Salesforce, a leader in customer-management software, said it made a “strategic investment” in fintech startup Blend without disclosing details.
“We could not be more excited to work closely with the Blend team as we collectively look to continue helping the financial services industry navigate their transition to the cloud, and build a more robust and transparent lending process for our joint customers and their borrowers,” Spencer Chavez, principal of Salesforce Ventures, said in a Medium post.
Blend, started in 2012, is a company that sells software to banks and lenders to digitize the application and underwriting process. It has more than 130 banking customers, including Wells Fargo and US Bank, that collectively account for more than a quarter of the nation’s mortgage market.
Blend posted a statement on its website about the investment by Salesforce, calling it a “partnership.” Again, it was short on details, such as the dollar-value of Salesforce’s investment.
“Our partnership with Salesforce is an integral part of the ecosystem we’re building to drive simplicity and transparency in consumer lending,” the statement said. “Salesforce offers financial institutions the ability to better know and understand their customers. Working together, we see a massive opportunity for us to help our customers move forward.”
In February, The New York Times listed Blend as one of 50 startups that may become “unicorns,” as investors call privately held tech companies valued at more than $1 billion. PitchBook valued Blend at $600 million three months ago.
The company’s digital platform uses artificial intelligence to streamline the mortgage application process. Blend co-founder Erin Collard has said the company’s technology cuts about two weeks off the time it takes to get a mortgage, Quartz said in February.
“Getting a mortgage in a day isn’t legally possible, but Collard says the objective is to bring it down to a couple of weeks,” the Quartz story said.
Former Fannie Mae CEO Tim Mayopoulos joined the company in January as president. In a statement then, Mayopoulos said Blend was “driving much-needed improvements to the speed, efficiency and transparency of consumer lending.”
Blend said in an April 1 blog post that automating document collection is the key to speed:
“Loans take time, mostly due to the need for consumers to upload or send documentation,” the blog post said. “AI that can automatically request common documents and systems that connect source verified data can reduce time to close and give lenders a chance to win more customers.”