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OPER CREDITS raises €11M in series A funding to shake up the European mortgage market

The new online mortgage application process significantly improved Bank Cler’s ability to distribute mortgages digitally. Compared to our previous channel, our reports show increasing volumes and a higher conversion rate
Geert Van Kerckhoven
August 1, 2022
  • Funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners & ABN AMRO Ventures
  • In total it has closed around €1bn of mortgage loans and in the last year has seen its Monthly Recurring Revenue eightfold
  • Oper Credits targeting ‘untapped’ €1.2 Trillion market following investment
  • Firm already established in ‘home nations’ but sees significant growth across Europe

    “Property buying and mortgages are the next frontier for digitization and we’re going to lead the charge in doing so”. This is the vision of the Oper Credits team, led by Geert Van Kerckhoven, Co-Founder & CEO. Today, the firm announced it had secured a €11m series A equity round, led by Bessemer Venture Partners & ABN AMRO Ventures.

    Oper offers a turnkey, white-label SaaS solution for banks and financial institutions in the mortgage lending space. The platform continually evolves by using compliant ‘smart data’ which means customers are not only ready for the European regulatory framework, but able to remain on top of and ahead of any industry changes. This presents banks with the opportunity to sidestep the complexity of building a digital mortgage solution from the ground up or having to rely on a custom-built solutions that can be difficult and expensive to maintain.

    Oper was founded in 2018 by three Belgian entrepreneurs with backgrounds across lending and digital engineering – Geert Van Kerckhoven, Nick Van Berckelaer and Wouter Lachat. Today it has grown to become the leading provider of digitised mortgage solutions in Belgium and Switzerland and has a significant footprint across Europe. In total it has closed around €1bn of mortgage loans and in the last year has seen its Monthly Recurring Revenue eightfold.

    Wouter Lachat Co-Founder and CPO of Oper Credits said: “We’re obviously very proud of the growth we have seen in the last 12 months and thanks to this investment, the next 12 and broader outlook for the business is incredibly exciting. Further to increased investment in R&D and recruitment, it is international growth that we’re focusing on. For us, France and Germany are the priority markets, as well as Austrian, Czech and Slovakian opportunities too. Our forecasts are strong, the market remains relatively untapped, and our product is ready to provide a solution to financial institutions large and small that want to improve their lending offer.”

    Oper’s digital mortgage solution also fits into the “post-branch strategy” of many retail banks in Europe. Many European banks are moving away from the philosophy that every important product is bought in the local bank branch, something Geert Van Kerckhoven believes proves that the market is at tipping point for the use of software and AI-driven solutions.

    He continued: “It seems to us that banks are stuck in an either-or mind-set. Either they are committed to their branch strategy or they try to push the clients to a zero touch process. Based on our experience, a hybrid strategy will win out in the end – and we hope it’ll be ours!”

    At the heart of Oper’s product and ambition to digitise the mortgage industry is the use of smart data. In today’s economy, most processes are built around providing data by handing over documents. With this new funding, Oper will focus developing the building blocks needed to gather data from a variety of sources, including payroll, income stats, spending habits etc. and then in turn process this information within the mortgage context to reduce the time-to-yes and ultimately create a better experience for the borrower.

    Oper currently employs a total of 45 people from 12 different nationalities living in 16 different cities across Europe. Its official offices are in Antwerp, Zurich and Minsk, serving a total of 13 clients – a figure they hope to double in the next year.

    Nick Van Berckelaer, Co-Founder and CTO of Oper Credits said: “We’re growing and we’re growing fast, and we couldn’t have done it without the amazing team we’re building across Europe. In fact, we wouldn’t have secured this funding if it wasn’t for every single person who works with us and we’re incredibly thankful for their time and efforts. There’s no doubt we’ll be hiring even more in the future to help us grow our loan book, client-base and ultimately our revenue. We have huge ambitions and need the right people to help us achieve them!”

    The funding was led by Bessemer Venture Partners and ABN AMRO Ventures with existing shareholders from the €2.5m seed round, including Techstars, Pitchdrive and Verve Ventures also participating in this new round.

    Charles Birnbaum, Partner for Bessemer Venture Partners in New York, said: “The Oper team has built a powerful platform that enables the massive leap that European lenders will need to make in their digital mortgage offerings in the years to come. We were impressed by the company’s significant traction across Europe and believe they are in an excellent position to become the market leader in mortgage solutions for banks with their scalable, pan-European approach.”

    Tim Wanders, Executive Director at ABN AMRO Ventures, said: “We know that there is a huge challenge in digitalization of banking services, and there’s still a lot of work to be done on the mortgage service side. We were impressed with the progress made by the company and believe that they will provide an essential piece in the mortgage value chain of tomorrow.”

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