“You know when it’s three in the morning and you can’t stop thinking about an idea? And then you wake up at six a.m. and you are still thinking about that thing? That was Homegrown for me.”
There was a reason why Homegrown so captured Davis’ imagination. Davis, an Atlanta native, said he was raised in an entrepreneurial household where “sitting around the dinner table talking about pricing strategy, hiring, and [closing] big contracts” was the norm as his parents ran their automotive manufacturing business. Beyond those economics lessons, Davis said he saw first hand the ups and downs of small business ownership.
“There are problems I’ve wanted to solve my whole life. One of them has been: How can I build something that would have made my parents’ journey easier?” he told Hypepotamus.
Solving that problem is at the heart of why Homegrown exists. The startup, the first to spin out of the newly-launched Neighborhood Studios in Atlanta and backed by early-stage venture capital firm in town Overline VC, is looking to change how brick and mortar businesses access financing options to open up new locations.
Now, Davis is stepping up as the first CEO of the venture-backed startup.
Davis, who moved back to Atlanta two years ago from Seattle, is uniquely positioned to take on the CEO role at an early-stage startup. After spending years in the consulting world at Deloitte, Davis was an early employee at the OKR tracking startup Seattle-based Ally.io (acquired by Microsoft in 2021) and most recently was a Principal in Microsoft’s employee experience business, running teams building up new business lines.
With Davis at the helm of Homegrown, the startup is ready to scale its vision for the future of local business. Homegrown looks to help local business owners get the capital they need to open their next location, be it a second coffee shop, a new restaurant, or a customer-facing office in a different part of the city.
Business owners come to Homegrown to access non-dilutive and revenue-based financing options. Instead of giving up equity in their scaling business, owners use new revenue to pay back investors over time.
The platform also benefits accredited investors who are looking to build up local private businesses. The platform is designed to give investors steady returns every month (something that is often hard to find in the alternative investing space).
“Homegrown exists because it is far too difficult for our highest performing local businesses to expand,” Davis said. “You usually have to personally guarantee the loan, which means putting up your mortgage as collateral or fully leveraging yourself to make [the loan] happen. And that’s if you’re able to actually get the attention of the bank to give you the loan. The alternative is you can do angel investing. But the problem with that is it’s nearly impossible to find these people…and when you find them, they usually will take equity or ownership in your business.”
For Davis, that is a win-win for local neighborhoods.
“We’re trying to create a new asset class. By investing in the local economy, local businesses and neighborhoods you care about, you actually can get a return every month,” he said.
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