Fintech company Uno Home Loans has announced the raising of $25 million in funding from strategic backer Westpac, and kicked off the search for a new CEO.
Bringing Westpac’s total investment in the startup to $51.5 million, with $16.5 million coming in mid-2016 and a further $5 million last October, the funding will go furthering the startup’s product development and scaling the business as it pushes to achieve its goal of serving 10 percent of Australia’s mortgage customers by 2028.
Uno founder and outgoing CEO Vincent Turner said the startup has spent the time since its launch almost two years ago testing its product and market fit, and established that there is “significant demand” in Australia for a digital mortgage service; now it will look to capitalise.
To do this – and stave off the fast-growing competition in the online home loans space – the company will look to double its team headcount this year, while Turner will move into the role of Chief Innovation Officer.
“My move…will be critical for our ambitious growth plans because it will ensure Uno’s customer experience and innovation remain ahead of the curve,” Turner said.
“Fintechs that focus on growth alone without continuing to innovate to improve the customer experience lose their competitive advantage. This strategy of bringing on board a senior executive to run the business day-to-day so the founder can focus on product and innovation is widely adopted by successful technology companies worldwide.”
Gary Thursby, chief strategy officer at Westpac, said of the bank’s further investment, “We continue to be impressed with the rapid growth of Uno’s business, the agility of its business model and the attractiveness of its online mortgage proposition to customers.
“The unique combination of an online platform coupled with around-the-clock service from home loan specialists is breaking new ground for the mortgage industry and putting home owners in a stronger position to obtain the best home loan for them.”
Westpac has been involved with Uno since the initial concept stage.
Launched into the market in May 2016, the platform helps Australian homeowners and aspiring homeowners find and broker the right mortgage themselves. It allows users to search, compare, and settle a home loan from a panel of 22 lenders through the one platform.
The startup stated that two thirds of loans settled through its platform have been through non-major lenders, compared to the Australian mortgage market average of around 75 percent of loans going to the four major lenders.
Startup Daily had a chat to Cathy Kovacs, head of Business Development at Westpac, about the bank’s approach to innovation and its collaborations with startups on a recent episode of the Startup Meet Corporate podcast:
Image: Gary Thursby and Vincent Turner. Source: Supplied.