Habito plans proactive model after year of successes

Habito plans proactive model after year of successes

Digital mortgage broker Habito plans to develop a more proactive business model after completing £100m in mortgage applications since its launch a year ago.

In the past 12 months the online business has helped more than 25,000 people understand their mortgage needs and raised £8.2m in funding from major fintech firms.

It has also launched the world’s first artificial intelligence chatbot, Digital Mortgage Adviser, and boosted its headcount from four to 30 – with plans for further expansion in the offing.

Chief executive and founder Daniel Hegarty told FTAdviser: “We are constantly thinking about the next stage of the process – how do we integrate with the banks and solve our problems.

“At the moment, we are transactional and we are keen to move beyond that and make mortgages a solved problem in perpetuity. 

“Once you sign up, we will be able to check the market every day, and once you can get a better deal we will be waiting right there to say ‘you can do this’. Consumers want to spend as little time as possible thinking about mortgages.”

In March, Habito was named FinTech Startup of the Year by FSTech, and the company has so far achieved a 9.6 rating (out of 10) from more than 170 reviews on Trustpilot.

Mr Hegarty said: “I think the scale of the ambition was pretty large and there was a big problem to be solved. We have been blown away by the response and the positive feedback.”

While some companies jealously guard the information they gather, Mr Hegarty is keen to ensure his firm is able to benefit the wider industry.

“The fundamental challenge of the brokerage industry is the lack of standards. There are balkanised elements that don’t connect to each other,” he explained.

“We need more centralised data and common standards. We have spent time thinking how can we help companies - how can we use what we have built to enable the next generation of surveyors and start-ups. 

“We are keen on giving access to information and supporting an ecosystem of new business.”