You might have noticed by now – Oper raised a whopping 11M Series A EUR round from Bessemer and ABN AMRO Ventures. That means that our small (but fast growing) team can now go full steam ahead on transforming the area that we’re passionate about – mortgages.
(We know it’s a bit weird, but it’s true nonetheless, both my co-founders and I are mortgage geeks.)
When we started in 2018, our vision was pretty straightforward: getting a mortgage should be zero work. That’s how we arrived at our name, incidentally: “zero operations necessary”, zero oper – originally with a 0 instead of the “O”. (Get it?)
Why mortgages? Because first, as a borrower it’s linked to one of the most important decisions in your life, buying a house. And second, it’s one of the most significant financial products out there. Every year, lenders provide about 1.2 trillion euro in mortgages in Europe alone.
We’re far from a situation where mortgages are zero work – on the contrary, there’s a TON of work and time going into a mortgage. Think of all the information you need to assemble:
It just doesn’t end.
Once you’ve delivered all the necessary paperwork, the bank converts them to PDFs, puts everything in a blender and comes back with a “yes” or a “no” and if it’s a yes, a mortgage rate.
Then, you go to a few other banks and do all of that again. A house is the biggest thing you’ll buy in your lifetime after all, you want the best deal possible.
It’s a lot of hassle for everyone involved, although we’re convinced it’s possible to do all that – without the PDFs.
Then why don’t banks build a digital mortgage solution? Because it doesn’t make sense to digitalize a high-trust high-touch process like mortgages for one bank. It’s just too complex, too expensive to get it right.
With Oper, we’ve built a white label solution that banks can plug into their existing digital channels. We’re the first movers in this space and we’re signing up European banks at a rate of knots.
This is an appropriate time to thank our talented team – 45 people from 12 nationalities, working in 16 different European cities. What a ride it’s been since 2018, starting up and almost immediately running into a pandemic, and what a thrill to start this next chapter.
That’s what this Series A is about: making sure we expand our lead in digital mortgages throughout Europe. Because the mortgage space is ready for a gigantic digital leap, and banking is changing across Europe.
Financial institutions everywhere are closing their branches, because consumers prefer digital experiences.
Oper fits into the “post-branch strategy” of many retail banks in Europe. Many are moving away from the philosophy that every important product is bought in the local bank branch, though it does seem to us that banks are stuck in an either-or mind-set. Either they are committed to their branch strategy, or they try to push the clients to a zero-touch process. Based on our experience, a hybrid strategy will win out in the end.
Mortgages are a typical product that doesn’t lend itself well for a zero-touch digital approach. There are always, always edge cases and questions about taxes, or ownership, or transfers of mortgages (believe me, we know).
At the heart of our product and ambition to digitalize the mortgage industry is the use of smart data. In today’s economy, most processes are built around providing data by handing over documents.
With this new funding, we are going to develop the building blocks needed to gather data from a variety of sources, including payroll, income stats, spending habits etc. and then in turn process this information within the mortgage context to reduce the time-to-yes and ultimately create a better experience for the borrower.
This is another reason we’re so excited about the funding.
It has come at a time when the borrower across Europe needs us, when banks need to ensure they’re making accurate best-in-class lending decisions.
The fact that the powerhouse investors, from whom we raised capital from at this round, and our seed investors recognised the potential of our business underlines how important we feel our sector is in today’s market. A big thank you to Bessemer Venture Partners and ABN AMRO ventures for leading this round. Also a special mention to Constructive Venture Fund, Pitchdrive, Kraken Ventures, Techstars and Verve Ventures for the continuous support.
And did I mention that we just love mortgages, so we love the fact that, with this Series A, we can build the greatest, best mortgage experience in the market. And we won’t stop until it’s literally zero work to get a mortgage.