Elevator Pitch: uno

Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we’re talking with Vincent Turner, CEO of digital mortgage platform uno.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea

uno is the smarter way to get a mortgage which combines a digital platform where customers can search for, review, and apply for a home loan backed by service and support from a team of home loan advisers.

Customers enter their details into uno’s platform (such as loan and deposit size) and uno’s algorithm runs through more than 50,000 rules on price, loan features, and credit policies to provide a shortlist of loans tailored to the customer from a panel of 21 lenders – including all major banks.

From here, customers can choose or uno’s advisers can review and recommend – doing everything from negotiating with lenders, to managing the process to settlement and beyond. advisers are available 90 hours a week via phone, text, video, chat, and email.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

We have taken the unusual step of partnering heavily with a major bank (Westpac) who to date has invested $26.5 million in the business. This is enabling us to both learn and scale very quickly. As we grow our business, we have decided to maintain the vast majority of our competencies in-house including digital, product, engineering, operations, marketing, and customer service. This strategy means all the parts of our experience are more seamless and ‘just work’ for the customer.

How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?

We’ve alleviated customer pain points typically associated with mortgage services such as face-to-face appointments; limited customer service outside of standard business hours; and individual sales commissions for service staff. And our technology overcomes perhaps the biggest challenge customers face when searching for a home loan – the ability to comprehensively review the spectrum of home loan options based on their individual circumstances.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?

Scaling the business whilst simultaneously working out what works for customers in terms of experience and outcomes. Typically a startup would get product/solution fit first, then product/market fit, then look to scale from there. We are doing the first two simultaneously.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

Whatsapp for personal, Slack for work.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
Pick an industry, one that you love or have a deep rooted interest in, then do anything in that industry. You’ll eventually find out where you can add the most value and excel.

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