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Mortgage fintech closes $25m capital raise

An Australian mortgage fintech has announced that it has closed a $25-million Series B capital raise, bringing the start-up’s total raise to $45 million.

Athena Home Loans, founded by former NAB executives Nathan Walsh and Michael Starkey, revealed that it has closed its $25-million raise, which was led by Square Peg Capital.

Venture capital investor and industry super fund Hostplus and Australian venture firm AirTree have also joined the round.

The Series B raise comes six months after the company announced a Series A fund raise led by Macquarie Bank and Square Peg Capital – and three months after announcing a strategic partnership with Resimac Group (formerly known as Homeloans Limited).

Athena Home Loans, which is currently in pilot stage, has now raised a total of $45 million.

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The fintech has said that it aims to become a “genuine alternative to the big banks” by delivering a “cloud native digital mortgage platform”.

It aims to deliver competition home loans rates “through a unique funding structure, bypassing the banks to connect borrowers to super fund backed loans”.

Athena’s chief operating officer, Michael Starkey, said: “We are delighted to have Hostplus and AirTree joining Athena as investors.

“Athena’s journey has benefited hugely from the insights and support from some of Australia’s smartest investors. It’s clear the timing has never been better to offer a fairer home loan.”

Venture capitalist and co-founder of Square Peg, Paul Bassat, who also sits on the Athena Board, commented: “Having worked with Nathan, Michael and the team over the last year, I have enormous admiration for the speed at which they have navigated complex financial systems to develop a robust and customer-centric mortgage service.

“Athena is solving a really important problem for home buyers and is certainly one of the most exciting fintech companies in Australia.

“We are thrilled to back the team again and look forward to supporting them on this extraordinary journey,” he said.

Hostplus chief investment officer Sam Sicilia added that the industry super fund’s long-term venture strategy attracted them to Athena Home Loans: “We are a firm believer in the potential for tech-led innovation to deliver future prosperity for Australians and strong risk-adjusted returns to members.

“Athena is a great example of disruptive innovation delivering big savings for home loan borrowers,” he said.

James Cameron, partner at AirTree Ventures, suggested that the Athena team is “building a home loan company that is very different to anything that exists today”, suggesting that he believes it is “the most technologically advanced mortgage platforms in the country – and this means a better experience and better value home loans for Aussie borrowers”.

“We’re excited to be backing them on the journey,” he said.

Athena CEO Nathan Walsh said that the company expects to launch in the first quarter of 2019, and its key priorities with the investment will be to “continue to innovate [the] platform, invest in talent and scale the business”.

[Related: Non-bank announces ‘major strategic partnership’ with fintech]

Mortgage fintech closes $25m capital raise
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