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Zulu Assets Leads Investment in Next-Generation Digital Mortgage Technologies

RealKey, an innovator in digital mortgage technologies that enable bank and non-bank mortgage lenders and brokers to streamline the mortgage loan processing experience, today announced that it closed $3.4 million in seed funding, led by Zulu Assets. Additional investors included 2Enable Partners, Second Century Ventures (NAR-National Association of Realtors investment arm), Sandalphon Capital, Little Green Bamboo Capital, and numerous notable angel groups.

The seed funding was oversubscribed by $400K, further solidifying RealKey’s position in the digital mortgage space. The infusion of capital will enable RealKey to accelerate the launch of new products, broaden its services, and aggressively pursue new market opportunities.

“We are excited to support RealKey’s transformation of loan processing,” said Blake Picquet of Zulu Assets. “Who hasn’t had a bad experience in the lending process? RealKey is poised to dominate this space once people realize the time savings and efficiencies that can be gained by all parties.”

Over the past year, RealKey has experienced rapid growth, solidifying partnerships with Flagstar Bank, one of the largest residential mortgage servicers and banks in the United States. In addition, the company now has nearly 100 lenders and 3,500 loan programs built into its AI, as well as hundreds of brokerages utilizing RealKey’s digital mortgage platform.

“We are excited to partner with our investors, whose investment in our company further validates RealKey’s positive momentum in the mortgage space,” said Christopher Hussain, CEO, RealKey. “We are growing rapidly as we move closer to our vision of a document-centric and unified approach to finance and fintech. We look forward to progressing to the next phase of AI to automate processing and underwriting further, improving communications, implementing our own OCR, and integrating with more lenders’ LOSs, POSs, and other ecosystem partners. We could not have accomplished what we have without a great team and the support of our investors.”

Christopher Hussain, CEO and Founder

Rob Reid, Head of Sales and Strategic Partnerships

 

We are excited to announce that RealKey has graduated from the Flagstar Mortgage Tech Accelerator, the first and only U.S. accelerator dedicated to mortgage technology. The accelerator was an intensive three-month virtual program designed by Flagstar Bank, the sixth largest mortgage lender in the country. We were selected to participate because we have a clear understanding of the industry, and are addressing a pain point for Flagstar, their broker channel, and the rest of the industry.

During the accelerator, RealKey was in good company with fellow participants Stavvy and Home Lending Pal. In fact, each of our organizations was recognized for creating technology that will disrupt and transform all areas of the mortgage business — from mortgage origination, processing, marketing, and servicing to compliance, sales, underwriting, credit, and quality assessment. 

On graduation day, we were joined by approximately 70 Flagstar mentors, including members of the C-Suite and other top executives. The day’s events provided an informative platform to demonstrate how companies can leverage the latest technology to improve efficiencies and provide tech-enabled products to their customers.

Without a doubt, the accelerator gave us an opportunity to forge new relationships that will enable us to bring about transformative changes to the mortgage industry and improve the customer experience. However, as many in the mortgage and banking industries know, for potential vendors, there’s a heavy lift to formalize a relationship. 

For example, while a bank may want to do business with a vendor, establishing that partnership is not always an option for the bank. Why? There are several reasons, with bank regulations being one of the key holding points, as well as the expense and time that go into vendor management and certification. While mortgage lending companies like Quicken Loans and United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM), and some of the the bigger banks like Chase and Wells Fargo, have more resources to adapt to an increasingly tech-dominated environment, growing banks like Flagstar are increasingly leveraging tech accelerator programs to find those companies — like RealKey — that can solve their problems. And at the end of the day, this is a beneficial situation for everyone. 

At RealKey, we are working to prioritize Flagstar’s needs because they took the time and initiative through this accelerator to get to know us, and make working together a win-win. Being first, they get priority. Their showing us behind the scenes is definitely a factor now in prioritizing features and programming of their loan programs, overlays, and forms associated with the bank. We know their pain points, and can address their needs through features built for the TPOs (Third Party Originators) they work with. Eventually, we can integrate directly. For Flagstar, they have an early first mover advantage over banks and lenders that connect later and cannot be prioritized the same.

Through the accelerator, we have come to realize that there is a great advantage to aligning ourselves with small to mid-sized banks. For instance, with a bank like Flagstar, the sixth largest mortgage lender in the US, they have extremely stringent – even brutal –  requirements to become a vendor. The accelerator program identified that, as well as great uses for future capital, which will benefit RealKey, Flagstar, and the industry as a whole. The advantage for us is that we can work with Flagstar early to have everything in place in advance, shortening the time to implement. And for Flagstar, they get the advantage of identifying before their competitors leading-edge technology that will help them to compete and thrive.

The Flagstar Mortgage Tech Accelerator validated that we bring specific value to companies like Flagstar, their broker partners, and the rest of the industry, as evidenced by the below feedback and praise we received from Flagstar’s leadership: 

  • As a former top mortgage loan originator; Christopher and his team know firsthand the pain points from the production side and solutions to solve with technology, not the other way around.
  • While others in the space are focusing on the top of the funnel, RealKey is solving the problems that occur once everything goes through the funnel — from the multiple parties that create complexities in the mortgage process to inefficient systems for data collection, validation, and communication.
  • RealKey is a cloud-based, paperless solution that streamlines the processing experience by automating document collection, verification, and review, and keeps all parties seamlessly connected through a centralized chat, replacing disconnected communication tools like email, text and phone.

Our graduation from the Flagstar Mortgage Tech Accelerator reinforced the importance of innovating and discovering those areas of great opportunity. For us, that means collaborating with companies that have a similar mindset, and leveraging technology to solve for current and emerging challenges.

With the RealKey Digital Mortgage Platform, we are changing how the mortgage industry operates, shortening the loan processing cycle by up to 50%. We are setting a new standard for more efficient mortgage processing by automating documentation collection and review by underwriters and processors, and streamlining communications through a centralized chat for all collaborators in the mortgage process.

Want to learn more about RealKey? Click here to schedule a demo.