Clint Howen, founder of Hero Broker, talks about customer innovation, financial management and leading the first crowdsourced funding round by an Australian mortgage start-up
Q: Hero Broker is the first mortgage focused start-up to venture into crowdsourced funding. Was that nerve-racking?
A: It’s not critical to the business, so it’s more exciting than anything. We have had a lot of support for what we are doing, so it’s exciting to see if we can make it work to get our fans involved.
Q: Why do you think this has not been done before?
A: There has definitely been an interest form companies and fans to do crowd fundraising for a long time; the main hold back was legislation and laws. Now that the laws have changed, it's a new frontier for business and early investors. There are risks involved, of course, but I hope for everyone that crowdsourced funding works in the long run.
Q: What's the reaction from the finance and mortgage space?
A: I find that mortgage brokers that don't like Hero Broker, also don't like the idea of a customer walking into a bank or organising their own finance, so they are against anything that doesn't involve a broker – it’s not just me. Then there are other brokers, and those more from a banking background, or the general public and they really love the concept. So it's been a mixed response, but I'm not focused on pleasing brokers; I'm focused on building something awesome for the consumer.
Q: What inspired you to get into the finance industry?
A: What inspires me about the finance industry is not the nuts and bolts of how it runs, but the outcome it generates. Finance can massively enhance lives or cripple them with debt. Growing up in a very cash-strapped family, with both parents working, I have seen the negative sides of finance and the struggle it can have on a family. I believe in smart lending practices with transparency, and what drives me is the opportunity to make it easier for Australian families to have more control over their finances, and make being smart with your money easy and rewarding. This is why I only focus on making better outcomes for consumers.