As a young entrepreneur, Vincent Turner designed and patented technology that enabled messages to be sent from websites to any device. It was popular with banks, and he quickly secured Westpac as a major client. It was a relationship that became key to his success two decades later, when launching Uno, a fintech startup that is disrupting the home loan industry.
Their focus? To make things easier for mortgage borrowers. “It’s about giving people the tools they need to make better decisions,” says Vincent.
Uno operates like a comparison website, but it doesn’t only match customers with loans offering the cheapest rates. Its recommendations take into consideration other factors, including the size of the loan required and the speed at which it can be processed.
Part of their mission is to take the angst out of admin. “When we need your documents, we don’t care if you email them, take a photo, upload the docs, print them and post them – whatever suits you, works for us. We give a range of options for you to choose from, depending on what suits you and what the document is.”
So committed to the plight of simplifying and streamlining are his team, that this unifying philosophy informs every part of the business. By asking themselves, “What does this look like for the customer?” Vincent says they’ve been able to solve some common paint points.
“For instance, customers have the option of downloading their own documents to print and sign themselves, or they can have their pre-printed, pre-filled docs posted out to them,” he says. “We have 23 lenders on our platform, and if we’re working with a borrower we might say: these two lenders and products are the best fit for you, but one will come to your work for you to sign the papers, and the other one requires you to go Australia Post. Which would you prefer?”
Their strategy is resonating with customers, who are signing up in droves – and it’s also caught the attention of Westpac, who in October invested another $5 million into the brand. That brings the bank’s total investment in Uno up to $26.5 million.
“What exactly does Westpac get out of it?”, Uno asked in a blog post announcing the investment. “As an early stage business with our own unique culture and business mindset, Uno is an engine of learning. We learn at a massive pace compared to a large organisation because we move faster. We can think of something on Monday, ship it on Tuesday, be learning what it looks like on Wednesday, have statistical results on Thursday, and put it in code by Friday. A large company would take weeks or months to do the same thing.”
The vision that underpins Uno is bigger than simply rejuvenating the loan search and application process, Vincent adds. “The thing people don’t connect the dots on is: people don’t really want a mortgage,” he says. “They want to find a place to raise a family and build a home, but the mortgage part is a bit of a gripe. So our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you.”