Point, a Palo Alto startup that extends equity financing to homeowners and homebuyers, today announced that it has secured $122 million in new financing, $22 million of which was raised in a series B equity funding led by Prudential Financial and DAG Ventures, with contributions from new investors Financial Venture Studio and Enterprise Community Partners and existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Ribbit Capital, and Bloomberg Beta. The remaining $100 million is in the form of a capital commitment from Kingsbridge Wealth Management (which also participated in the equity round), bringing Point’s total platform capital to over $265 million, following a $150 capital investment from Atalaya Capital Management in 2018.
CEO Eddie Lim, who cofounded the company in 2015 with Eoin Matthews and Andreessen Horowitz partner Alex Rampell, said that Point has raised $33 million in equity to date, and that origination volume has grown more than ten times year-over-year. Assuming all goes according to plan, he expects the company will fund “in excess” of 1,000 homeowners in 2019.
“We are witnessing the emergence of a whole new class of financial solution that is aligned with homeowners, and investors are taking notice,” Lim said. “2019 is proving to be a year of exponential growth for the company, and we expect that growth to continue as home equity investments open up critical liquidity for a lot more homeowners.”
In 13 states — California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington — and the District of Columbia, Point offers up to $250,000 over a 10-year term without interest rates or monthly payments for those who pass its five-minute online screener. (It applies a risk adjustment of up to 20 percent to offset declines in home value.) Point provides a provisional offer to preapproved applicants for between 5 percent and 10 percent of their home’s current value, and schedules an in-person licensed appraiser visit (for which it charges $500 to $700) before finalizing an offer. Then, it arranges a meeting with a notary, submits the necessary paperwork, and confirms the filings, at which point it releases the funds (minus escrow and processing fees).
Homeowners can buy Point out, refinance, or sell their home at any time — Point isn’t added to the title of the property. Furthermore, customers don’t need approval for renovations or home improvements outside of the house’s financing, and unlike a home equity loan or second mortgage, they aren’t on the hook for interest. A home worth for $1,338,200, for instance, would net a customer a $1,140,600 share and Point about $197,600, while a $750,000 home would be split $670,000/$80,000.
It’s not a new idea — banks have experimented with equity in home financing for the better part of three decades. But Lim says Point’s smaller scope and proprietary platform make it a lot more scalable than it has been, and an increasingly attractive alternative to unsecured loans, Federal Housing Administration loans, and other established options.
“This type of initiative is only possible because we’ve built a proprietary technology platform which enables us to rapidly prototype and market-test new products based on the needs of homeowners,” said Lim. “Point’s emphasis on providing homeowners with an exceptional experience means we have to continue to build superior technology. Building great products that integrate finance and technology is what we do best.”
Lim says the latest funding round will fuel Point’s expansion to over 30 states (70 percent of U.S. homeowners) by 2020. Also on the roadmap: 30-year product offerings, which will come to market later this year.
“We know that many Americans are overburdened by debt, and too many households face impossible tradeoffs when it comes to prioritizing long-term investments like saving for retirement, paying for a child’s education, and buying a home,” Prudential VP of impact investments Miljana Vujosevic said of today’s news. “Our investment in Point is one more way we’re committing to helping consumers meet their goals and achieve lasting financial security.”