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SimpleNexus founder drops CEO job to lead skunkworks project

Matt Hansen will lead skunkworks as Cathleen Schreiner Gates takes over helm

Real estate tech firm SimpleNexus announced Wednesday that founder Matt Hansen will be stepping down as CEO, with current president Cathleen Schreiner Gates replacing him.

Hansen told HousingWire that he stepped down to lead a team of software developers and sales staff for upcoming research and development tactics within SimpleNexus. This new role will give him more time to focus on his passion for product and development, he said.

“I love solving product problems, that’s what makes me happy, and I think it’s really important to realize where you’re happy,” said Hansen. “With Cathleen’s expertise coming in, and being in a place where she can run the organization, which wasn’t the original plan but it worked out that way, it just ended up working out perfect.”

Schreiner Gates previously advised the tech startup as a board member in April 2020 before her appointment as company president in September. Prior to SimpleNexus, Schreiner Gates served as the EVP of sales and marketing at digital mortgage technology provider Ellie Mae (now ICE Mortgage Technology).

Hansen wouldn’t describe the “skunkworks” project that he’s leading, which is outside of the 15 teams SimpleNexus currently works with. In the interview, he spoke of creating an “end-to-end” mortgage experience, a common refrain in the housing fintech space.

“We have started to label ourselves as a homeownership platform,” Hansen told HousingWire. “We are going to go earlier in the process with realtors and later in terms of people moving in to their homes. And its already resonating with lenders, they want that one spot for consumers to be able to do everything and I’m anticipating its going to continue to be a future trend.”

The Utah-based software developer offers a private-label digital mortgage platform and mobile app designed to connect lenders with borrowers and real estate agents. The SimpleNexus platform allows loan officers to become “mobile originators,” using their smartphones to view applications, pull credit reports and oversee all aspects of the loan process while connecting in real-time to their LOS, and investors have taken notice of its success.

In January, the company picked up a massive $108 million in a Series B funding round led by Insight Partners to help increase marketshare within the eClosing and mobile mortgage segments. SimpleNexus said in April that its platform now supports remote online notarization (RON) and has partnered with Notarize.

With Schreiner Gates’ ascension, Hansen said she will work to scale up what SimpleNexus has already established, and is currently working in their go-to markets to increase marketing and customer organizations.

“SimpleNexus started as a passion project — an app to help my brother-in-law expand his mortgage business — and it has since grown beyond anything I originally imagined,” said Hansen. “Over the past seven years, I’ve had the great pleasure of building a better homebuying experience for consumers and lenders with the help of hundreds of dedicated, passionate professionals.”

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