Former NAB execs raise $15m to disrupt home loan market with new start-up Athena
“We’re a digital business, so we don’t have expensive branches or brokerage commissions,” Walsh said.
“And thanks to the cloud-native nature of the platform, we can pass the savings on to borrowers. For someone refinancing their loan, they can apply online and within 15 minutes be conditionally approved.”
By bypassing the banks, Athena claims to be able to offer borrowers lower interest rates.
It’s launching a beta pilot of the platform next month, ahead of a full launch in 2019, and already has a waiting list of 1,000 people ahead of any public marketing and awareness campaigns.
Athena did not reveal what superannuation funds it already had on board, or what interest rates it would offer, but said it had a funding capacity of 500 million at this stage. of dollars.
“Today, pension funds have significant investments in Australian mortgage assets, via bank intermediation. This is good business for the banks – profiting from hundreds of billions of investments by pension funds. By investing in home loans directly with Athena, super funds can reduce the split between what mortgage borrowers pay and what investors receive,” Starkey said.
“In countries like the Netherlands, where pension systems are just as advanced, the impact of this model is already evident.”
Three years ago, it was estimated by consultancy IG&H that around 10 percent of home loans in the Netherlands were financed by private funds, backed by institutional investors, usually pension funds.
Many private funds supporting home loans are now operating in the market, including Syntrus Achmea, Munt, Quion and Dynamic Credit.
Motivated and focused
As part of Athena’s capital increase, Paul Bassat of Square Peg will join the start-up’s board of directors.
“It’s a great example of the type of team we like to support: smart, driven and focused on solving an important problem,” he said.
“The win-win model that Athena offers investors and borrowers has enormous potential to disrupt the way home loans are originated, serviced and funded in Australia.”
Athena’s funding round took just weeks to officially close, having been in talks with investors since last year.
Walsh said being “cloud native” meant more than just using Amazon Web Services.
“We look at the big banks and the pain points of a complex aging technology platform…being cloud native isn’t just about AWS, it’s about rethinking every aspect of platform design and development. form… This allows us to offer a good deal on home loans.”