Daniel Hegarty, founder of London-based online mortgage broker Habito, has stepped down as CEO following a turbulent few years for the property sector.
Ying Tan, who founded UK mortgage broker Dynamo in 2006, will become the company’s new CEO, subject to approval from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority.
Habito says it has also raised a fresh round of funding — although Tan declined to say how much it has raised. Existing investors Augmentum Fintech, SBI Investment, Volution and Bootstrap Europe participated.
Companies House filings show that Hegarty resigned as a company director in March. The move follows a rocky few years for Habito that saw a merger with mortgage broker London & Country collapse and the company’s headcount halve.
Habito, which helps homebuyers find mortgages through its online platform, launched in 2016. It has raised more than £68m from some of the UK’s best known angels — including Paul Forster, Errol Damelin, Tom Stafford and Taavet Hinrikus — and VCs — like Atomico and Mosaic.
The company last raised a significant funding round — a £35m Series C — in the summer of 2020, taking advantage of the UK government’s Covid business support scheme. This saw it take a convertible loan note, led by investors Augmentum, SBI Group and mojo.capital, which was matched by the UK’s Future Fund. The note has since converted into equity.
Its latest raise — which the company says make Tan a “significant shareholder” — rounds off another difficult year for the digital mortgage broker.
After its proposed merger with mortgage broker London & Country fell through in July 2022 the company was left scrambling for funds. LinkedIn data shows that headcount at Habito has dropped 56% in the past year, down to 73 employees from 166 in May last year.
It also stopped offering its own mortgages — a product launched in 2019 — in the wake of financial turmoil caused by the UK government’s disastrous mini-budget.
The budget “caused unprecedented market disruption”, Tan tells Sifted, and “slowed Habito’s journey to profitability temporarily”.
In September 2022, Habito closed a £5m round led by existing investors, at a slashed valuation.
Tan will likely be approved as CEO by the FCA in the coming weeks, Habito says.
Hegarty has a new fintech in the works — which is currently in stealth mode.