Social distancing rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic are driving up demand for JetClosing‘s digital home closing service.
The startup just landed $8.5 million in a Series B round from existing investors. Funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates led the round; Pioneer Square Labs and Trilogy Equity also invested again. Total funding to date is $35 million.
Founded in 2016 and spun out of Pioneer Square Labs in Seattle, JetClosing digitizes the home closing process for buyers, sellers, and realtors, removing paper forms and bringing everything to the cloud. The company charges a flat escrow fee to both sides for each transaction and makes additional revenue on issuing owners and lenders title insurance policies. It also helps homeowners refinance.
JetClosing is part of a growing trend in real estate to shift the homebuying experience online — one that has accelerated due to the global health crisis. Redfin reported today that nearly half of people who bought a home in the past year made an offer on a property hadn’t seen in person, up from 28% in 2019.
JetClosing CEO Daniel Greenshields said people are now “dependent” on digital tools to skip in-person meetings and complete home transactions from anywhere in the world.
Order activity on the company’s platform increased 124% from April to July. This month there have been a record number of new orders — half for home purchases, and half for refinancing.
Greenshields added that the pandemic has accelerated adoption of digital notary services, a key feature of the company’s offering.
JetClosing uses machine learning, serverless computing, and other technology to digitize the closing process. Its competitors — incumbent title and escrow services — can do the same job, but JetClosing does it faster, cheaper, on mobile, and with more transparency, according to the company.
Real estate agents using JetClosing can provide real-time notifications and messaging to homebuyers about the progress of a close. JetClosing can deliver seller proceeds in 60 minutes. The company also offers its own property title scoring system called JetScore, similar to a FICO score for credit services, and recently partnered with CertifID to bolster its fraud and security protections.
JetClosing is now licensed to operate in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.
The company’s largest competitors are firms such as Rainier Title and Chicago Title, which is owned by Fidelity.
The 83-person startup landed a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan between $1 to $2 million, GeekWire reported earlier this month. It made some “tough staffing decisions” at the onset of the pandemic, Greenshields said, but is now hiring again and plans to open a new office in the coming months.
Greenshields previously spent nearly 15 years helping run ShareBuilder, a company now owned by Capital One which digitized and sped up the process of buying stocks, bonds, mutual funds, 401(K) plans, and more.
JetClosing is one of several startups in the Seattle region building tech for the real estate industry. Others include Flyhomes, Knock, Remarkably, Pro.com, Porch, MoxiWorks, IMPREV, Faira, Picket Homes, Modus, and more — not to mention industry giants such as Zillow Group and Redfin.
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