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Lower is a full-stack lender, as well as a platform for buying, selling, and insuring homes. If $100 million sounds like a lot of money for a Series A (it is), there’s a reason for that in this case–Lower is already profitable. The company was founded in 2014 and bootstrapped until now, reaching $300 million in revenue without raising any outside capital, according to CEO Dan Snyder.
“At the core, our belief is that homeownership is the greatest wealth creator for folks in America today,” Snyder said in an interview with Crunchbase News. “And we’re trying to enable that to lower barriers and make it easier.”
Through Lower, consumers can save for a home, set goals, get a mortgage, check their credit, and get home insurance via an insurance marketplace. The company funds billions in loans each year, according to Snyder, and is doubling its growth annually.
The company’s been growing fast, going from around 600 to 650 employees last summer to around 1,600 now. Lower expects to end 2021 with more than 2,000 employees.
Lower’s goal is to be the leading digital lender in the United States in the next five years, Snyder said, but reaching that goal is difficult when the company is using its own money to get there, and competitors have deeper pockets.
That’s why Lower was open to raising money from outside investors now, he said. The company received three term sheets in a week when it went out to raise money, with Accel ending up leading the round. Accel partner John Locke will be joining Lower’s board of directors.
“It’s hard to compete with companies like Better who have raised more money than we’ve spent in our lifetime,” Snyder said. “So now we’re leveling the playing field and have more ammo.”
Accel was introduced to Snyder through Clay Wilkes, the founder of Galileo, another bootstrapped company outside of Silicon Valley that raised a large Series A round from Accel in 2019. Lower has some of the same qualities as Galileo, which was acquired by SoFi for $1.2 billion last year, according to Locke.
“Our belief is that a successful company can be built anywhere across the globe,” Locke said in an email. “We like how Dan and the Lower team have planted their roots in Ohio. We also love to find businesses that bootstrap their way to success. It connotes a grit that we believe is a strong foundation for long-term success. Lower has both, and the combination reminds us of companies that we have partnered with for a large Series A like Atlassian, 1Password, Qualtrics and Galileo.”
With the new funding, Columbus-based Lower plans to keep doing what it’s been doing, just faster, Snyder said. Lower plans to invest in technology, hiring, and building more brand awareness.
Lower’s new funding is the largest Series A round raised by an Ohio-based company, surpassing 2Checkout’s $60 million Series A in July 2014, according to Crunchbase. It’s also the second-largest venture round raised by an Ohio-based company this year, behind Forge Biologics’ $120 million Series B.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
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