Westpac has made a major strategic investment of $16.5 million and led the funding round for disruptive digital mortgage service unohomeloans.com.au.
The successful launch of uno in May this year has attracted a number of high profile investors led by Westpac, that have discovered the service’s potential to redefine how Australians buy or refinance their home.
The popularity of the unohomeloans.com.au service has grown rapidly as customers have discovered the benefits of having greater power in the home loan search process, and direct access to the technology and information that traditional mortgage brokers use. uno’s offering also includes full-service support and advice for customers via chat, phone and video, helping customers search, compare and settle in the one place.
Founder and CEO of uno, Vincent Turner, said in the three months since launch, millions of dollars’ worth of loans had been settled as customers reviewed their loan position with uno’s service team to find a better deal in today’s low interest rate environment.
Mr Turner said, “We’ve grown to 34 employees to meet the service demands of thousands of registered customers who have used the platform to compare more than $400 million worth of mortgages. With the support of our investors we’ve worked hard to test and enhance the customer experience, as well as finesse the functionality of our original platform to include options such as new calculators and video chat.”
Why has uno attracted this investment?
Chief Strategy Officer at Westpac, Gary Thursby, said, “uno’s success has been impressive and we’re seeing its potential to become a serious player in the home loan market. Westpac has been involved since the concept phase, and today we’re pleased to announce we will increase our involvement in uno as a strategic investor. Westpac is proud of its reputation as a supporter of early stage fintech companies like uno that drive digital innovation and benefit Australians.”
Mr Turner added, “We knew from the start that by creating a platform with direct visibility to lenders’ products and pricing, we could give Australians greater control over the home loan process and the confidence to achieve the best home loan deal. We also challenged the status quo by giving customers the ability to search, compare and settle a home loan in the one place, which has proven extremely useful for busy professionals.
“With the healthy investment we need to drive the company forward, we are excited to keep expanding and help more people get a better home loan.”
What has uno been up to? What next?
Vincent shared with Anthill more about his company in the interview below.
What has uno achieved since its launch in May 2016?
Since the launch in May, our team at uno has grown to 33 people, to service the thousands of customers who have registered with us to compare mortgages worth more than $400 million. In fact, we currently have more than $40 million worth of mortgages actively in progress.
We’ve also seen some distinctive trends emerge over the past few months. Loans for property purchases have accounted for more than 58% of completed applications, with the remaining 42% for refinancing. Plus, our customers have shown a strong preference for online servicing, with more than 95% of inbound service contacts happening via digital channels such as online chat or email.
How will uno use this investment to grow?
Westpac’s investment is very welcome; we plan to use this investment to keep expanding the business, with a focus on marketing and partnerships. We also want to use the investment to enhance customer experience through ongoing testing, which will help us make improvements to the service, and by growing our service team.
What are your plans for the future?
For the remainder of 2016, our focus is on steadily increasing marketing spend and growth, with that growth to continue to expand in 2017. We predict that digital platforms that allow consumers to do things for themselves can grow to 50-60 per cent of the market in 10-15 years. Everyone at uno very serious about growth and we are excited to use Westpac’s investment to scale the business.