In 2013, my company The American Home was in trouble. Our operations could not keep up with the number of homes we were buying. We ended 2012, with 2000 rental homes owned, 500 under contract and only 500 rented. This was not recipe for profits.
We were able to turn things around in nine grueling months in which we almost ran out of cash and had to re-engineer every single process in the company. In 2015, we successfully sold our company to a publicly traded REIT in what was then the largest single transaction of single-family homes ever for $263 million.
And while there was a great team of people who helped make this happen, no one played a bigger role in the turnaround and subsequent sale than David Sullivan. David started in the finance department and then very quickly rose to become Chief Operating Officer after proving his worth time and again. He became Chief Operating Officer of The American Home at the ripe old age of 26.
If David Sullivan was a stock I would buy him, but he is not a stock, so instead I chose to invest in him. When he told me that his experience at The American Home made him want to change how renters paid rent, I was one of the first people to send him money even though he had only an inkling of an idea of how he was going to do it.
Fast forward to today and his company, Till, is transforming the way renters pay rent with a slew of products that are designed to improve the renters’ options, experience and financial well-being. What makes Till special is that by focusing on renter success, everyone in the system benefits including landlords.
And David just launched Till’s most exciting new product, Rent Now Pay Later.
It should because Buy Now Pay Later is taking over the e-commerce world. Companies like Affirm (NASDAQ: AFRM), AfterPay (Australia: APT), and Klarna (Private) have exploded onto the scene creating tens of billions of dollars of value for investors. Paypal (NASDAQ: PYPL) is scrambling to ramp up their offering and Apple is working on it as well. Fintech giant Square (NYSE: SQ) just announced a merger with AfterPay, paying an astonishing 30 times revenue to access the fast-growing sector.
Why is Buy Now Pay Later succeeding? Because it allows consumers to match purchases to their cash flows, thus giving consumers more confidence to increase their ability to purchase while simultaneously letting consumers avoid costly fees and expenses associated with credit cards or other forms of financing.
And this brings us to the rental market. Why should rent be due in one lump sum on the 1st of every month? Did you know that there is $50 billion of delinquent rent every year and that renters are borrowing roughly $50 billion in payday loans to make ends meet?
Until Till, there were no digital tools to help renters manage their cash flow or break rent into bite sized payments, or even manage unforeseen events. Our experience at The American Home showed us that when you work with renters facing delinquency challenges they can succeed. But at the time, we were operating with limited tools and had limited ability to help people.
Recently Till secured a major strategic investment from a public company and David and team are now growing very fast, and his goal is for Till’s products and services to be offered in two million rental units by the end of 2022.
I think that Till is going to revolutionize the way rent is paid and I think it is a win for everyone in the rental ecosystem.
But don’t just listen to me, listen to David. I really hope you enjoy this interview with one of the most talented executives I’ve ever come across, David Sullivan.
And here is the transcript of the interview: