Shopping for home loans can be tedious especially when you hop from one bank to another looking for the best deals. But what if you didn’t have to do that? What if you can find all the deals in one platform and choose from there? This is where HashChing can help make your home loan journey easier.
Launched in May 2015, HashChing is the first online marketplace in Australia that helps consumers to secure the best home loan deals from multiple lenders. Compared to other financial review sites, this platform is powered by mortgage brokers not bankers. The brokers are the ones who will deal with banks to secure lower interest rates so consumers not only get better deals, they also get the convenience of personalised services and have a wider range of choice since brokers has access to all the lenders.
“Since our launch we have received great traction and have received 1800+ home loan applications worth $920 million. Our current active broker number is sitting at 81 and another 1300 brokers are registered but not activated to balance the two sides,” HashChing Founder Atul Narang reports.
The company has also recently closed $1 million round of funding from Sapien Ventures and is in the process of expanding their team to accelerate the growth.
The Secret to HashChing’s Phenomenal Growth
HashChing only launched last May but already it has experienced immense growth, which is further accelerated by the recent funding they closed. Founder’s Guide was fortunate enough to be able to talk with their co-founder Atul Narang and he discussed the strategies they applied that contributed to their success.
What promotional or marketing activities do you use to attract user communities towards your platform?
We endeavor to create a referral network by partnering with other platforms and websites where our target audience hangout as part of their home loan journey. For example, we partnered with OnTheHouse.com.au where people go to check the property valuation and listings and it’s most certain that they are the future property buyers looking to buy their own home or investors doing their research. Similarly, we regularly write educational content on our blog which drives organic traffic.
How do you balance building a minimal, viable product and user experience?
We didn’t have to worry too much about user experience because we tested out MVP with a selected group of users from family and friends. The full product was then built based on the feedback received from the regular workshops with consumers and brokers.
The purpose of building an MVP is to quickly launch something out there to test the market and if a startup start thinking too much about user experience then someone else might enter the market before you. Having said that any startup launching MVP needs to take care of the basic structure of the website/app but shouldn’t worry too much about user experience otherwise it defeats the purpose of building a MVP to quickly validate the product.
What’s the biggest challenge in running a financial platform?
The biggest challenge FinTech startups face is the financial regulation. As a FinTech startup you should be aware about the licensing requirements and engaging a lawyer can be a costly process which FinTech startups in the early stage might not be able to afford.
Other challenges are making sure the language used in the platform or marketing is appropriate and not influencing consumer’s decision in anyway. The government of Australia has recently started a regulatory sandbox to help the FinTech innovators which has been welcomed by the FinTech community. Regulatory sandbox will allow the FinTech startups to test their idea for six months while ASIC will make sure consumers are protected.
How do you ensure your commission against lapses and external factors?
There are few ways to control the leakage. We hold consumer’s hand in their home loan journey and try to get their feedback at every step of the workflow by providing them a personal touch and that way consumer keeps us updated. To test, we are also speaking to few brokers about setting up HashChing as a referrer into their system and that way the system then automatically calculates and divide the payment based on the agreed percentage.
In which areas do you think HashChing needs improvement or expansion?
We need to expand our marketing activities and also create brand awareness in consumers. Due to the limited funds and resources, I have been managing digital marketing activities including inbound marketing, email marketing and content strategy for HashChing whilst managing the product development, AWS infrastructure & the team. So far we have done really well but now with the closure of our recent funding round, it’s time to hire someone who can focus only on marketing & growth hacking activities to boost traffic and manage marketing campaigns.
Do you have any plans of branching out into providing business loans for startups?
The plan is to capture the 1-2% of home loan market which is a 1.3 trillion industry and 52% home loans are written by mortgage brokers. We don’t have plans of branching out into providing business loans at this stage. Once we have captured the Australian market, the next destination to consider is the UK market where 62% home loans are done by mortgage brokers.
How were you able to help your community in Australia achieve better home and living conditions?
Home loan is the most important decision in someone’s life and we help consumers & community by connecting them to the brokers who has the expertise and experience to help them through the process. Consumers get access to the home loan deals which are not directly available to them which can save thousands and help them own their home sooner. The money they save can then be spent on kid’s education or a holiday getaway.