Knock hires ex-Lyft, Uber exec as first CFO

Startup pivoted from homebuying to lending in 2020

Knock CFO Michelle DeBella and CEO Sean Black (Photos via Knock; PR Newswire)
Knock CFO Michelle DeBella and CEO Sean Black (Photos via Knock; PR Newswire)

Knock, a startup that helps people buy new homes before selling their old ones, has tapped a former Lyft and Uber executive as its new CFO.

The company said Michelle DeBella will report directly to Knock’s co-founder and CEO Sean Black, who previously co-founded Trulia. Her focus will be on driving “profitable growth” for Knock’s Home Swap program, which pre-funds mortgages to give homeowners more flexibility when buying and selling a home.

DeBella was most recently a vice president of finance transformation and governance at Lyft.
Before that, she was global head of internal audit at Uber.

At both companies, she helped scale the finance departments ahead of their IPOs, Knock said. She previously spent 17 years at Ernst & Young and nearly a decade at Hewlett Packard.

Based in New York, Knock has raised more than $600 million in debt and equity since 2015. Investors include RRE ventures, Foundry Group, Redpoint, Greycroft, Corazon Capital, Correlation Ventures, Great Oaks Venture Capital and FJ Labs.

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In a statement, Black said DeBella was joining Knock at a “critical inflection point” in the company’s trajectory.

Until last year, Knock’s main offering was a trade-in program, where it purchased homes on behalf of consumers while helping them sell and list their old house. Once the home sold, the seller paid back Knock.

Citing friction in that model, Knock rolled out its new Home Swap program in July 2020. Knock also offers sellers interest-free bridge loans, for up to $25,000, to fix up their old homes before listing them for sale. If a home fails to sell in six months, Knock offers a backup offer.

Knock’s Home Swap is available in 15 markets, including Arizona, Colorado and Texas. It recently expanded to South Florida. Knock plans to expand to 21 markets by mid-2021 and 75 markets by 2023.

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