In the years since our inception in 2013, GROUNDFLOOR has continued to set records on virtually all fronts. From investor growth to loan originations to overall revenue, we have been hard at work improving on our company and products, while also delivering increased value for our customers.
One of the areas in which we have recently been working the hardest is improving our investor experience. While some of these enhancements have been launched in direct response to requests from our investors, we’ve also made other needed improvements whose effects on the overall investor experience might not be as obvious. As such, we wanted to take a moment to outline the major steps we’ve taken to enhance our investor experience over the past year, and take a look forward at some welcome changes we have on the horizon.
New Investor Tools and Features
We introduced a number of new investor tools and features in the past year based on feedback we received from our investor base. Let’s do a quick summary of what has been accomplished thus far:
- In February 2019, we launched our Investor Referral Program in response to many requests we received for such an initiative. Through our Referral Program, investors can earn a free $10 investing credit for every referral, with no limit on the amount of credits they can receive. In fact, some investors have earned upwards of $700 through the referral program alone.
- In October 2019, we introduced Self-Directed IRAs into our product offerings. As the #1 most-requested feature from our customers, IRAs were a top priority for our team, and we are thrilled to now offer investors the ability to diversify their retirement savings with real estate.
- To address feedback regarding ease of investing, we recently introduced the Investment Wizard, which matches currently funding loans to a self-selected investment profile that investors can adjust to best suit their needs. This new feature makes it easy to filter out loans that do not match your investment preferences, thus facilitating your ability to quickly see and invest in only the loans you want.
- For those in our Anchor Investor program, we launched Automatic Investing, which enables investors to set an investment schedule to allocate funds by desired loan grades. Whenever we release new loans for funding, this handy tool automatically invests funds into matching loans in a random order, making it easier to ensure your portfolio is well-diversified and available funds are being put to work earning interest.
- Also for those in our Anchor Investor program, we rolled out a new loan product called Local Partnership Loans. Originated in conjunction with an experienced private financing partner with extensive local market knowledge, these loans provide another avenue through which investors can diversify their portfolios, among other benefits.
Other Investor-Focused Enhancements
In addition to the new tools and features outlined above, we have also made a couple changes to enhance the investor experience on our platform. First, in response to the many requests we received from interested individuals outside of the US (and in a continued effort to grow the platform), in October 2019 we opened up our platform to accommodate international investors on a case-by-case basis. During the same time period, we also introduced text message notifications to alert investors any time new funds appear in their Investor Accounts. Finally, we recently completed an extensive survey of our investor base, which enables us to get to know our customers better and thereby develop tools and products that better meet their needs.
We have also been hard at work over the past year developing new products and enhancements on the lending side of our business as well. While the effects of such improvements on the investor experience might not be as readily apparent, improving our borrower experience is nevertheless directly tied to the quality of investment products we offer on our platform. When we take steps to better meet our borrowers’ needs, we are improving their overall customer experience with GROUNDFLOOR, which means they will be more likely to use us again for their financing needs. In other words, making sure our borrowers are happy means they will continue to turn to GROUNDFLOOR for their loans, and more loans means more available investment options for our investors.
Here is a list of some notable borrower-focused improvements we’ve completed over the past year:
- In September 2019, we rolled out a new program called QC Maxx, through which borrowers can become pre-approved for a business line of credit to facilitate the loan application process. With QC Maxx approval, borrowers are able to move faster on real estate deals they find and show sellers they are ready to buy. In turn, this helps our investors by supporting the growth of our LRO sales.
- In response to requests for a way to more easily pinpoint where borrowers’ loans are in the processing stage, we launched a new Loan Tracker tool that tracks the progress of all loans from underwriting through closing. This has been a welcome addition to our overall borrower experience, and feedback has been very positive.
Platform Improvements On The Horizon
As the above discussion demonstrates, we have made some important strides in improving user experience on our platform over the past year -- but our work isn’t done yet. As we continue to grow our platform and our company, we’re also continuing to look for ways to better serve our customers. As such, we wanted to take a moment to discuss platform improvements that our Engineering team is hard at work bringing to life.
Many of our customers have expressed interest in seeing a GROUNDFLOOR mobile app in the future, and we are happy to report that an app providing a new, more streamlined investor experience is in the works. In the interim period, our team is working to make each page on our site more mobile-friendly. Going along with this is a focus on improving the responsiveness and speed of our site -- something that will be an especially welcome change for investors with large numbers of loans in their portfolio.
Other recent developments include some new backend origination tools and features, which allow our lending team to more quickly process, analyze, and action loan applications we receive. The better we are able to move a loan from origination to closing, the more loans we are able to process -- meaning the more loans for our investors to choose among. Additionally, we are currently wrapping up the beta of multi-factor authentication, which we expect to roll out sitewide in the coming months. Another highly-requested feature, multi-factor authentication will provide an additional level of security for our investors.
More broadly, our Engineering team is embarking on a reconceptualization and extension of our existing data model, as well as a modernization of the framework that presents and displays information to users. This will enable more flexible functionality of our platform and will lay the groundwork for the ability to deploy more sorting and filtering options for our currently funding loans.
We hope this has provided a comprehensive look at the improvements we have made to our platform within the past year with our customers’ interests in mind. As always, we welcome your questions, comments, and feedback. You can leave them in the comments below, or contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.