U.K. Startup Raises $6.8M for Chatbot-Powered Mortgages

© Can Stock Photo / AnnieAnnieThe U.K. mortgage startup Habito has raised nearly $6.79 million in a Series A Round led by Silicon Valley fintech investors Ribbit Capital, the company announced this week.

Habito uses a fully automated process that allows consumers to get loans in 30 minutes. It also received money from its seed investor Mosaic Investors and Taavet Hinrikus, CEO of Transferwise; Samir Desai, founder of Funding Circle; and Yuri Milner, the Russian tech billionaire. The raise brings total equity funding to $8.99 million, Crunchbase reports.

Launched last April, Habito’s technology can analyze loans from 60 lenders nearly simultaneously. So far the company reports that it has helped 20,000 borrowers “better understand their mortgage” and has completed 50 million pounds in mortgage applications. 90% of applicants prefer using a chatbot to phone support, the company says.

Habito does not charge a fee but instead receives up to 35 basis points for each successfully completed loan. Any fees above 35 basis points are refunded to the borrower — “in order to remain impartial,” CEO Daniel Hagerty told FTAdviser.com.

The so-called PropTech sector has become hot in the UK where a number of startups are vying to change the 200 billion pound mortgage market. 

The US mortgage market is even bigger, with nearly $14 trillion in home debt outstanding and new originations of about $1.4 trillion annually. In the US, a new raft of fintech mortgage lenders are also popping up, ready to challenge the banking and non-bank giants. CB Insights lists Social Finance, Lending Home, and Sindeo among the top movers in the area and expects more activity in the year ahead.

In a statement, Habito says it will use the funds to “further develop its machine learning capabilities by creating a fully automated end-to-end platform which will enable it to offer new services, such as real-time mortgage approvals and automatic alerts when a better mortgage deal becomes available to registered customers.”

Micky Malka, founder and general partner, Ribbit Capital adds: “Mortgages are the biggest personal debt most people take on in their lifetime, and habito brings a level of transparency that customers value and expect.”

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