Hometap Assists Homeowners In "Tapping" Into Their Home Equity
Jeff Glass has been involved in tech startups and entrepreneurship for nearly his whole career. He held all sorts of executive positions and has either been or is currently on, the board for several companies and organizations such as LinkedIn, BUILDinBoston, and TrueMotion.
Hometap is Glass’ newest venture and they are giving homeowners the ability to access funds via their home equity, without any interest or monthly payment following it.
We connected with Glass to learn the origin behind Hometap, how the company is assisting homeowners with their finances, and what the future holds for him and the rest of the Hometap team.
Also, Hometap is hiring! Click here for all of the company's job openings!
What were you doing leading up to the founding of Hometap? Tell me the story of Hometap. What was the aha moment?
I’ve spent the majority of my career building companies to scale from the ground up, in industries ranging from financial services to internet and mobile tech, and then from the venture capital side, where I invested in other businesses and entrepreneurs.
A few years ago, I was ready for a change from the venture side but wasn’t sure what that change should be. My primary goal was to build an innovative business that would have a positive impact on a lot of people.
As fate would have it, two of our co-founders Max Campion and Charlie Vrettos, approached me and another co-founder, Andrew Vassallo, with an insight that many young up and coming Americans with stable incomes were suffering from the same challenges that my parents wrestled with years ago when I was a kid.
I grew up in a two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, NY. Our apartment was completely fine, however, I remember the discussions my parents used to have about how they wanted to own a home but feared to end up like many of their friends, who lived in perpetual stress from the monthly mortgage payments. This fear of becoming “house rich, and cash poor” stuck with me for a long time.
I began to think about how I, as a serial entrepreneur over many years, had the benefit of raising capital from investors who trusted me with their money and in exchange received a percentage of ownership in my business. This is money they hoped would grow but the return wasn’t guaranteed.
Meanwhile, homeowners who need capital to pay for life’s necessities and opportunities — who actually have a physical, tangible asset - are given very few options. They can sell their home or they can borrow further against the value of their house. And with increased borrowing comes a greater debt burden, worry, lack of flexibility, and stress.
It didn’t make sense that we couldn’t give homeowners the same type of opportunity that investors give business owners. We then we got to thinking that maybe we, and some other smart, caring people (maybe homeowners themselves) should start a company to help other homeowners do that.
And so we did. We call it Hometap.
What are some of the core problems Hometap is solving?
Today, being house-rich and cash poor is the reality for a high percentage of homeowners in the United States. They have a large amount of their wealth tied up in one single illiquid asset (their home).
Meanwhile, life happens. Maybe they’ve had an emergency expense pop up, or have a child heading to college, or perhaps lost a job and have fallen behind on bills. These kinds of everyday challenges can make life both emotionally and financially stressful.
We’ve built a product that addresses these everyday challenges head-on in the hopes to lessen that financial stress for homeowners, without having to add on more debt or monthly payments.
How have the company/solutions evolved over the past year?
We’ve surpassed our growth goals as we continue making Hometap available to as many homeowners, across as many states, as possible.
Our in-house data science and analytics team have helped to further refine our proprietary financial models and forecasting tools, enabling us to hone our underwriting criteria and make better-informed investment decisions.
We’ve also spent the past year working collaboratively as a company to further enhance the homeowner experience, making engaging with Hometap easier, faster, and more transparent throughout the entire customer journey. This includes a newly-released, shorter application process in the hopes to make the Hometap experience as seamless and simple as possible.
Who are your customers? Examples?
Our customers are made up of forward-thinking homeowners across the United States that want to tap into their home’s built-in wealth but don’t want to take on additional monthly payments or interest that comes along with most home loans.
The homeowners we work with are using a Hometap investment to fund a variety of goals and opportunities, including, but not limited to, the following use cases:
What are some cool things you’re working on right now?
What I love most about my role is that I get to work across all departments to pioneer our mission of making homeownership less stressful and more accessible.
We’ve already begun to build a great reputation for our data science and analytics teams, and we’re just getting started. We continue to go deeper in understanding the data science and financial modeling around home values, appreciation forecasts, residential real estate investments, and homeowner trends in general.
From the marketing and sales side, we’re rethinking traditional ways of how and where to reach homeowners so we can add value to every phase of the homeowner journey - not just from an investment standpoint. We are also trying to create a dynamic consumer experience that not only serves to inform our potential homeowners about our offerings but also allows them to interact with us in a highly homeowner-centric manner. Our product and engineering teams work tirelessly to fulfill that promise.
Non-Specific Growth Numbers:
We’ve more than doubled our headcount last year and we expect to do so again this year.
Geographically we are on track to be available in more than 50% of the United States by the end of 2019.
What comes next for Hometap?
In order to achieve our company mission and continue to improve the overall customer experience of working with Hometap, we are focused on bringing on new additions to the team whose values match our external mission of making homeownership less stressful and more accessible. From an internal culture standpoint, that means two things:
1) that each one of us should take ownership and pride in the work that we do, and,
2) we perform our work, not only with the intent of getting our individual work done, but in a way that is supportive of the ecosystem that is around us: our work colleagues, our homeowners, our investors, etc.
Like the homeowners we seek to serve, we seek to be Good Owners as well as Good Neighbors.
If this sounds like you, we want to hear from you! Visit our BIZZpage for our current job openings, including: