A former Lyric unit

Lyric to relaunch under new ownership after Black Swan purchase

US: Apartment-style accommodation provider Lyric is to be revived under new ownership after being acquired by Florida-based investment advisory firm Black Swan.

The news comes two and a half years after the original company was forced to pivot from leasing due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and just over a year after revenue management and financial intelligence software, Wheelhouse, announced that it had spun out of Lyric [its parent company], raising $16 million in funding in the process.

Lyric sold its last remaining location at 70 Pine Street in New York City in November 2020 to fellow New York-based operator Mint House.

Founded in 2014, Lyric’s troubles in public began in March 2020 before the global lockdowns ensued, when it laid off around 20 per cent of its staff and retreated from a number of cities in which it was operating. Its co-founder and then-president, Joe Fraiman, also departed that July for personal reasons.

Less than two years before that, the startup had raised $160 million in a Series B round led by Airbnb and it had reportedly raised $179 million in funding.

Similar management companies including Domio and Stay Alfred, which also operated master lease models, were also casualties in the early months of the pandemic after burning through cash generated by bumper funding rounds and consequently struggling to scale their operations nationwide.

The new iteration of Lyric will now be led by Zachary Tombley [CEO], Daniel Sodroski [president] and the Black Swan team, while the business’ original founder, Andrew Kitchell, said that he and his teammates were now “100 per cent focused” on building Wheelhouse, which was also founded in 2014.

Black Swan has bought Lyric’s domestic and international trademark rights, operational and performance data, and the domain for as a result of the acquisition, which closed late last year according to a statement.

Zachary Tombley, founder and managing partner at Black Swan Holdings, said: “In a technology-focused category where brand and experience took a backseat, Lyric surely stood out. The magnitude and extraordinary level of investment in the brand became apparent to us as Black Swan took control of the former Lyric units at LIZ DC.

“This ignited a discussion between Andrew Kitchell, founder and former CEO of Lyric, and myself regarding the future trajectory of the Lyric brand. Controlling a world-class, developed brand became essential as we shifted to increasing our expansion through real estate acquisition,” he added.

Andrew Kitchell, founder and former CEO of Lyric, said: “Our goal with Lyric was to create a distinct lifestyle brand that would speak directly to the modern traveller. It was clear Black Swan was doing something similar and doing it well.

“Since winding down operations, we’ve gotten much interest in the Lyric IP from other prospective purchasers. After seeing what Zachary and his team have accomplished thus far, our investors and team didn’t think there was a group better than Black Swan to shepherd the brand we spent so much energy building. We’re excited to see where they take it,” he added.

The acquisition will complement the real estate strategy of Black Swan’s asset management business, Black Swan Asset Management LLC, which launched earlier this year and raises capital to purchase Class A multifamily properties across North America.  Since launching in 2015, Black Swan managed 20 different assets in nine US markets.

The new Lyric is expected to launch later this summer.

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