Better.com in talks to raise $100M at $4B valuation: report

Digital mortgage lender Better.com is in talks to raise more than $100 million in new funding that would value the company at about $4 billion before an upcoming public offering, according to a new report.

The New York-based mortgage lender, backed by Kleiner Perkins, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, told investors it expects revenue to jump from $100 million in 2019 to north of $800 million this year, sources told The Information.

The potential new funding round comes amid a historic period of growth for the mortgage industry. In the second quarter, lenders originated more than $1.1 trillion in mortgages. And with rates near-zero, about 70% of those loans were refinancings. Digital lenders like Better.com in particular have capitalized on the refi rush, thanks to social distancing protocols brought on by the pandemic.

One source told The Information that Better.com went from losing more than $10 million a month to “reaping significant monthly profits” due to heavier loan volumes. That same person told the outlet that it may be difficult to maintain such profitability, likely due to the cyclical nature of the mortgage industry, the upcoming adverse market fee, and the glut of well-capitalized competitors.

Better.com, founded in 2014 by entrepreneur Vishal Garg, raised $235 million last year and has been on a hiring spree ever since. It now has over 3,000 employees, mostly non-commissioned loan officers. The firm is looking to grab market share through its tech platform and the convenience it provides prospective borrowers. Better.com sells its mortgages to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and then partners with sub-servicers to handle loan servicing.

If Better.com were to close the $100 million funding round and prepare for an IPO, it would be the fourth mortgage lender to do so this year.

Rocket Companies, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, went public in the summer. Its stock has trended down in the last week, but the company sports a market cap of over $40 billion. LoanDepot, which has both retail and wholesale divisions, is eyeing an IPO at a potential $15 billion valuation. And United Wholesale Mortgage will be going public in the fourth quarter via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger, with a $16.1 billion valuation.

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