IMMO hires former Round Hill executive to head capital raising

The single-family rental specialist has hired its first chief growth officer to boost institutional partnerships.

London-based IMMO Capital has hired Chris Chinaloy as chief growth officer, PERE can reveal, as the technology-led single-family rental specialist looks to scale up its strategic partnerships with institutional investors globally.

Founded in 2017 by Hans-Christian Zappel, Avinav Nigam and Samantha Kempe, IMMO partners with private equity and institutional investors to allocate capital on their behalf in portfolios of single-family rental assets across Europe. To date, the vertically integrated platform has raised €2.5 billion in capital commitments for real estate investments.

In the newly created role, Chinaloy will oversee capital raising, a function hitherto managed by Zappel and Kempe, CEO and CIO, respectively. IMMO plans to expand the capital raising team in the coming months, in addition to hiring for open roles in the finance and investment teams.

To date, IMMO’s investor clients are mostly multi-managers, including a $1 trillion-plus North American asset manager. Looking forward, Chinaloy will spearhead efforts to partner with more ‘patient capital’ institutions such as pension funds and sovereign wealth funds. According to Chinaloy, demand for SFR exposure is growing from investors of all sizes, from family offices, which typically invest €10 million to €50 million per ticket, to large institutional investors looking to allocate as much as €1 billion to €2 billion at a time.

Chinaloy: SFR is set for an institutionalization journey as student housing was 10 years prior

“The vast majority of all residential real estate in the world is granular: it’s small multifamily and single-family accommodation,” Chinaloy tells PERE. “To help investors unlock that space will be transformative to the category.”

The SFR sector in Europe is estimated to be worth €40 trillion, according to a 2021 report by Savills, but institutions have exposure to only around 2-3 percent of this market. Chinaloy compares the sector’s investment prospects to the early days of purpose-built student accommodation in Europe, circa 2013, when large private equity real estate funds were the only major players in the space before PBSA emerged as an institutionally ready asset class five or six years later. “There’s a bit of a warm-up phase that naturally happens in emerging segments. I think granular residential like single-family rentals is on the same path as student accommodation was, and senior housing now is.”

By investing exclusively in standing assets, Chinaloy argues investors can get the same return profile as built-to-rent and purpose-built student accommodation, without managing development or planning risk, and without chasing the increasing prices in those sectors resulting from competition for assets.

IMMO aggregates portfolios of SFR assets by means of proprietary technology, for which it raised $75 million in Series B funding in April 2022 from venture capital investors. At the time, this was the largest ever proptech Series B in Europe.

The technology maps rental growth, capital growth, volume of SFR homes and asset- level risk variables. This is then applied geographically to identify pockets in a particular country achieving the best risk-adjusted returns, with customizations available based on risk profile and desired market exposure.

Chinaloy was formerly at London-based residential manager Round Hill Capital, where he worked since 2013 as chief strategy officer and head of capital markets. In 2020, he led the vertical integration of the business. In 2021, he helped create the Nido Student platform in a joint venture with CPP Investments, which later became the Round Hill/CPPIB PBSA Platform; this remains one of the largest PBSA platforms in Europe, with more than €1 billion invested. In late 2022, it was reported that RHC Europe LLC, the legal entity employing the majority of the firm’s UK-based staff, had been placed into liquidation. Chinaloy said his role was global, and so unaffected by the entity’s closure.

Prior to Round Hill, he worked across a range of strategic, commercial operations, marketing and business development roles, including leading the digital strategy at consumer goods company Procter & Gamble and creating e-commerce platforms for various retailers including