The founder and the executive team of online mortgage marketplace HashChing have all left the company, with a new interim CEO taking the helm.
The founder and CEO of HashChing, Mandeep Sodhi, along with the key members of the executive team – including chief operating officer Siobhan Hayden and chief technology officer Vajira Amarasekera – all left the company at the end of May.
The fintech, which was officially launched by friends Atul Narang and Mandeep Sodhi in 2015 (before Mr Narang left the company in 2017), is an online platform that has pre-negotiated home loan deals that a consumer can access via a mortgage broker.
It had been increasingly looking at new ways to fund its growth and was recently looking to raise funds via a crowdfunding exercise, following its failure to raise $5 million last year via the same means.
In 2018, the mortgage marketplace also sought financial assistance from Jobs for NSW in the form of a $700,000 loan to create new jobs and allow the company to invest in the resources required to continue “expanding rapidly”.
While the company appeared to be operating as usual last month (when it announced it was introducing a deposit-free home loan product), HashChing has since seen a mass exodus of its entire leadership team.
None of the former members of the executive team were available to comment about the reasons for their departure – but out-of-office emails show that Mr Sodhi and Ms Hayden both ceased working at Hashching on 21 May 2019.
Future vision for the platform
A new interim CEO, Arun Maharaj, has now stepped in to head up HashChing and take it through a new “growth stage”.
HashChing will now focus on becoming a “one-stop digital platform” for all intermediated financial services, as part of a revamped strategy under the new executive leadership.
It is also now looking to a new product strategy to expand the platform’s business into brokering small-to-medium enterprise (SME) lending.
Sapien Ventures, together with the company’s second-largest institutional investor, Heworth Capital, will provide funding for the business at it expands to generate “convincing traction figures”, before going to the wider market for fresh growth capital later this year.
HashChing’s largest venture investor, Victor Jiang of Sapien Ventures, commented on the platform’s new strategy: “In the aftermath of the banking royal commission, the need to support the financing of SMEs through non-traditional channels has increased significantly. Coupled with the proliferation and increasing market adoption of fintech platform businesses, we believe that the time is now ripe for HashChing to enter into SME and commercial lending.”
“Through its online rating and ranking algorithms that help connect its customer with the most qualified financial service provider, HashChing has the potential to become the ultimate destination of choice for a range of intermediated financial services. In other words, the ‘Uberization’ of everything from personal mortgages, through to financial advice and SME lending,” he said.
Noting the departure of the original executive team, Mr Jiang commented: “As a board, we are very grateful for their tremendous contributions in getting the business to this point. Now with new capabilities, we look forward to seeing the business reach a new level of growth and expansion, as it is set to capitalise on a range of differentiated market opportunities.”
The new CEO, Mr Maharaj, added: “It’s time for a proven marketplace platform like HashChing to diversify its offerings and to think beyond the previous boundaries,” he said.
“This is an opportunity to evolve an emerging business like HashChing during its next phase of growth, to transition and position the platform into a global enterprise with multiple revenue streams.
“The scalability of such platforms are limitless, as has been demonstrated numerous times globally. I am thrilled to be taking on this challenge at this time and am excited to be part of this growth journey,” he said.
Mr Maharaj was formerly the CEO of stockbroker and wealth management firm BBY, before its collapse in May 2015 when 10 group companies were placed into external administration.
[Related: New no-deposit home loan offering launched]
Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.
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