Eddie Lim had already sold one successful business to a global financial company and was getting ready to start a new venture when he realized he’d hit a major roadblock. Lim found himself getting rejected over and over by big banks when he tried to refinance his home. Surely he wasn’t the only one facing this challenge. That’s when he founded Point, a home equity platform to help consumers deal with the very issue he’d been facing. We spoke with Lim about getting his company off the ground.
What’s the origin story of your company?
I founded Point in January 2015. The company was inspired by my own frustration with mortgage refinancing. I had sold a previous company called TrialPay to Visa and began preparing to launch a new business. At the time, mortgage interest rates had gone down, my home had appreciated in value, and it seemed like a smart move for me to refinance. But several major banks rejected my application because I had no income at the time and my wife is a stay-at-home parent. That experience told me something was wrong with lending. It got me wondering why home wealth was so illiquid.
What’s the main problem you were trying to solve?
I didn’t understand why you can only borrow against your home. From my experience as a founder, I knew companies relied extensively on third party equity to get started. If that’s the case, why can’t homeowners take advantage of this alternative to debt? That’s where the framework for Point emerged.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in starting your company?
Finding great talent is always a challenge. That’s where I devote the most time–finding people who are committed to changing the meaning of home ownership.
What new fintech innovation are you most excited about?
As a technologist, I’ve always had a passion for blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies, but I’m most excited by what we’re doing with shared equity. It opens up a whole new class of product and an enormous market that can have a profound and positive impact on many lives.
What’s one thing you wish you’d known when you started your business?
I wish we’d understood capital markets better. It wasn’t until we hired an experienced and talented capital markets leader that it became apparent to us what institutional investors needed to see from us in particular.
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
If your parents understand your business, you might be disrupting a market. If your friends understand your business, you might be creating a market. But if your kids understand your business, you might be changing the world. Of course, if nobody understands your business, you’re in trouble.
What’s the best business advice you’d give others?
Find your team. Once you have another believer, you have a team. From there, it usually gets easier.