The founder and chairman of Lima One Capital, John Warren, recently sold his majority ownership stake in the Greenville-based company to minority partners. The specialty mortgage finance company was founded in 2011 and serves real estate investors with customized loan products.
While the company headquarters, leadership team, and all current jobs remain in Greenville, the transaction allows Warren to pursue interests outside of business.
As a Greenville native and a former infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps, Warren enjoys serving his community and country. In 2018, he reached the runoff in the Republican primary for governor of South Carolina.
“Business is important to me, but my passion is service,” he says. “This transaction really frees my wife and I to be involved in a variety of different things from philanthropy to being involved more in the community and also politics down the road.”
Warren says Lima One, which now has more than 300 employees nationwide, has doubled in size every year over the past five years. He expects the company to have between $1.25 and $1.5 billion in originations this year alone.
“For the company, it’s really an unlimited capital source,” Warren says. “[The transaction] will allow us to drop our cost of capital so we’ll be even more competitive in terms of operational costs.”
The transaction also benefits the city and state as a whole, according to Warren. “I think it’s a great thing for Greenville and South Carolina to prove that we can have a true startup, and not only a startup but a startup in the financial sector,” he says. “I think we’ve been very successful in South Carolina and proven that not only can we grow it but we can have a great exit and the company stays in South Carolina.”
Starting Lima One because of over-regulation of banks, Warren saw an opportunity to provide financing for real estate investors and homebuilders. Years later, he’s handing off the company to make an impact elsewhere.
“I’m probably a little shocked at how much I enjoyed business coming from the Marine Corps,” Warren says. “The biggest reward for me is also being able to give out so many careers to people.”
What people are saying
“Lima One has been a critical part of Greenville’s success over the past 10 years. When leaders like John choose to build their headquarters right here in Greenville, it shows other business leaders the benefits of locating their companies in the Upstate.” – Knox White, mayor of Greenville
“While we will miss John day-to-day and the meaningful impact he has had on Lima One’s success, our management team remains fully in place, and we’re well-positioned to continue our growth and success. The FixNFlip and rental investor markets continue to expand, and with our innovative products, strong customer experience, and great people here in Greenville, Lima One has a terrific future ahead as a national lender.” – Jeff Tennyson, Lima One CEO
“It is hard to overstate the positive impact Lima One has had on Greenville and the Upstate. Over the past 10 years, Lima One has brought high-quality, high-paying jobs to the city and improved our entire city’s quality of life. Lima One and John Warren have been great for our city and our region.” – John Uprichard, Find Great People founder and CEO