Earlier today, we announced that we’ve closed $1.95M for Maxwell, with a seed round led by MATH Venture Partners with participation from Techstars Ventures, Sovereign’s Capital, Zelkova Ventures, Cantos Ventures and Timberline, along with an elite group of angels. As significant of a milestone this is for Maxwell, it really just signifies the beginning.
Most of the employees of Maxwell have a mortgage (or two or three) under their belt. None of us look fondly on these past experiences. In fact, my last refinance through a big bank took 63 days to close. I had to sign countless documents, many of which I didn’t understand or couldn’t stomach the attention to read. And for most of those two months, I had no idea what was happening, what was expected of me or how I could help move it along. This was one of the most important financial decisions of my life and I felt helpless.
Oddly, my loan officer, Tom, seemed equally helpless, at the mercy of a process that felt more like it belonged in 1995 than 2015. He was generally cheerful and informative. But as far as I could tell, he had very little influence on my experience through the process.
Now, having worked in the industry for over a year, I realize that mortgage professionals like Tom and his team are saddled with the worst technology to do their jobs. They swim in emails and texts, they drown in hundreds of point solutions, they still deal with paper and fax machines, they manage a growing burden of regulation, and they navigate a treacherous sea of relationships to drive referrals into their business. The idea of a digital mortgage is far from reality!
What’s more, the industry writ-large employs legacy workflows, layered with regulations from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, the Housing & Urban Development Administration, the Federal Reserve, the Federal Trade Commission, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service, the Veteran’s Administration along with a host of federal laws including the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the Truth in Lending Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the … well, you get the idea. These processes, essentially the “manufacture” of an asset called a mortgage, are predicated on assumptions that no longer hold in today’s connected world.
We created Maxwell to radically alter this reality for our customers. We exist to empower mortgage lenders to be more connected, successful and productive by intelligently automating their workflow. Our business is predicated on five beliefs:
- A mortgage can be completed in less than 2 weeks
- Buying a home is an emotional and relational transaction, as much a financial one
- Automation will empower advisors, not replace them
- Data network effects will dramatically reduce inefficiencies and cost
And the fifth? We believe that a company exists for more than profit — it exists to create a foundation of meaning for its people and to wield positive impact in the world we share. I encourage you to read our earlier blog post, Why We’re Entrepreneurs.
Closing our seed round is a meaningful step to drive our beliefs to reality. We are energized by the opportunity we have to positively affect the homebuying experience for millions of people, and to reinvigorate the business models of mortgage lenders who embrace the digital mortgage of the future.
I’ll end this note with high fives to just some of the people that have been most seminal to take Maxwell to where it is today:
- My co-founders, Lance and Rutul, along with our early board members, Ran and Mani, who weathered the highs-and-lows of building a startup and dedicated late nights to build what exists today
- Techstars for embedding a strong drive for execution excellence and a peerless community of founders who #GiveFirst
- Michael and Jonathan Coors, the most courageous investors I know, for believing in us before “us” wasn’t more than a whiteboard and a PowerPoint
- Dana Wright and Troy Henikoff at MATH Ventures for seeing not just the results but also the immense possibilities that stand ahead of us
- Our first customers who lived through more than a few product oddities but understood the problem and were patient with our early solution. Customers that are cheerleaders are the best kind for founders. Thank you.
And finally, high five to our growing team at Maxwell, including our investors, who have helped create the product we know today and who are building what we know it will be in the future. Every day this team rolls up its sleeves to build a product that makes a difference for our customers. I’m honored to work alongside them.