Habito, a U.K.-based online mortgage broker, has raised £18.5 million ($24 million) in a series B round of funding led by Atomico, the venture capital (VC) giant set up by Skype cofounder Niklas Zennström. Existing investors Ribbit Capital, Mosaic Ventures, and Revolutionary (Ad)Ventures also participated in the round.
Founded out of London in 2015, Habito offers an algorithm-powered digital mortgage adviser, replete with a chatbot, that recommends the best mortgages for first-time buyers, as well as for those seeking to switch providers. Humans are on hand to answer questions, and Habito helps manage the application from end to end.
The company has now surpassed the $33 million mark, having closed its series A round just nine months ago. With its latest tranche, Habito said it plans to “accelerate” growth by investing in its technology and revealed that it will be working with “major retail banks and high street lenders” to integrate its technology directly into their systems to offer real-time mortgage approvals.
Additionally, Habito revealed that it plans to expand into complementary services, such as home and life insurance products.
“Since our Series A, we’ve had an amazing response from customers, and a period of explosive growth,” explained Habito founder and CEO Daniel Hegarty. “Our best-in-class technology, coupled with our team of first-rate mortgage experts, prevents homeowners from ever getting or staying on the wrong mortgage.”
“Robo advisers” are infiltrating the fintech realm, with companies such as LendingRobot automating a number of services, including peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, and even hedge funds. In the U.S., Irvine, California-based Cloudvirga recently recently raised $15 million for automated mortgage applications.
So it seems there is interest in removing inefficiencies from a market that generates vast sums of cash for the myriad players involved, including lenders.
“When you see a very large inefficient market, with £30 billion of annual overspend by consumers in the U.K. alone, and a business rethinking how to provide a simpler, faster, and cheaper service to customers, more targeted access to borrowers, and with lower costs for the lender — there is a lot to like,” added Atomico partner Niall Wass. “Habito is a solution that is better for both sides of the mortgage market.”