Why We Invested in Morty
U.S. culture views homeownership as a tangible manifestation of the “American Dream.” At its core, home ownership provides both an investment opportunity and a sense of identity and belonging. I purchased my first home at 25—a row house in an up-and-coming area of Baltimore City. I quickly learned, as millions of Americans had before me, that the home buying process is far more difficult than its glamorized depiction on popular television shows such as House Hunters, Selling Sunset, and Million Dollar Listing. I had no idea where to start in obtaining a mortgage, so I embarked on a tedious process of calling different lenders, supplying the same information over and over, and writing down quotes for comparison. This process was time consuming, stressful, and, at times, overwhelming.
Morty is transforming the home buying experience through its digitally native mortgage marketplace. The company’s proprietary pricing engine and relationships with leading lenders mean that homebuyers receive the mortgage option that is right for them without an arduous search. Morty’s automated platform then allows homebuyers to go through a streamlined origination process that eliminates stressful back-and-forth.
At March, we are excited by businesses that are combining the efficiency of technology with the powerful growth accelerant of a marketplace model to drive transformation across industries. Additionally, we love to back founders who have larger visions for how their companies will contribute to society. In Morty and Co-Founder and CEO Nora Apsel, we found both elements. I first connected with Nora to invite her to speak on a next-generation marketplaces panel at this year’s Montgomery Summit. Hearing her outline Morty’s goal of democratizing home financing by acting as the homebuyer’s advocate resonated deeply. This mission-driven approach, combined with Morty’s strategy, execution, and team inspired us to lead the company’s Series B.
Morty is digitizing a business – mortgage lending – that has historically been analog. The importance of this transformation has been magnified ten-fold by the pandemic, as homebuyers were prevented from interacting in-person with agents, brokers, and lenders. We expect the digital mortgage option to become the norm. This digitization represents an enormous market opportunity, as fewer than 10% of the $1.4T of purchase mortgages today are performed by online lenders. Morty has built a platform for the emerging digitally native mortgage customer, with a vision to become the one-stop-shop for home financing.
Morty is doing more, however, than simply moving a process online. The company is also improving on that process for all parties involved through a combination of proprietary technology and a unique marketplace model. Morty provides homebuyers with easy access to more mortgage options, instant analysis of which mortgage is best for them, and a streamlined origination process. For lenders, Morty offers economies of scale in customer acquisition, as well as cheaper, technology-enabled origination. We anticipate further network effects will arise as other participants such as realtors, insurance companies, and settlement service providers join the platform. This multi-stakeholder value proposition creates Morty’s second unique element – a powerful flywheel effect that will make Morty a dominant force in the mortgage industry.
A third critical piece of the puzzle is the company’s exceptional team. Nora brings extensive experience as a software and front-end engineer working for venture-backed startups to Morty. She and Co-Founder and CTO, Adam Rothblatt drive a technology-first approach that creates value for both customers and lending partners, accelerating the flywheel outlined above.
We are incredibly excited to partner with Morty’s team as they transform the mortgage industry and eliminate barriers to home ownership in the US. To learn more about Morty, visit www.morty.com.