IT’S COMPLICATED — BUT YOU’D NEVER EVER KNOW IT. SimpleNexus’ success has come from streamlined simplicity. Founders Matt Hansen, Dave Stevenson, and Ben Miller (pictured) have worked exhaustively to bring the astronomically complex mortgage process into the palm of our hands. Loan originations, credit reporting, disclosures, appraisals — SimpleNexus is simply there. “It’s tremendously hard to build something so simple. Yet that’s exactly what we’ve done in revolutionizing these processes,” Miller says. “We’ve created so much worth on such little capital. We’re under-the-radar people, but there aren’t many stories like this, and we thought we should thump our chest a bit. It’s a story worth telling.”
The idea for SimpleNexus came from founder Matt Hansen’s brother-in-law. He was a loan officer, and he shared his frustrations about the back-and-forth process of securing loans for clients.
The borrower, for example, will talk with a loan officer. On the drive home, he’ll call his wife. She’ll say, “Well, what if we put $2,000 down? What difference will that make to the monthly payment?” Then the husband calls the loan officer back and … repeat at length. It doesn’t take long before everyone’s pulling their hair out.
There had to be a better way. Matt knew those interactions needed to be streamlined, so he built an app to help people calculate their payment. The loan officer could even have his or her face on it — like a digital business card.
Matt is an accomplished developer (he led core development at Simplifile back in the day), and he built the SimpleNexus code on the weekends. Matt’s brother-in-law started using it — and then his loan officer co-workers wanted it, too. After 20 or 30 of these requests, Matt’s wife told him, “If you’re not going to spend time with your family, maybe you could at least get paid for this?!”
The first iteration of that digital business card cost clients $6 a month. Then, it’s been incremental innovation after incremental innovation. We had clients literally telling us, “I would pay you more money for this.” Today we’ve expanded our offerings all the way to $150 a month.
All along the way we’ve listened to the customers. We’ve solved problems, streamlined processes, managed regulations, and offered unmatched convenience. And after three years of “nights and weekends,” SimpleNexus went full time in 2014.
That’s when I came on board as the business guy. It was time to scale the company — with that history of listening to the customer at the forefront.
Our industry is traditionally quite boring — an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality. Our street cred comes from fixing it.
We have a 99 percent client retention rate. That is tremendous in SaaS. But not only do we retain our customers, they add recurring revenue. They’re constantly upgrading.
We bootstrapped — which was extremely important to us. We had no interest in giving away our company just to grow faster. Not worth it.
But in 2018 we were finally ready. We raised $20 million with Insight Venture Partners and sold them 20 percent of the company. These guys are world class. They did rockstar deal after rockstar deal — Docusign, Pluralsight, Qualtrics. They pitched us, and we instantly knew it was exactly what we’d been waiting for.
In the early years, Matt and I did all the jobs and all the sales. But today we have a team of 120 that is hungry, innovative, vibrant and empathetic. We lead with humility. We take good ideas wherever they come from.
It wouldn’t surprise me if we’re a multi-billion dollar company in 5 years. What we’ve built is the heart of home ownership. We make it elegant and seamless.
We’re growing so much faster this year than last year. And we’re on track to grow even faster in 2021. We never aspired to be the coolest kid in the fanciest car. We’re low-key people. We have a valuation of several hundred million dollars. But who cares? We have a vision of what SimpleNexus can become — and that’s a powerful thing.