Inside Better.com’s ambitious plans – TechCrunch
When executives in line mortgage company Better.com decided to go public earlier this year, they chose not to go the traditional route of IPO or direct listing. Instead, Better will reach public markets by merging with blank check firm Aurora Acquisition Corp in a PSPC deal that valued at 7.7 billion dollars.
While the stock market performance of post-merger SPAC companies was fragile at best This year, the Better team thought they got a better deal from their association with Aurora (and additional investment from SoftBank) than if they decided to showcase bankers and institutional investors at a traditional IPO roadshow.
“When an investment bank commits to selling your shares to the public, there is no guarantee of price or certainty of execution,” said Vishal Garg, CEO of Better. “We just weren’t convinced that investment bankers would be able to execute.”
You can hardly blame Better management for this lack of confidence. Over the past year, two more online mortgage lenders – Rocket Companies and LoanDepot – have been listed through traditional IPOs that price below the range Due to low demand with institutional investors.
“A traditional public offering makes sense for a story your traditional investment banker can understand and categorize,” Garg said. “If you can easily be classified as a SaaS company or a payments company, then a public offering makes sense. “
But the Better team has bigger ambitions than just being seen as a mortgage lender and compared to other financial services companies. With mortgage lending as the foundation, Better has added a number of additional products and services, including real estate agents, title insurance, and home insurance.
In the second half of this year, Better plans to start offering home improvement services and loans, and will eventually expand to other finance and insurance products such as personal, auto and loan loans. students, as well as life and disability insurance.
“We’re not that easily categorized,” Garg said.
Make mortgages cheaper, faster and easier
Like many digital disruptors looking to shake up established industries, Better was born out of a person seeking to solve a problem on their own. Around 2012 Vishal Garg, founding partner of Zero Capital and founder of the online student loan company UncleRich, was hoping to buy the “home of his dreams,” but got stuck in the mortgage process and lost the auction with a buyer who could close the deal faster.
As the the apocryphal founding story goes, there were few options available to someone looking to apply for and get a mortgage online – or even get a mortgage pre-approval letter. So Garg set out to build it.
“The initial vision was to take the process from tenant to owner. cheaper, faster and easier, ”Garg said. “We’ve designed a product that allows you to get a pre-approval letter online in five minutes, instead of five days or five weeks. “
According to Sarah Pierce, who joined the company as one of its first 30 employees and now manages all sales and operations, Better was able to meet the goal of getting a mortgage approved faster. using its technology to assess the borrower’s risk.