First American Financial Corp. is doubling down on its digital title and settlement services subsidiary, Endpoint, injecting another $150 million in funding to help the company bring a “reimagined” closing process to more markets.
On top of $70 million in previously announced funding — including a $40 million injection from First American last November — Endpoint has raised $220 million to date.
Endpoint said it will use the latest influx of cash “to augment its technology team, further invest in title and settlement automation, and expand its capabilities for proptech companies and real estate professionals focused on delivering a re-imagined home closing process to their customers.”
Founded in 2018 as a collaboration between First American and venture capital firm BCG Digital Ventures, the El Segundo, California-based company says it’s helped real estate agents, brokerage firms and proptech companies close more than $2.5 billion in transactions to date.
Endpoint uses artificial intelligence to streamline document submissions and expedite processes, backing up its technology with local teams of escrow and title experts. This year, the company says it’s doubled its employee base and expanded its operations from Washington, Arizona and Southern California into Northern California and Texas.
“Endpoint’s impressive growth reflects First American’s commitment to leading the digital transformation of title and settlement,” said First American CEO Dennis Gilmore, in a statement. “This next phase of investment will further accelerate our overall efforts to improve the process of transacting real estate.”
In an interview with Inman before the latest funding announcement, Endpoint CEO Scott Martino talked about the company’s approach to entering new markets.
“Every market is unique, but we generally stick to major metro areas where we find more of a tech-forward population,” Martino said. “We’re looking at major metros not only for high order count, but because technology makes the experience better for consumers.”
Endpoint’s technology helps free up its local escrow and title experts to handle exceptions, and to spend more time with the customer — real estate brokers and agents, and their buyer and seller clients — when needed, he said.
“Our operating model is somewhat unique,” Martino said. “At the end of the day, the closing process is extremely complex, you have all these stakeholders on both sides. You really need to coordinate with unique buyers and sellers, and unique properties. However, the steps in the process, and how you go about that process, can be automated.”
Endpoint charges a flat escrow rate that ranges from $550 a side in Texas to $1,000 in Washington and California, regardless of the price of the home. The fee covers recording services, mobile notary, document prep, and wire services.
“We think our model is twice as efficient as the more traditional model,” Martino said.
One example of the way Endpoint is reimagining closings is the way earnest money deposits are handled.
“Traditionally, you’d have to sign a paper check, or get a courier, or pay a wire fee,” Martino said. “With Endpoint, we get the purchase contract, send invites to the platform, and break the process down into to-dos. The buyer is told what it [the earnest money deposit] is, they open the to-do, and we leverage technology similar to Venmo or PayPal to allow for in-app payment.”
Having only recently surpassed 200 employees, Endpoint is currently looking to fill nearly 80 job openings in departments including data and analytics, engineering, finance, operations and sales. The company has multiple openings for software engineers, escrow officers, title officers, and business development managers.
First American is not alone among leading title companies to invest in technology that helps streamline the provision of title insurance and ancillary services like appraisal management services, search and valuation, and online notarization and closing solutions.
Stewart Information Services Corp. has been growing its ancillary services business, acquiring several companies in order to build an end-to-end real estate services and technology platform. Most recently, the company announced an agreement to acquire data and analytics provider Informative Research for $192 million.
Fidelity has developed inHere, an end-to-end platform that provides transaction tracking, e-notarization and e-closing services for agents and consumers.
Independents breaking new ground include WFG National Title Insurance, which offers the MyHome portal and mobile app to coordinate the roles of all parties involved in residential real estate transactions, and Doma, which provides “instant underwriting” of title insurance for mortgage refinancing, and streamlined remote and digital closing and escrow services for all types of mortgages.