MoloFinance, a London-based fintech that is developing a “fully digital” mortgage solution, has closed £3.7 million in seed funding. The round is led by Ubon Partners, a Nordic fund specialised in financial services, and will be used to launch the company’s first product release later this summer.
Initially targeting ‘Buy to Let’ mortgages — i.e. people looking to buy property as an investment — while the company works through its regulatory approval process with the FCA, MoloFinance wants to offer an end-to-end mortgage process that is entirely digital and with the ability to give a near-instant decision.
The idea, says the startup, is to provide a frictionless experience for the customer whilst helping to eliminate any unnecessary costs related to the current process. Once FCA approved, MoloFinance plans to begin offering residential mortgages, too.
“The problem is simple: getting a mortgage today is a terrible experience, a painful process, based on obsolete practices, outdated in any other consumer experience,” MoloFinance co-founder Francesca Carlesi tells me. “Just try to compare the 4-6 weeks paper-based process of getting a mortgage with the instant set up of a current account online now available in most challenger banks”.
Carlesi says the status quo is entirely unnecessary as the technology needed to offer something a lot better is already here. Furthermore, customers are more than ready and future generations will expect instant, digital mortgages. “At Molo we are simply making it happen now,” she says.
This has seen the MoloFinance team design a fully digital mortgage journey, where most decisions are automated, most of the information needed is sourced digitally, and where a transparent “robo-advisor” substitutes puts the interest of customers first. “The net result is that we give people what they deserve for the most important financial decision of their life: speed, ease and lower costs,” argues Carlesi.
Similar offerings are already up and running in the U.S. and Australia, but in the U.K. the most disruptive forces, in the form of Habito and Trussle, have taken aim at mortgage brokerage. Carlesi concedes that these companies “have done a great first step” that was hugely overdue and that they can be considered MoloFinance’s closest peers but that the business model is “radically different”.
“We are not a broker, we don’t intend to disrupt the broker market. We are instead focusing on the overall lending process, from beginning to the end, with the goal to make the overall process quick, easy and more convenient and ultimately provide fully digital instant mortgages online. So in short we tried to solve the full problem that customers face today. As solving only one part of it in our view doesn’t solve the problem at all”.
On how MoloFinance plans to generate revenue, Carlesi says the startup will take a small share of the money made from the interest that a customer pays on their mortgage, leaving the majority for its funding partners. It won’t charge customers any unnecessary additional fees (e.g. broker fees, arrangement fees).