RALEIGH – Anuj Mittal had a business idea: he would leverage his experience in the hospitality industry to build his own hotel. But Mittal ran into a challenge: the process to secure financing for the hotel was cumbersome and time consuming.
“The process took nearly a year,” said Mittal in an interview, including “six months of searching for a lender who would commit to his cause and another several months of data entry and underwriting after that.”
“Hospitality loans are so tied up in manual processes that lenders are missing out on good business,” said Mittal. “And, good borrowers can get turned down for bureaucratic reasons when the lender’s ability to analyze borrowers’ financial strength in a manual environment is limited.”
Already an entrepreneur, Mittal saw another opportunity: fixing the hospitality industry’s loan approval process. Mittal sought to change “broken and impersonal” process that often delayed the loan and strains the lender-borrower relationship into a positive, expedited, and beneficial process.
The new company, CrediVia, launched earlier this month and aims to change the business by providing an alternative for the fragmented, non-standard manner in which hospitality lending is managed.
A rapid start
CrediVia aims to create a new standard for the hotel financing industry, said Mittal, the CEO and co-founder. “Our ultimate goal is to ensure lenders and borrowers are brought together not simply to execute a deal, but forming long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial.”
To ensure that the platform would serve the intended marketplace, Mittal and his co-founder, Ajay Jain, who now serves as the company’s chief product officer, surveyed a number of hotel owners and lenders to verify that the CRE financing process had shortcomings. The two co-founders have known each other for twenty years.
“We found that borrowers’ two primary challenges were finding the appropriate lender,” said Mittal, “and finding the best loan terms.” Their research demonstrated that lenders are most challenged by sourcing loans that fit their lending criteria, and gathering a complete, accurate application for the loan.
The platform places borrowers in direct connection with a host of interested and qualified lenders looking for deals, said Mittal. “Lenders receive a complete loan package from qualified borrowers right from the start,” said Mittal, “that helps expedite loan approval.”
The company launched in early September and already has several lender agreements under review by borrowers, waiting to be executed. “Everyone is excited about the platform, both to provide qualified leads as well as reporting that can be used to help speed up loan decisioning,” said Mittal. The company is approaching their public launch to borrowers on September 24.
There is a minimum loan threshold of $1 million on the platform. “While it’s too early to extract any such trend data at this time, we expect our applications to follow similar trends as we see across the industry,” said Mittal. “Knowing the industry well, we anticipate most loans to naturally fall within a range of $5 to $40 million.”
The company will generate revenue includes a subscription model for lenders, said Mittal, though the startup won’t bill subscription fees in 2018 as an incentive to bring people to the lenders upon launch. Borrowers pay a 0.35 percent transaction fee which is paid at loan closing and pay a fee to host their application data year over year.
“The value here for borrowers is being able to centralize all application data and return to only update information for new financing or refinancing, never having to restart the application process,” said Mittal.
CrediVia is looking to work with large banks, community financial institutions, or niche non-bank lenders. The startup is targeting U.S.-based lenders that would like to see an acceleration in their deal velocity without incurring huge operational expense costs, for deals $5–40 million.