Chris Grimes of FundMore tells us about simplifying pre-funding systems with AI-driven automated underwriting software.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Chris Grimes: My wife and I have definitely experienced new challenges throughout the pandemic so far. We are both close to our families, so it is hard not being able to see everyone in person. We have done our best to adjust for our safety and the ones we love. Thankfully, COVID has been easier on our careers than most. Fundmore.ai and Loan Desk are both growing quickly, and my wife is considered an essential worker.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded FundMore.
Chris Grimes: For over 20 years now, I’ve been working in the financial world, from large banking institutions to small boutique brokerages and a few startups. I’ve helped clients build their wealth, buy their first home, refinance their investment property, and access capital to develop their commercial property. I’ve always believed that understanding my clients’ needs is more important than selling them on a deal.
I love the mortgage industry because I enjoy helping people, and it makes me happy seeing my clients achieve their financial goals. I’m also very passionate about advancing and innovating the mortgage industry through technology and forward-thinking initiatives, which is why I started my own company, FundMore.ai, with three great friends, Darryl Bandoro, Bogdan Blaga & Dinesh Kandanchatha.
How does FundMore innovate?
Chris Grimes: FundMore.ai is leading the digital transformation of the mortgage industry by leveraging ML to advance the borrower experience. We have turned a 45-day process into minutes and are working with large and small lenders in North America to digitize their lending process.
· Higher ROI
· Reduce Funding Times
· Lower Risk
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Chris Grimes: Made lending companies work remotely – looking for new ways to underwrite efficiently;
· It takes longer to approve a deal as the file has to physically transfer between different stages – where before someone could look over the shoulder of an underwriter to make a quick decision and approval
· More mortgages were processed during the pandemic than any time period prior in the past 5 years.
· All of these reasons forced lenders to look for alternative solutions – FundMore has been able to have conversations with more lending partners, which has helped fuel our growth over the past 8 months
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Chris Grimes: Early on in the pandemic, we weren’t sure how it would affect our business, we were forced to furlough a few employees, but we were able to hire them back within 4 weeks. Since then, we have almost doubled our team.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Chris Grimes: We have become very familiar with CRM tools to help manage our pipelines but the tools that have best supported our business were called Traction tool. It was created from Gino Wickman’s work with his EOS system (Entrepreneurial Operating System). Our entire team is now working within this framework. Having everyone work remotely across our challenge was to keep the same accountability and cadence within our organization as if we were all in the same office. When the lockdown started, there was an initial slow pace; however, shortly after, we implemented the EOS system and the traction tool software. We are operating at an incredible pace with full accountability across all departments.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Chris Grimes: We did manage to benefit from several government programs. It helped us stay on course and grow our business. I’m not sure it helped us stay afloat, as our initial reaction was to reduce costs by reducing labor and slow our growth. The government programs allowed us to maintain our trajectory.