What makes entrepreneurs tick? We decided to ask Blake Janover, a serial entrepreneur. What follows is Part One of a two-part Q&A:
Donuts: Tell us about your background. How did you move from investment banking to websites and becoming a successful Internet entrepreneur?
Blake Janover: I’ve got 15 years of experience in real estate finance and capital markets. I used to be a direct lender and am still super active in the commercial and multifamily finance space. What always frustrated me about the space is that information was so asymmetric. Products can be complex and both brokers (financial intermediaries) and lenders alike sometimes prefer to keep it that way, as a means of exerting more control in a negotiation and steering clients to what works better for them. I got out of the industry altogether to spend time in digital media and marketing, and loved it. But due to the encouragement of my buddy Brad, I jumped back into the real estate finance space via a more intuitive platform, multifamily.loans. I built the website almost the next day, with the driving principle to help all those folks that don’t have access to awesome financial products such as non-recourse financing. Let’s educate them and empower them and get them access to what the big players have been using for all these years.
Donuts: What’s the big idea behind home.loans? Who is your target customer? What is the unmet need?
Blake Janover: As I said, real estate financing can be complicated, or perhaps it’s simple but there’s a whole lot to know. First-time home buyers walk into the process and feel overwhelmed – but it doesn’t have to be like that. We are targeting your typical home buyers/owners – the kinds of people who do NOT have a specialized education in finance. They need a loan, they want to understand their options – all of them – and they don’t want to spend six months figuring it all out, nor do they want to visit a website or lender that’s going to push an agenda (or loan) on them. Before home.loans, home buyers could go to the Internet to research their options, but the information overload is overwhelming. There’s a lot of data out there, but it’s very, very difficult to understand what it all means and even more difficult to organize all of it into something intelligible.
Our goal at home.loans is to provide simple, plain-English information and resources about home loans in an easy-to-navigate format. We want to present home buyers with all their options without pushing them in any one direction. We are building something transparent and comprehensive. One of the first things we did was hire some great team-members who aren’t experts on home finance and we worked together to get everyone educated so that the message can come from regular non-Wall Street folks: plain talk.
Donuts: How did you choose home.loans as the name for your brand / website?
Blake Janover: It’s a terrific name, because it says exactly what we do: home loans. Let’s face it: a two word domain is awesome; now, because of what registries such as Donuts are out there doing the second word in a two-word domain can be part of the company name, brand, mission, and keywords. We aren’t wasting any digital real estate on “.com, .net,” or something else that no longer really means anything. Our goal is to connect directly with home buyers and homeowners alike and to simplify the home loan shopping process, so our website name has to be synonymous with our mission.
Part Two of our interview with Blake will appear tomorrow.