In which sector is your company most closely aligned?
What does your company do?
FinLocker has developed a financial fitness app that mortgage lenders, banks, and credit unions can private-label with their own brand, so their consumers can stay within the platform, using the credit and financial tools and resources to qualify for a mortgage, find a home and sustain homeownership.
How long has your company had a presence in St. Louis?
What makes the St. Louis region an ideal home for your company/organization? Why do you choose to operate your business here?
St. Louis has excellent colleges, tech talent, and an ecosystem supporting small businesses. FinLocker’s CTO, Bryan Garcia, has been a member of the Information Systems Technology Advisory Board at the University of Missouri-St Louis since 2010, enabling FinLocker to obtain skilled interns and full-time employees.
What has been the most valuable resource (person, tool, organization) for helping your company grow? How did you find it? How do you utilize it?
Cultivation Capital (an early-stage venture capital firm) and SixThirty, its financial services accelerator program, were valuable resources for FinLocker’s early growth. In April 2015, FinLocker was one of six St Louis startups selected for the accelerator program. Barry Sandweiss, Tim Stern, and Cliff Holekamp, partners in Cultivation Capital and SixThirty, believed in the opportunities that the FinLocker app can provide both consumers and the mortgage industry so much that they remain on our Board of Directors today.
What advice would you give new tech companies that are trying to navigate the current market?
For entrepreneurs aspiring to start a new tech company, it’s important to have a simple idea that can be easily explained to investors and your target market. The key to success is having a legitimate “secret sauce” that sets your concept apart from the competition, provides a solution to a common problem, or fulfills a need within your market. Investors want to know that you can clearly identify your customer and have a large enough market to support one revenue stream. Once you have identified your product or service, work with your initial customer to co-develop your product or service.
What new practice or policy did you put into place over the pandemic that has positively impacted your company?
As a fully digital business, at the start of the pandemic, FinLocker was able to refocus the company’s priorities to provide safety for our team by implementing a remote working environment, which also added agility to our hiring and staffing process. 2020 demonstrated that we could sustain operations and product development in a remote working environment. Since then, we have adopted a hybrid work environment that provides flexibility for our team members living in St Louis to meet in the office when they need to collaborate in person and work at their home office if that’s their preference to work on their aspect of a project. As we now cast a wider net to other states to attract top talent to fill various positions in all company departments, we recruited several team members, including myself, in the DC area, so in mid-2021, we opened a satellite office in the McLean, Virginia area to accommodate team members in that region.
Tell us about the next big thing in your technology sector. How will this affect your business?
Mortgage lenders of all sizes are focused on engaging their prospective clients much earlier in their financial lives. Providing financial fitness tools to consumers at the beginning of their homebuying journey will help lenders convert more of their prospects into home buyers. FinLocker is well-positioned to support these lenders and their consumers.
What is the accomplishment you are most proud to share from 2022?
Throughout 2022 FinLocker team innovated and iterated on the concept of ‘perpetual homeownership readiness with consumer consented direct-to-source data.’ With our deep analytics on consumer financials, we rebuilt our homeownership readiness product with a redesigned user experience to make it easier for homebuyers to get a clear assessment of where they stand in their homeownership journey. Our solution is particularly significant to consumers who are six to eighteen months out from purchasing a home and need help understanding their options. Our product allows consumers to leverage intuitive interactive tools to improve their eligibility and track their progress toward meeting mortgage eligibility guidelines.
What exciting development is on the horizon for your company in 2023?
In 2023, FinLocker will continue to expand its market-leading technology capabilities to support consumers’ entire homeownership journey. Connecting lenders with consumers when they first start thinking of buying their first home, FinLocker can help consumers improve their credit, save for their down payment and closing costs, and get mortgage ready to be strong applicants for mortgage approval. As homeowners, they can continue using FinLocker to help them maintain their credit, start new savings goals, and keep them engaged with their lender so they can leverage their home equity for other financial needs.
How can people learn more about your company or get involved in what you are doing?
Go to our website, watch our online demo available on-demand or schedule a 1:1 consultation to answer specific questions.