldman Sachs as an analyst and decided that she wanted to pursue investment banking after graduating. Now, while she was at Goldman Sachs during her internship, the leaders of the company suggested that she would be a great fit for a human resources role. But Adena really wanted to get into investment banking. So after graduating, she went to go work for Merrill Lynch, which is now owned by Bank of America, and worked as an analyst there. And while she was at Merrill Lynch, she built a great relationship with her manager. And he would spend his time on the weekends mentoring her and preparing her for her next career move. After college, she went to Merrill, Merrill Lynch, to work in investment banking. Why don't you go back to Goldman Sachs?

Adena Hefets  06:49

So um, I did a summer internship at Goldman Sachs my sophomore year, and when I was interviewing, I didn't even know what an investment bank was. I mean, I, yeah, like my mom's a social worker, my dad worked in construction. I was like, what's a really good internship? They're like this place called Goldman Sachs. And I remember being like, okay, Goldman Sachs. And I, like read the, I'm going, like I read, I tried to, but it's very like amorphous idea of like, what does an investment bank do? And I interviewed and what they do is they did a generic interview, and they say, where they think you'll be really good fit. And they looked at me, and they said, you know, where you would be really good in and this team called human capital management, which is essentially their HR function. And in some ways, I think that they just look to me, and they're like, oh, bubbly, female, HR, your area, and I remember, I went to work in human capital management, and people were like, you were the most quantitative person we've ever seen in this function. I had spreadsheets for everything, everything was super organized, right? I had like finit. I like made my own Excel models for HR. And I remember meeting with people and learning more about what an investment bank actually does that summer. So I met with the investment banking team, I met with sales and trading, I figured out what it was. So I came in knowing nothing. And during that two months, I taught myself what this type of a firm does. And from that, I said, You know what, I think I want to do investment banking, I think that is the path that I really want. And the feedback I genuinely got was, you're really getting HR you should. And so it's like, it's cool. If you don't think I'm fit for investment banking here, that's okay. But I'm going to go do it somewhere. And I interviewed I got a job at Merrill Lynch. And so I did my my junior internship was with Merrill Lynch. And then that summer Merrill Lynch got acquired by Bank of America, and then I went back and worked for Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, there will be a lot of people in life that will say no to what you are, or think that they maybe have a better view of what you should do with your advice. And my answer is like, you know yourself better than anyone. And if you want to do something, thank you for your advice. I'm gonna go do what I think is best for me. And don't be nervous about the rejection. I think I was probably quite insecure about that early on. And then you realize that life is filled with these, like, little setbacks, but it puts you on a different path. It's probably the right one to be on.

Ash Faraj  09:18

It takes a lot of confidence, by the way, especially at that age. So like you mentioned, you started at Merrill Lynch, you know, after after, after college, you didn't know anything about investment banking, how is that like? What, like the first the first couple months like was it like, how did you feel? Well, how was that?

Adena Hefets  09:33

I was terrible. I was like the worst investment banking analyst they had, like ever hired. But I just felt like even if I start out in the worst position, because I don't have maybe the knowledge or the wherewithal or I didn't major in some sort of a business major. I was like, I'm going to be the best analyst. By the time that my my two years here is done. I might start from the lowest point but I will get to the highest point because I'm going to learn and work My thought of, I think my number one quality early on in my career was just like, Great willingness to get back up when I was knocked down, and willingness to just work so hard. And I felt like I maybe started out in last place, you know, when I was just at the beginning, but I was definitely top bucket by the end of my two years there. And I had learned a ton and felt like it was a really good stepping stone, and even a confidence boost of like, here's something that a lot of their own ton of women in investment banking, I don't look, I feel like a business person. Yeah, I can do it. I can learn anything. And and I think it was just really eye opening moment of confidence where I was like, I can learn, I can figure stuff out. And I might not know it all going in. And I might be a little embarrassing, and I may have to ask more questions than the average person. But I'm a quick learner.

Ash Faraj  10:53

You are at a certain point, he made a good friend there. His name was john Lee, I believe.

Adena Hefets  10:58

How do you know this?

Ash Faraj  11:00

Well, I mean, there's internet, you know.

Adena Hefets  11:02

Wow.

Ash Faraj  11:04

Yeah. See, I mean, you made a good friend, john Lee, who, who ended up helping you get your next position at TPG. By the way, it seems like TPG is a great company, because some of the most successful people that I've talked to have like been through TPG. Like you probably know, Spencer rascoff.

Adena Hefets  11:18

Yeah. Yeah, of course.

Ash Faraj  11:20

Zillow. Yeah. When we, when we were interviewing him, he's like, yeah, TPG. So I'm like, wow, TPG must be like this place where just produces lots of like, unbelievable, amazing people. Did you say to john, like, hey, I want to move on, you know, help me find somewhere else to work? Or, like, how did that conversation start?

Adena Hefets  11:35

So John Lee, who who now works for Blackstone is tremendously successful and smartest people I've ever met my whole life. So we were putting a deal. He was on a different team in investment banking, I was in technology, media and Telecom, who was in leveraged finance, were put on a deal together and who's the senior analyst names the more junior analyst. And I remember when we started that deal, he looked at me, he was like, do you have any idea what you're doing? And I was like, No, no, but I'm like, I'll work really hard. I promise I'll learn. And he taught me so much for like those first three months that we work together. And by the end of it, he was like, okay, you learned a ton. And you're actually quite good right now. You just needed someone to teach you. And you share the capacity to learn. And he said, Well, what are you doing with it? Like, what do you want your career to be? And he was like, I don't know, I don't even know what you do from here. And he's like, you need to go work in private equity. And I was like, I don't even know what private equity means. He said to me, I came from a pretty humble family. He's He's Korean in Korea, and made my way to the US and had built up a life and he got a job at TPG. And he's like, this is the path. And I see you as someone comes from an equally low income family. And I'm going to give you the path to pull yourself into a world that would previously been unattainable to you. And he was like, we're meeting here every weekend, I'm going to prep you, and you are going to get a job at TPG. And I remember be like, Okay, sounds good. And I would show them the weekend. And he would be like, we're doing a leveraged buyout analysis, which is what, you know, lbos are, we're private equity funds do, and he would make me do it by hand, and I get it wrong. And to start over, we're doing it again, to keep growing and growing and growing. So when I went into the interview, right, I knew everything he prepped me so well, and basically was like, I'm going to give you the keys to an opportunity that would be quite hard to attain on my own. And so I I owe everything in my life to him. He's He's truly wonderful. And I'm very thankful for that,

Ash Faraj  13:41

you know, that mentorship was was, you know, key for you obviously, just, you know, going to TPG. And he spent, you know, a lot you know, he's been he's generous enough to spend his weekends going to kind of like mentoring you. What would you say to a new professional, young professional, who is looking for a mentor like that? Like, what how do you behave in a way that what what what do you think made him say, hey, Adena, like, I want to, I want to mentor you like, what do you what do you feel like makes people want to mentor others, if that makes sense? Because you know, their time is valuable, and they can't mentor every single new, new, young professional. So what do you feel like? What can you do practically to like, help get mentors?

Adena Hefets  14:18

Yeah. So I was just thankful when I first met him to be able to learn from him. And so I would work my butt off so that he didn't have to work as hard. And I didn't always do it, right. There are plenty of times where I completely screwed it up. And I was like, my job in life, because I'm so thankful for everything you're doing is to make your life as easy as possible. So when like the Andes need an extra printout of the document, you stay home, I'm going to run in and I'm going to take care of it my like I worked so hard, and I also just kept a good attitude. I thanked him constantly. And I think that people genuinely love to help other people. So I think that you just show kindness work really, really hard and just keep a facet of that.

Ash Faraj  15:00

That's very, very sentimental. You have to make if they make their life easier, they all of a sudden, like, it's like the gradient is almost like there for them to want to ask, well, very powerful.

Adena Hefets  15:09

When I was at square there was wonderful, there's one female partner, her name was Carrie Wheeler. And she really mentored me, she kind of would take care if we make sure we stepped up staffed on the best projects, this idea of mentorship again, Carrie ended up going on to become she's now the CFO at open door, which is a very similar company to Devi. But like much more ahead of us, and how the world connects is so important. So the importance of these mentorship relationships is that these people go on to do the most insanely impressive things. And you keep these relationships over decades. So what you think might be a quick relationship for a year, the world is really small, and we'll reconnect form close bonds, because it's going to play out over decades, not over a year.

Ash Faraj  15:50

So after spending some time in private equity, Adena realized that she needed more experience as an operator within a business. Now, if you're not sure what all this terminology means a private equity firm is a company that owns parts of private companies and advises those companies on how to operate and they are incentivized because well, they own a certain percentage of those companies. Now, Dina felt that she didn't have operating experience, meaning working inside of a business to truly understand what problems these businesses might be having, and therefore how to advise those companies. So she reached out to leaders at a company called square, which you've probably heard of before, one of their tools is that little attachment on mobile phones, if you've been to any events, or you know, as to Girl Scout cookies, can you guys accept credit cards, that little square on top of the phone is one of squares products. So she went to go work for square as a financial analyst, then moved into product management. That's when she realized her true passion. So you're, you're at TPG for two years. So you decide to leave the world of investing and become an operator? Why did you decide that you I think you went to square right after that, why did you decide that?

Adena Hefets  16:58

when I was at TPG, a lot of the work was advising companies and how they can grow their, their, their company in their business. And I remember sitting in on board meetings, and my job would be to come up with recommendations for CEOs, CFOs of companies, very large companies. And I remember in those meetings feeling so inadequate, I remember feeling like Who am I to tell this person how to do their job. I'm like, 20, something years old, I've never run a company, I have no idea what I'm talking about. And somehow I have to create this aura of me knowing what I'm talking about. And for me, that was terrifying. And so what I thought to myself is, I want to know what I'm talking about. Like, I never want to be in a job where I feel so unprepared, or unable to do the job and do it well. And so I thought, you know, everyone's going after TPG, most people go to business school that's like the natural route. And I said, You know what, if I'm going to stay in investing, I have to first be an operator, I have to know that I could do what I'm telling other people to do, and that I've done it, and I truly understand it. Otherwise, it just feels it would feel phony to me. And so that's why I decided to make the switch. And at the time I was nervous. 2011 ish. And this was when tech was starting to take off. And I thought I'm living in Silicon Valley. I want to be an operator, I should go to a tech company. Right? This is like, when my kids one day in the future, you asked me you know, you live through this amazing time, I want to be able to say that I was part of it. Right? I was part of this generation. And so I decided to take a job at square,

Ash Faraj  18:38

you wanted to be closer to the operations of the business. So But you knew that long term you wanted to stand investing? Is that right?

Adena Hefets  18:46

I think I thought I enjoyed investing. But I thought I needed to get operational knowledge. And then I I went into an operating role. And I was like, No, no, I actually love operating and I'm never going back. So I think I thought I would stay up forever and doster but then I decided I think I'm much better at operating.

Ash Faraj  19:05

It seems like whenever you did move it was because of like I wanted to learn something else. And I think it was you took that you take like 1/5 of your salary or like 1/6 something like you like your salary went down, actually was that? Is that right?

Adena Hefets  19:16

Oh, yeah. Well, yes, I went to squaring gap making about 1/5 the amount of cash that I have made, but I was okay with that I wanted to learn I think a lot of what drives me in life is this feeling of for me to actually be good at what I do, I really have to feel secure. And that was people who can half know something to fake it. Like if I don't know something, I fall apart, right? I really have to thoroughly understand it. And then I can be really confident and good at what I do being in this situation where I may be somewhat understood operating but not like it wasn't my blood. I didn't really understand the details. I didn't really understand what it meant when you had like too much working capital like swings in that and how that really like impacts your day to day and you're constantly watching how much inventory you have right Being in it feeling it actually understanding when you're just like, when I was investing it was like accounts receivable versus accounts payables. It wasn't like an actual feeling. And so then I wanted to get that information. So I started out working as analysts for Sarah fryer, but very quickly on, I joined a woman named Ariana who had started a hack week project. And she was leading the idea of giving out loans to merchants at square. So you'd underwrite squares payment processing volume, and I thought it was the most insanely brilliant idea. And I said to her, it's like, this is so awesome. This is going to be the future of squares, like, what's the, you know, returns that you're getting? How are you thinking about defaults, blah, blah, blah? And she was like, I don't know any of that numbers. If I just know that our merchants need this. Do you want to come on and join the product side and manage basically all the financial side of the business? And I said, Yes, I'd love to. And we were on a team, there was like, no less than 10 of us. And we grew this thing to be pretty tremendous early on. And that was my first feeling of entrepreneurship. And that's something that really put the bug in me that this was something I wanted to do more long term.

Ash Faraj  21:09

Oh, yeah. Because you because you weren't in finance before the financial and then Now, moving into the product side, that was your first experience with like, that makes sense. So after the product experience, you said, you know that you want to start a company at some point,

Adena Hefets  21:22

it was such a high, right. I mean, we just saw, I remember handing out the first 36 loans and keeping track of them in my little Excel spreadsheet. And we've given out $200,000 worth of of loans, and then tracking the like performance. And then we started to scale. And then we eat about 2 million worth of loans. And then we eat out 200,000 worth of 200 million worth of loans. And I remember the highest thing like oh my God, this thing is scaling. Right? It's actually working. And we used to just be like, like just in shock, complete shock that this thing was actually working. And that feelings what I loved, which was like creating something that people really loved and valued and needed. And that feeling was what kind of created the bug in me to continue on.

Ash Faraj  22:07

In 2014, Edina made the decision to go back to graduate school for her MBA, but it wasn't necessarily a career decision. It was personal for her. When someone close to us passes away, we look for a change in routine and going back to school was that change that Edina was looking for after graduating Edina went to work for a venture capital firm for a year before starting divvy. Now the difference between a private equity firm and a venture capital firm is that a venture capital firm invests in startups or young businesses that show potential for long term growth. Then in 2016, Edina started Divvy homes with two other co founders with a mission to make home ownership accessible to everyone. Now, remember, this is something that is deeply personal to Adena because of her parents journey, they lived paycheck to paycheck, and the only asset was their home. Today, Divvy has raised almost $300 million in funding, and is changing the world of real estate. The reason you went back to get your MBA was because you knew you wanted to start like is that the reason for getting the MBA is because you said you wanted you know, you want to start a company, you know this, this would be useful. Is that right?

Adena Hefets  23:10

No, not really, actually. So it was a little bit more of a personal decision right before getting my MBA, actually, I lost my mom to cancer. And I was going through a lot of I think emotional ups and downs. And I just said, You know what, I need a break, I need to reset. And so I decided to go to business school as a way to just take two years for myself to breathe, and grow and feel healthy again, was just really emotionally trying. So I was actually I went to business school and I didn't do a summer internship like everyone else. I just spent time getting healthy again, focusing on you know, myself. And so that was really what that break what I needed.

Ash Faraj  23:56

Yeah, man, I'm sorry to hear that this was a bit tough. I mean, it's always tough when you lose sombody, but your mom connected. I can't imagine. I mean, my mom is alive. But yeah, is your dad still alive?

Adena Hefets  24:07

My dad is my dad is that my family was super supportive of me. And it ended up being this amazing two years where I had a lot of for the first time since I'd graduated in five years, I had mental space to just think. And I knew coming out of business school that I wanted to go back to entrepreneurship. But I didn't know what I wanted to start. And I also was very certain I didn't want to start something alone. I wonder co founder, I felt like that was really critical. And so I decided to take a job in venture capital at DFJ as a way to kind of just watch what was going on in the industry. And then from DFJ then made the move into the founder of Divvy,

Ash Faraj  24:45

after school you went to go work for venture venture capital from and I remember reading that the reason you decided to do that is because like you had, you know, you had done investment banking and you had done private equity, but it was like the only asset class that you hadn't had experience with. Did you know Going into that role going into venture capital Did you know like, eventually, you're gonna found your own company?

Adena Hefets  25:06

I did not know for sure. But I had a feeling that that might be where my life would take me at some point in time. It took me a little quicker than I think I had realized. It's kind of like, you know, when you'd like a little inkling in the back of your head, but you're not really sure. And then it kind of just plays out,

Ash Faraj  25:23

you know, like a feeling. Yeah, that makes sense. Do you feel like that year in venture capital, did that help you in terms of like starting a company? Or like, what do you feel like the takeaways from that experience was that one year.

Adena Hefets  25:35

So I think that it helps me understand how a venture capitalist would analyze my business, if I were to start one, which I think is really important to be on the other side of those conversations to understand how to frame your business as you're starting to scale it up. So I think it did give me a tremendous amount of knowledge, which, which I think was really helpful. It also introduce me to other founders, I have this theme of mentorship in my life, which I just feel like I've learned so much from other people. And you know, one of the people who I ended up meeting, during my time and mentor was, you know, Eric Wu, who then mentored me a lot and found Divvy. I think that it helps me establish relationships with other founders, who I feel so fortunate to be able to pick their brain and be like, I'm going to completely mess this up. Tell me how I should do it better. And they give me the best advice in the world.

Ash Faraj  26:21

Yeah, it seems like you talk about mentorship. And if you mean, like, it seems like it's very important. You know, like, I guess the, it seems like you have great relationship building skills, that, you know, obviously, that were really important, because if, while you're able to build those relationships with people that you worked with people in business school, you feel like that, obviously helped you a lot in your career.

Adena Hefets  26:45

Yeah. And I don't know, I don't think of myself as like an extrovert are particularly good at relationships. I just think I'm kind of very honest person. So I would just go to people. I have no idea what I'm doing. Can you please help me? Maybe there's something disarming about that, but people are turning to like, Oh, God, okay. Yes, no, no, I'll help you this. You seem like you need a little bit of help. And I'm like, Yes, please. So maybe it's like some sort of a charm from that.

Ash Faraj  27:12

Yeah. And I think I was watching this video yesterday on LinkedIn, or Simon Sinek, you've probably heard of him a public figure. And Simon Sinek was saying, like, he's like, when I was younger, I was always the idiot, because I would always ask questions nobody else wanted to ask. So that kind of reminded me of what you're saying,

Adena Hefets  27:28

oh, completely. Yeah, I. And I'd always be like, well, this is gonna sound a little nutty, but I have no idea what I'm doing with x. And they're like, oh, gosh, how did you get to this point without knowing? And then I think, well, you're gonna teach me so I will know it going forward, and then everything's gonna be fine. So I mean, I feel really fortunate that people are, we're so willing to be helpful. And I think as a result, I try to be as helpful as possible. So along the way,

Ash Faraj  27:52

in 2016, you start researching the real estate market. And I think you said you started like writing white papers about people wanting to buy homes. But they weren't affordable. You know, then I think then you met your co founder, Brian, who had been running with the same kind of thing. I have to ask, like, when you decided to start Divvy, Did you ever have like, you ever have thoughts that like, did you ever fear that it might fail?

Adena Hefets  28:17

All the time. I remember saying this is a really interesting problem. And I think I have a solution that can help people and let me just try to put it out there in the world. And I remember I time boxed it in my head, not like actually time box. But mentally I said, I'm gonna get this six months, I want to see what I can do in six months. And at the end of six months, I was like, Oh, I feel like you know we have a couple customers I feel people actually really excited about this. Let's give it till you know, another year I want to see myself make this much progress in the next year. And so then we did that and it was like, Okay, keep going and then it's it's slowly build on itself. And today, obviously, it's it's something I'm going to hopefully do for the rest of my life. But at the beginning, yes, I constantly thought that he might fail and there's always I think that risk.

Ash Faraj  29:05

So I want to ask a dumb question. In its simplest form, what is Divvy?

Adena Hefets  29:10

Divvy is a modern day rent to own program that helps create homeowners, the way it works is you pick out a home, we buy for you, you rent it back from us, and you build equity as you rent it. You can cash out that equity at any point in time. Or you can apply that equity to downpayment and get a mortgage and eventually own it. No rent would be equivalent to essentially market rate rent. And then on top of that, you'd have a savings component. So the savings component would be investing in the home the equity of the property would appreciate over time. But it wouldn't be an equivalent payment to a mortgage. It's like rent plus savings on top of it.

Ash Faraj  29:28

got it and so like let's say I find a home application goes through Divvy homes buys it was with the rent the equivalent to the mortgage payment.  So you'd be paying a little more than the market rate. But that but that extra goes towards your equity Does that make sense? They're completely Yeah, crap. You know, the other thing I wanted to ask was just out of curiosity, what do you look for when hiring people like a specifically for Divvy? Because you're hiring now, what stands out in candidates to you personally?

Adena Hefets  30:12

Number one thing is just attitude. Number one, it's like, just excited to come on board excited about the mission, willingness to learn and grow, like, all, that the energy of the person is number one. Second is work ethic. Very few people joined to the actually know real estate super well, right. But you have to have a willingness to work hard and learn. I always believe that no matter how much time I spend with someone, even if I spend hours with someone before I hire them that in no way does it compare to the amount of time that a former colleague has spent with them. And so I relied really heavily on references. That's super important to me to have really strong references and someone that I hire. So my advice is be really thoughtful about everyone who you work with every colleague, treat everyone really well, because they might be your reference in the future, have a good attitude and sure that you'll work, work your butt off.

Ash Faraj  31:09

Something I look for when I decide to partner with someone is...

Adena Hefets  31:13

ethics. I think that when you're doing a partnership, there's always a million different ways that the partnership contract, you're missing something or something's not going to be there. But I try to partner with people who are fundamentally good people. So I know that no matter what we're aligned, no net will do right by each other,

Ash Faraj  31:30

the most important quality and a leader is...

Adena Hefets  31:32

a separate this most important quality and an entrepreneur is perseverance. Number one quality, maybe in a leader, his ability to inspire others,

Ash Faraj  31:43

something I've personally struggled with as a leader has been...

Adena Hefets  31:47

not delegating enough micromanaging very early on, I had a really hard time letting go of different parts of the business, I built it all myself. And I've worked on

Ash Faraj  31:56

something I do to make sure I feel positive, and stay productive is...

Adena Hefets  32:00

workout. Every morning.

Ash Faraj  32:02

If I were to go back and talk to my younger self in my mid 20s, I would tell myself...

Adena Hefets  32:08

I wanted to be promoted. I wanted to know I was making progress in my career. And to have a little bit more just open mindedness around the fact that not everything is going to come immediately.

Ash Faraj  32:19

One setback or failure in my early 20s that I will never forget is...

Adena Hefets  32:24

I think my biggest failures or regrets or relationships. I didn't nurture as much as I should have. not remembering that relationships are really long. And you've got to be patient and do well by people and, and be thoughtful in every connection, every person, every relationship.

Ash Faraj  32:41

The sweetest moment I felt in my entire career was when...

Adena Hefets  32:45

I was at square, my mom was very sick and in the hospital. A bunch of my friends made a video that was a montage of just like food all the Adena, you're gonna be okay, get through this, like a 15 minute long video. I mean, it was worse than saving ever and I just remember falling as soon as I got it. And these little random acts of kindness are what makes work really great

Ash Faraj  33:09

to have a long career ahead of me. Looking forward. If I could be remembered for just one thing it would be...

Adena Hefets  33:15

doing good by people having a positive impact on the world and knowing that I'm doing the right thing and helping helping make someone else's life a little bit better.

Ash Faraj  33:25

Last one is if I were stranded on an island and had access to one meal it would be...

Adena Hefets  33:32

so very broadly, carbs pasta, pizza and bread, chocolate, salted malted caramel ice cream by salt and straw which is like the best

Ash Faraj  33:46

I was at salted straw yesterday! Thank you so so much for listening. Now if you enjoyed this episode, please please leave us a quick quick rating and review on Apple podcasts. It means the world to us that you listen and we would appreciate it if you just took a few seconds to leave us a quick rating and review. Thank you and we'll see you again next week. Take care