BeeMortgageApp.com Cryptocurrency Mortgage and Blockchain
Mortgage Broker turned App Developer, Curtis Wood and wife, Cynthia, share clear-eyed thoughts on blockchain and mortgages. These married business partners and founders of BeeAppMortgage.com share their emotional journey of hard work, sacrifice, and risking everything. Curtis told us about the day he came to work and just quit his job after realizing blockchain would disrupt his industry, much to his wife’s surprise. This bumpy journey brought them to the brink of eviction, car repossessions, and the theft of their last mode of transportation: a bicycle. They struggled to provide for their eight children and worried they had let them all down; however, Curtis shared the text from his daughter that brought him to tears on our show, and let him know it was all worth it. Oh, the feels!!!!
Ep 7 SWAC StreamYard Audio
Mon, 8/10 5:25AM • 48:45
blockchain, cynthia, people, mortgage, crypto, app, smart contract, loan officer, lender, technology, point, company, curtis, hear, build, rocket mortgage, day, buy, scams, story
Elsa Ramon, Bill Deignan, Curtis Wood, Cynthia Wood
Bill Deignan 00:01
And we’re live.
Elsa Ramon 00:04
I am very, very excited for you guys to meet the guests that we have on today. And Bill, you’ve heard me talk about them probably multiple times. I know you have because we have tried to in the past a couple of times connect with that could shoot a story with them. And for one reason or another, it just never worked out. There were issues on either our end or their end that couldn’t work out. But we got you guys today Curtis and Cynthia Wood with Bee Mortgage App. And I’m really so excited you guys are here today. I haven’t heard an update and so long since I stumbled across you on Twitter. And when I first saw what you guys were doing with blockchain and mortgages, I knew that in a couple of years, when people are ready to deliver actual blockchain services to people that you guys were going to be one of the first ones out there, harnessing this technology. So Curtis and Cynthia would welcome to our humble show.
Curtis Wood 01:07
Thank you for having me guys. And I like your Emmys Elsa right back. Those are cool. So
Elsa Ramon 01:22
a couple of nominations, but I actually was able to snag a few. So thankfully, super thankful for that. Oh, so so you guys, the backstories with Curtis and Cynthia would if you’re on Twitter, you know that there were you may not know there’s a very big crypto Twitter presence. So when I left television news, I was already really deeply entrenched in Twitter because it’s a very good tool for journalists to get breaking news and communicate directly with verified sources. So it was a good easy transition for me to To move over from the sources I was using for work in TV and move over to crypto Twitter and kind of slowly gain my knowledge and and base at people that I watched and and Bee Mortgage app was one of the first ones excuse me that I saw about a year and a half ago. Would you guys say maybe I think Yeah, I thought this is going to be something you I noticed at one of the same times with lolly
Curtis Wood 02:33
Our kids are going nuts in the background so you’ll have to excuse us.
Bill Deignan 02:43
Hey, it’s not a problem. What do you think Elsa? You have kids? I think we lost I think we lost Elsa. We did we lost the ladies in this interview. So why don’t you tell me then that’s the same stuff. On the feed here, so why don’t you tell me?
Curtis Wood 03:06
Right up where else I left, pick up where she left off. Let’s keep this train rolling. Yeah, so we connected on crypto Twitter. And she actually connected with our co founder and cmo, Kristin. And they hit it off. And then we just all got together and you know, else has been immediate for the longest time and we share our story with her. We’re an extremely small project. You know, we bootstrapped for almost two years before we had any capital infusion before we went through a successful race. But, you know, she also has been one of our biggest cheerleaders she lent her voice did some very brief voiceover work for us for our raise video. And we had a bunch of people tell us all right, she’s back. At a back. You know, I had a bunch of people tell us that How good quality The video was, you know, and they also commented on her voice. They wanted to know which team member it was. So we had to make her an honorary Bee Team member.
Bill Deignan 04:13
I don’t think she’s accustomed to being on the “B” team. She’s usually I think on the “A” team. But yeah. Yeah. Now I have your I’ve just put up your names on our screen here for the stream. And it’s BeeMortgageApp.com. Right.
Cynthia Wood 04:30
Yeah, that’s right.
Bill Deignan 04:33
I want to make sure I got that right. So and you guys are an app for mortgage, you know, mobile, sort of like, kind of like the Rocket Mortgage of blockchain maybe?
Curtis Wood 04:46
It’s more like Robin, if you think of RobinHood app for mortgages running on blockchain. Yeah. That’s, that’s, that’s a better characterization of it. Because, you know, we’ve got a generation full of millennials who love have apps 90% of their time spent on their smartphone is spent within an app and they’re buying cars in an app through Carvana. You know, many car dealerships have an app now. They don’t even test drive them. They just download the app. Look at it by they promise. Yeah,
Cynthia Wood 05:18
Crazy. I still can’t wrap my head around it. But
Curtis Wood 05:21
yeah, I’d never buy a car without test driving it. Yeah But they buy stocks through Robin Hood. They bank on Chime, you know. So this generation is an app driven generation. And so my background is in mortgages in them before that. I worked for a mobile app development company. They did very big white label development for Neiman Marcus, the Home Depot contractor app, great American cookies, stuff like that. Moe’s Southwest grill. So this is really just a mirror of what I was doing, you know for the past six years and Rocket kind of kicked it off. But rocket didn’t really change anything. We know that because the customer complaints are still the same. And we also know that because you didn’t see all these other lenders like Wells Fargo, B of A , you know, you didn’t see the competitors rush to market with their own mobile app after Rocket Mortgage hit the scene. So it was it’s really more of an advertising campaign. And it’s simply because decades of technology is built to be human centric. It’s built and designed for a human loan officer to sit there and manage the data, validate data, clear milestone, so on and so forth. So what we’re doing intimidate you is Oh, yeah, yeah, for sure. They don’t necessarily want you to have the lowest rate. You know, that’s how the ello gets paid. You know, the lender gets paid on and so on, so forth. But they’ll give you the lowest rate if it means they get your business but yeah, so what we’re doing is Instead of building on current technology, we’re taking a holistic approach. We’re using blockchain, there is some AI for optical imaging, you know, data analysis, that sort of thing for like bank statements, stuff like that. And we’re putting it all into a mobile mortgage.
Bill Deignan 07:19
So the the part that, you know, I know that you’re you’re really emphasizing that this is built on blockchain. And so that, to me sounds like at some point is gonna have to be like a massive influx of records and data that are added to a blockchain so that this really can work. Or is it just such a nascent stage that you’re not leveraging it yet?
Curtis Wood 07:44
No, we are leveraging it on three different points. And these are three simple data points, and they’re the core components of the credit approval process, which is the only thing the lender controls it doesn’t control property value, clear title, you know, or Or taxes that’s up to the county. So when you submit a loan application, they pull your credit. And whatever your credit score is, that’s what they have to use. Okay, if it’s 720 That’s it. They there’s no gray area though. Same thing with W-2 income and also assets, you know what they verify in your bank? If you’ve got 20,000 that’s all you have to qualify. So we’re simply taking the first blockchain integration is using those three data sets and merging them into a larger automation architecture. But having the blockchain validate those three data sets. Number one, we can’t change them. It’s either a yes or no. And that’s what the blockchain is really good at. You know, blockchain is not yet good at cognitive reasoning, which there’s a lot of the various parts of lending especially with a self employed borrower where where there are gray areas but blockchain is just very it’s either a one or zero, you know, very simple, straightforward code. It’s a yes or no. So that’s what we’re using blockchain for is to validate those three data sets for, we’re going to scale on to it from there. But you know, just automating the credit approval process. This is This is going to allow us to increase loan production up to three times, you know, we’ll get our acquisition costs down to around $2700 per file, whereas the average lender, according to the MBA sits at around seven $8000. So our margins are going to be much higher on that very simple blockchain usage.
Bill Deignan 09:38
Yeah. And so the data that now is this data that you would be accessing, is it already on a blockchain? Or are you just going to the we’re using the Equifaxes of the world?
Cynthia Wood 09:49
More specifically, what we’re using is a smart contract. And we’re using the data that we’re getting in a smart contract basically, self execute itself. It’s either yes or no to these answers, and if it’s a yes on all three checkpoints, that smart contract is going to automatically execute on its own.
Curtis Wood 10:05
Yeah, we’re still pulling the data, like you said from the Experians of the world. That’s it. We have we have to, in fact, I was in, I was on the frontlines as a loan officer, whenever blockchain became the buzzword, and there were some crypto projects that were specifically for mortgages, but I veered upon researching them and they’re all dead now. But upon researching them, I very quickly realized they were asking the wrong question. They were building a tech stack around the question of how do we originate a blockchain mortgage? Well, it’s not insurable, Fannie and Freddie won’t buy it. So there’s liquidity problems when your back end. And then number two, it’s not compliant with Dodd Frank. Instead of asking the question, how do we originate a blockchain mortgage? the right question is how do we originate a qualified mortgage using blockchain and a qualified mortgage is one that Fannie and Freddie We’ll buy that’s insurable by HUD and that there’s trillions of dollars in liquidity for to buy up and they go into all our bonds, our teachers pensions, you know, so on and so forth. So that was our starting point. And, like, you know, she said, and like you said, we’re taking the data at source directly from your bank account, through approved vendors, your credit score still comes from Experian, TransUnion, Equifax, and then just like she said, just putting it through a smart contract either clear and move on to the next step, or stopping flag and get routed to a live MLO for a manual review.
Elsa Ramon 11:36
Hey, guys, I’m sorry for the interruption of my internet, but I think we’ve tackled the problem. And I’m back. So I’m sorry, I missed a little bit of the conversation here. But I heard you kind of allude to something that I’ve heard maybe from a little bit from other blockchain companies, Curtis in that maybe at some point in the future. Right now blockchain is A big buzzword and you know, people are talking about it. And they’re, you know, finding out about it. But maybe in a couple of years, we’re not going to refer to companies anymore as blockchain companies. So is that the sentiment you’re getting? Because that’s kind of what I’m getting from some of the other companies, too, that are building products on blockchain. And why is that? Yeah.
Curtis Wood 12:24
For the same reason, you don’t say the internet, like if you don’t market yourself as an internet company anymore. It’s just everybody assumes you have a website, you know, but anytime you have a technological leap, and, you know, in America, it’s a free market. We go through these periods of technological leaps, and the internet was the last one. So it very early on, you saw all these companies flood, we’re an internet company, and I mean, massive IPOs and it was a bubble. There was somewhat of a blockchain bubble. Although the companies were not public. We saw this represented within the Ico space Okay, but no we are MVP is live right now our app, which is a homebuying app helps you pick out a payment. Okay? It’s not a mortgage app is just it gives you a debt to income calculation. It uses lender grade data that’s alive right now. And there’s blockchain is not mentioned once on it, you know, and it’s, quite frankly, people don’t care about blockchain. You know, they care about the user experience. They want instant access to mortgage products that blockchain helps them get there, or a carrier pidgeon, you know, they don’t care.
Bill Deignan 13:34
So then is that to say that the reason you would even mention that you’re doing this on blockchain is that in my mind, it seems like it’s just a path to making the mortgage process exceptionally efficient and fast in more and more in the future.
Curtis Wood 13:51
It is but blockchain is directly associated with crypto. And we are not a cryptocurrency company. We are present right now, technically, we’re a software company. But when the mortgage app is built, we’re going to get our license in Florida and we will be a direct mobile lender. You know, we kind of went crypto got a bad rap. let’s admit it. I am a crypto fan.
Cynthia Wood 14:20
And yeah, a lot of people will hear blockchain in your pitch and they’re totally turned off by it totally. anymore. Yeah. So it’s, it’s blockchain still.
Curtis Wood 14:29
It’s in one sentence on our deck. Yeah. And it’s very high, though. It’s in one page on our website. Yeah.
Cynthia Wood 14:38
So I mean, we have it on there because it’s true. But
Curtis Wood 14:41
It just got a bad rap early on rap.
Cynthia Wood 14:44
And that’s why a lot of the times when he talks about blockchain, I want to be more specific and say, it’s smart contracts that we’re using. Yeah.
Curtis Wood 14:51
For the for the smart people. It’s just data validation. Right. Did you know they, they did it for the savvy investors who did invest with us. Lead investors didn’t even ask us, you know, it didn’t turn them off. You know, they were they were prone to blockchain. But early on I actually got feedback. We cold emailed the deck l just to every VC we could find. And we got some feedback and from some people and they were turned off with it. Now granted, this is right, you know, after the Ico boom. So some of these Ico and crypto projects that had all the hype in the world, they were starting to fizzle out, right?
Elsa Ramon 15:27
And people got scammed. I mean, people just face it. It’s, it’s no different than, you know, people getting scammed in the stock market when people hype up a big stock and people pour in and then it’s pumped and dumped, right? It’s Yeah, it’s something similar. So you know, people are, I’ve seen it. I know you guys have seen it. They’re gonna have a hard time separating the true the genuine nature of blockchain and crypto versus all the scams they heard about in mainstream media over the last couple of years. And it’s true people were scammed. It’s it wherever there’s money, there are going to be scams.
Curtis Wood 16:09
I’ll tell I’ll tell you this, this, too happened with early internet stocks, that a majority of those are just out of business. If you take into account 90% of Silicon Valley, the best backed companies in the world 90% of those fail, you know, they kind of put some context around it, but you know, we, when we entered the space, we did a equity crowdfunding. You know, if you look back on it, yes, there are scams, but the people, the companies with legit ideas, a good team, and staying power, they stick around. Not every company out of the early internet boom is gone. Amazon still here. There’s a handful of others, you know, so we did our fundraising. not through an Ico but through an equity crowdfunding you know, we have a duty to our shareholders. To the SEC, I mean, they own equity in our company. So I tell you that if we had to do it again, we would not have in any way positioned ourselves as a crypto company. Number one, because we’re not but then just number two because we took some hits just being associated with it. And we don’t have a crypto, you know, we
Bill Deignan 17:26
you used Fundopolis for your crowd fund, right? Mm hmm. Now, they have somewhat of a crypto Association, even though don’t they don’t always use. They don’t always fund crypto projects.
Cynthia Wood 17:39
Projects. But they they’re their back end runs on blockchain, I believe.
Curtis Wood 17:44
Yeah. So we can’t speak on specifics for them. Okay. But it is an equity crowd fund. My understanding of it is that the shares are recorded in some way on blockchain. It is not a token. It’s not an sto is a bonafide SEC approved equity crowd fund? Just like we funder, start engine. And yeah, we were their biggest race. It was the first time we raised capital, our pre seed round 5.3 million post money. And we’re thankful for him. We got lucky. We got rejected by start engine, you know, a bunch of people turned us down. They took a chance on us. We got out there, Cynthia and I both we taken more meetings, done more dinners with investors, and we hustled and got it done. There’s there’s been no easy day, but there’s no excuses. You know, right.
Elsa Ramon 18:39
Right. But I think, you know, you said from the internet days that, you know, there were scams back then too, and the cream always rises to the top. Yep. So that’s what we’re going to see here. And that’s what we’re seeing here. And, and hopefully that’s what Bill and I are trying to do with initially with the show that we were shooting now. We are can’t travel anywhere at the moment, but at least now through the podcast is to show people that the cream is starting to rise to the top. And this isn’t something to be intimidated by, but maybe hopeful about in this technology. So, you know, we’re trying to, yes, acknowledge the people who were hurt and scammed and everything else in the early days of this, but now we’re seeing real world products like yours. And so we’re trying to make that connection for people that you’re right and a few years nobody’s gonna care if it’s blockchain or not. It just is like the internet just is. But I do like people to understand why it’s important that the technology is used in this way. So we can start clearing out some of this stuff that had happened in the past and move forward with finding out some of these products can actually really Help us more than probably anything we’ve seen in the past as a society. Yeah.
Cynthia Wood 20:08
And you guys like, like we were saying there has been a lot of scams. And I and I think most of those have kind of fallen by the wayside at this point. It’s been a couple years. Yeah. And we’ve seen them all come and go. And those of us that are still here that are still working are the legit ones. And, like Curtis said, we have an app that’s out. We’re still working. We’re still building. We got a lot of slack, you know, in the beginning for being blockchain when it was buzzy, but we’re still here. We’re still working. And I think most of us, we’ve seen the ones that were scams fall away. And those of us that are still here. Yeah.
Curtis Wood 20:43
We released a live app, and we’re actually in revenue on less than 200 grand now primarily because of Cynthia and the rest of our team. I’m our weakest link. So our team bad offers Kristin Holly Jeremy Cynthia, they they kicked ass. just totally. I mean, we did a majority of the work ourselves. We did have software engineers come in to do the hardcore coding work. Cynthia did some of the coding at some point. But you have some projects who’ve raised millions of dollars, they haven’t even released a product yet. Right? We raised 300. We have over 100 grand in the bank. And we have a lot of product and have a major bank partnership with Florida capital bank. They’re our customer. So the cream is here. It’s already at the top some of the other companies, they’re just dead. They’re stagnant.
Elsa Ramon 21:36
Right. I mean, I don’t know if I missed this in the few minutes that I lost my internet connection with you guys. But if bill covered this, I apologize. But what made you guys make the transition to this space? Because everybody always has a story.
Cynthia Wood 21:53
Elsa Ramon 21:54
How they ended up here.
Cynthia Wood 21:55
We’re all here when Curtis came home and told me that he quit his job. mortgage. And there was no conversation about it. But I’ll let you tell the story. It really started with Curtis and his mortgage experience and what he was seeing on the front lines. And
Curtis Wood 22:10
do you want to hear the story about how our car broke down? And then somebodystole my bike. So we were walking to the grocery store for eight kids every day and I was walking a mile to kick. You want to hear that one? Or do you want to hear like the stories are getting repo’d Oh my god.
Bill Deignan 22:28
Well, I want to hear about when she picked you out of the house. The story about when she kicked you out of the house for quitting your job
Cynthia Wood 22:36
He quit his cush mortgage job and came home and told me that we were gonna do this and blockchain was gonna change the world. So he actually didn’t you tweet a copy of the letter that you wrote to your boss.
Curtis Wood 22:48
Yeah, so there’s when I read some research by Price Waterhouse Moody’s, NASDAQ is a very reputable retailer. analytics, you know, firms, whatever you call them. And it talks about the benefits of blockchain for the mortgage industry. And I was on the frontlines as a loan officer. And the one by PwC is very good. It nails it on the head, like 95%. But the problem is while, analyst could appreciate the benefits of blockchain. It takes somebody with mortgage experience to know how to actually hook it up. Okay. So I that was my lightbulb moment. I mean, I that was the one because it absolutely replaces the need for a human loan officer or processor to review, validate or clear data. So if I am no longer needed, as a loan officer, we have the base technology, the foundational technology for a real mobile mortgage, and about a year prior to that moment The entire industry had held their breath is Quicken rolled out Rocket Mortgage. And everybody thought it was going to be a mobile mortgage. It wasn’t it was simply a digital loan application. And that’s really the difference between what rocket is and what we’re doing. We’re building a virtual a virtual loan officer, whereas Rocket Mortgage is simply a digital loan application, you submit you complete the 1003 on the app, we’re building a virtual loan officer that’s going to run exactly the way a human loan officer does. And I’m not a tech guy, I don’t code I couldn’t code to save my life. Cynthia has to connect me to wifi.
Cynthia Wood 24:42
by but I also by the way, honey, it’s a WiFi
Elsa Ramon 24:45
Fi. She had that look on her face. Like
Curtis Wood 24:50
I said that for her. You know, I’m also not an electrician, but I understand how light works, you know, and that was the same when it when I All blockchain I just instantly got it. And
Cynthia Wood 25:05
he wrote this really nice resignation letter to his boss. I think he tweeted a couple years ago and it’s very nice and wonderful. And he came home and told me what we were going to do. And we years later and all of our savings dumped into this app, lots of trials. And
Curtis Wood 25:22
when she released her hands from my neck and I regained consciousness, we both thought it was a really good idea.
Elsa Ramon 25:33
Well, yes, but you know, it was no easy road, obviously, because I want to hear some of the other stories too. But you guys have encountered a lot of other people in this space, who had that aha moment, right. And now that was the day that it all changed. Suddenly, I had that very same experience. You guys are so many people. That story in and of itself is not unique anymore, at least in this space, because all of us have had that moment. We instantly saw it and said, Man, I gotta do this.
Cynthia Wood 26:04
Yeah, I think the biggest difference is, is there’s a lot of people that have these great ideas like he did with Bee, it’s like, fun and you’re like, Oh, this is gonna be such an adventure and you’re gonna do it, you’re gonna put in the hard work. And then when it starts to get really hard, like your car, repossessed hard, and your likes getting shut off hard, like, that’s when people usually just give up and, you know, go back to your nine to five. And so we really had to bust ass.
Curtis Wood 26:31
We put ourselves in a position to where there was no turning back. And we knew that number one, it wasn’t going to be easy. But if we had an off ramp, or if we if we were just doing this part time, we weren’t going to see the results we wanted in the grind knows how much work you’ve put into it. You know, the only easy day was yesterday, you know, so bring on tomorrow. That’s really our mantra and this from David Goggins ex Nav Seal, guys. Yes, rebel. Yeah, read the button. There’s no excuses. The only excuses you stopping I could go back to the bank, I could pretty much go to any mortgage company I wanted to, and still can, but we wouldn’t be here without it. And, honestly, our goal is to take the company public, you know, we like the idea of, you know, this stakeholder capitalism, you know, which means that you leave this place a little better than you found it along with going public through a big IPO and us moving to some Island somewhere. You know, but that’s the whole idea is, you know, just to make homeownership a little more affordable, andI’m hearing else’s voice at the beginning of our video.
Elsa Ramon 27:46
Yes, okay. So that’s how, but this is why I love this relationship and Twitter and how we connected because we all had the aha moment. But then when I saw what you guys were doing, I knew I knew in my heart I knew right away even though I didn’t know very much about this space, I just had that same feeling I did when I learned the day I learned about blockchain and Bitcoin and everything associated with it that same day, I had that same feeling. I knew you guys were going to do it. So I wanted to I stuck on you. Because I really wanted to see where you guys went. I mean, truly following a story from beginning to end, well, there is no end, but from beginning and on and on. And, you know, I was really honored that you guys asked to have my voice in your in your videos. So that was a big honor, because I really believed in you guys and I wanted to see what you did. So yeah, that it’s me. Just promise me one day, you’ll invite us to the islands so we can choose how you guys are doing 10 years from now, but yeah, but the road is not easy. I share some of that. Some of those struggles with you too. I you know, I left. As you guys know, I left TV news, kind of a Cush job and I’ve been doing it for over 20 years and said, I gotta leave and focus, parlaying my at least what talents I have and use that in covering this space. You know, Curtis, you did the same thing you used your talents in the mortgage business and moved it over to this space and you know, there’s a lot of struggle that comes along with it. You know, I’m sure you heard from family. What are you doing? What do you mean Curtis quit his job. What do you mean, you guys have kids to feed? You guys have a mortgage. Oh, here. Yeah, I did too. And it’s been two years. I’m still hearing it. So I’m sure along the way. I know it hasn’t been easy. But in the end, people think, you know, they see you and they think it was easy. I mean, what what were some of the toughest times For you guys leading up to this point, because you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Curtis Wood 30:06
Nothing of any significance is earned easily. Just life rewards hard work, no matter what the sacrifice is for, you know, life rewards hard work. So I’ll let you answer a question.
Cynthia Wood 30:26
How long was it before we started and ended our fundraising when we started in the beginning, it was like a year. So.
Curtis Wood 30:33
A year and a half before we had our first capital infusion. We actually
Cynthia Wood 30:36
Went a year and a half with zero funding, which means we went through our savings. Quickly, I met with a percent of our savings.
Curtis Wood 30:44
I met with an angel investor in Marco Island. We agreed on a price and the day there’s $100,000 Yeah, there’s a lot of money and that was
Cynthia Wood 30:55
Huge for us
Curtis Wood 30:56
Was right before Christmas. Yeah. And the day before We were supposed to sign the deal. He asked the valuation by 70%. Yeah. And Cynthia and I had a choice to make. And we both agreed. Agreed No. I gave universal thought.
Elsa Ramon 31:19
We attached you know, give people the option to see the live stream just FYI. So don’t blow your nose
Cynthia Wood 31:28
green and we just saw there’ll be somebody else behind him. No worries, we’re not gonna jump the valuation that much or
Curtis Wood 31:35
One for another year.
Cynthia Wood 31:36
Anybody? Actually another year,
Curtis Wood 31:39
I think I got a better story. So I resigned in May of 2018. And I had taken three months off prior to that I was out on FMLA when my son and so I resigned. I got back to work and May, I resigned. CYNTHIA And I had been at this house for years. And a month after I resigned, we got a letter from the management company saying that the owner hasn’t paid his mortgage
Cynthia Wood 32:14
In a year or something a long time. You have 30 days to move out.
Curtis Wood 32:18
Yeah, you have 30 days to move out. So very early on.
Elsa Raon 32:23
So wait, they hope they didn’t take in your they’ve been taking your rent,
Cynthia Wood 32:27
Elsa Ramon 32:28
They’re down but they’re not paying the mortgage. I saw that happened during the bubble, or, you know, the mortgage crisis in 2008. There were people on the street that were doing the same thing. They brought in a renter knowing that they weren’t going to pay the mortgage, but they were going to take the money from the renter. The renter all of a sudden, gets a sheriff’s deputy at the door saying, you gotta get out. Yeah.
Curtis Wood 32:52
Yes. Oh, my God, very early on. We had to decide, are we gonna stick this out or not? And we stuck it out. It’s just
Cynthia Wood 33:03
Many stories just like
Curtis Wood 33:05
Many, many stories, all of these things. Yeah. But the walking to the grocery store every day is
Cynthia Wood 33:11
Literally there was a time you said for our car.
Bill Deignan 33:15
You said 8 kids? Yeah.
Cynthia Wood 33:18
Yeah, five that live in our house and then three they rotate every other weekends and stuff. So we’re like The Brady Bunch. Oh, yeah.
Bill Deignan 33:28
So were you pushing a shopping cart down the street?
No, no, our neighbor I bought the street from our kids school. So I was walking our kids to and from school every day. And we were lucky that there was a Publix right on the corner from our house. So he was riding his bike to Publix for a few months and then my bike got stolen.
Elsa Ramon 33:47
Oh my god.
Cynthia Wood 33:51
Vehicles now and we’re okay. But it was a really rough period and the bike was stolen. She was walking. It’s like Publix.
Curtis Wood 34:00
We haven’t told anybody these stories number one are raised
Cynthia Wood 34:03
Curtis Wood 34:06
Embarrassing our raise is closed we’ve already got the money so
Elsa Ramon 34:13
I’m I’m so glad you guys are smiling and laughing about it now and you should because well
Cynthia Wood 34:19
We there was lots of crying.
Elsa Ramon 34:21
I understand i’ve i’ve shed a lot of tears during this journey to it hasn’t been easy. It’s been it’s been rough on my kids too. And my family and you know, you guys know the stories too, and Billy Yeah, cuz he had to hear my cries. But I’m like, you guys. You should be proud of these stories because ultimately what this all meant is that you guys stuck it out. And you became I which appears to me a stronger as a couple and stronger as a family. And now You guys can see the light at the end of the tunnel. You’re, you’re, you’re crawling out. And that’s the important part. You know, our parents always teach us that. You got to stand up and dust yourself off and keep going.
Cynthia Wood 35:14
Honestly, it’s been a great, it was tough. Don’t get me wrong. But if we have 214 year olds, a boy and a girl, and they’ve watched us go through this, they’re like old enough to know what’s going on and that we were really struggling. And our kids really have gotten a lot from it. They tell us all the time, how proud of us they are. Yeah, they knew that we came from the house and no car and they see where we are now. And everything’s okay now. And they tell us all the time that they’re, like, proud of us for our hard work. They think it’s super cool. So it’s been good. It’s been a good experience for us, especially our kids to see. You can work your way up that you’ll get through it if you just work hard. So it’s been it’s been a good experience. I’m glad we’re out of the tough parts. Yeah. And a good experience for everybody.
Curtis Wood 35:55
Yeah, the best text I ever got from my daughter.
Elsa Ramon 36:01
Just gonna say it my kids told me when they say things like, oh Mommy, I love you and Mommy, I’m so proud of you. I would just like ball roll. Yeah, fetal position crying, just
Curtis Wood 36:12
so but my daughter sent me a text and it was just time to write and it’s the only one she’s ever sent me. But it was like, I’m so proud of you.
Bill Deignan 36:26
me switch cameras about switching back to
Cynthia Wood 36:32
work and so it was just really sweet. And it’s just, it’s cool that our kids got to kind of go through it with us and see it.
Elsa Ramon 36:40
I’m sorry, Bill. I just feel like you know, it helps build character for them too. And See ya, you know, you worry about and I get those same feelings to you stress and the anxiety of having the kids feel the insecurity at the time and you wonder how that’s going to affect them. And It’s hard and you feel terrible and you feel guilty. But when they do that, you know, you just burst into tears and realize it really was all worth it. And now forever. They’re going to be proud of you guys.
Bill Deignan 37:13
Yeah, especially when they’re living on that island.
Elsa Ramon 37:16
Curtis Wood 37:26
We worked our way up from the bottom with this. There’s no free lunch.
Bill Deignan 37:30
Yeah. Right. So real quick, I want to I’ve got, you know, being the geek of the bunch over here. Back to your project for a second. Yeah. So you’re you’re using your blockchain part with a smart contract on like, what blockchain like what platform are you on? I think we decided,
Cynthia Wood 37:55
well, we are going back between either Stellar and Etherium and The developers that we’re using I think we’re leaning more towards etherium right now.
Yeah, we have some
Curtis Wood 38:07
the first build the first four, five, Sprint’s don’t have any blockchain build on them. It’s all just legacy applications. After that we’re starting to build on the smart contract part. And we were big etherium fans, but Casper was being rolled out. And then in theory now a theorem two, stellar is already fast. It’s very robust. And that’s what we’re like, we don’t have to make a decision right now. But I mean, this Yeah. If we had to Well, I think
Bill Deignan 38:44
so to me, I guess it you know, I think the way you’ve described it and what and and just now kind of strikes me as it doesn’t really matter, as long as it works sort of thing. Like you said, You didn’t build blockchain into your platform. It’s just an it’s kind of like an Oracle. To your platform, right?
Curtis Wood 39:02
Yeah, correct. Yeah, 90 on the first blockchain implementation 99% of it is still legacy coding. You know? 95 Okay.
Cynthia Wood 39:15
And then 5% of it is going to be those that smart contract. Okay.
Curtis Wood 39:21
Yeah. And then we’re in the first
Cynthia Wood 39:24
place right now we’re blockchain is mature enough to.
Curtis Wood 39:30
Yeah. And there’s not only that we couldn’t originate mortgage even if it was compliant with Dodd Frank. We couldn’t stick it on a smart contract now. So it is the technology is not advanced enough. So we’re utilizing current technology that works really well. And all we’re simply doing is replacing the the human data validation step with a smart contract
Cynthia Wood 39:55
Digital loan officer. So basically what you want us to do, we’re replacing the loan officer With a smart contract right now.
Bill Deignan 40:02
Yes. So that makes me ask the question because this is a show called so what about crypto? Why not? I mean, do you even have to have blockchain for any of that?
Cynthia Wood 40:18
for the smart contract a smart contract is self executing. Yeah. You know, the terms of either yes or no are already built into the contract for smart contracts. Yes, that aspect?
Curtis Wood 40:30
Because, yeah, it ultimately comes down to our acceptance of risk as as a lender, and there’s, I’m a big believer in public blockchains they’re out there. Totally unbiased. You know, and the same thing applies here. You know, we could set up you know, 13 nodes, ourselves, you know, and just run a blockchain. But our long term goal is to as blockchain technology matures is to continue to build the pieces of loan origination into the smart contract. And if we do that we’re going to need a very robust network, not something we can manage ourselves, nor would I want it to be private. That’s not a risk tolerance. You know, I’d be willing to accept or that HUD or Fannie and Freddie would be willing to accept. Yeah, public. Yeah.
Bill Deignan 41:27
Sounds like a smart approach. Sure.
Elsa Ramon 41:29
But speaking of those companies, what do you think the future is like for those companies? Now that you’re doing what you’re doing? And they’re continuing kind of along the same way they’ve always operated? What’s the future of Fannie and Freddie? Yeah.
Bill Deignan 41:47
All right. Guess any mortgage company
Elsa Ramon 41:49
or any mortgage, any any company that’s dealing in the way that it’s always been done versus what you guys are doing now
Curtis Wood 41:57
Yeah. So number one Do you have decades of technology that current lenders use to originate alone? decades of technology is built for a human being to manage the data, validate it and clear it. That’s all they do. So, you know, in that aspect, the reason number one, the reason why we don’t have a mobile mortgage is because lenders don’t trust a computer program to do a human’s job. They don’t they could automate all of loan origination if they wanted to, but they don’t because they don’t trust it because of the risk, you know, profile of mortgage lending. And then you also need a human being with a with an mlo license to quote a raider and negotiate loan terms. I mean, there’s some hardcore regulations in place. The future lenders right now are pushing for a repeal of Dodd Frank. And as big of a free market guys I am I think that’s the wrong approach. Dodd Frank did a lot of good he did a lot of bad things. But it did a lot of good in rooting out some of the crap. The subprime loans. It stiffened the penalties for mortgage fraud, a million dollar fine. 30 years in prison, you know, and you saw at the peak in oh seven, subprime loans made up about 20% of all mortgages. Now that’s less than 10. So it also did away with stated loans. So it did a lot of good. But are you going but yes, that’s okay. Fannie and Freddie have to adopt new technology. They’re getting a lot of pressure from mortgage lenders themselves to either allow new technology like a e-notaries coronaviruses opened up a lot of opportunities for E notes, remote closings, that sort of thing. It’s not going to go away. HUD initially said we’ll do this for 90 days. They extended it, they’re going to extend it indefinitely at this point. But Fannie and Freddie are going to have to adopt new technology, they’re going to be forced to it’s either that or repeal Dodd Frank. Dodd Frank is not going anywhere. So we’re in a good position to build our tech demo it. And we have a technology partner with Florida Capital Bank. They’re our our testing partner. And then at that point, you know, integrate some of these new tech applications directly with HUD and Fannie and Freddie.
Elsa Ramon 44:30
Well, you guys, I can’t thank you enough. First of all for for being with us today. Because as much as I want people to learn about your product, and you know, we want people to see the real world applications that are happening. I really love to hear the stories behind how you got there. And for you and Cynthia, who by the way, you’re not seeing Cynthia because she had to do a hard stop. You know, they are running a company. trying to build a company. So she has something else to do. It’s got
Curtis Wood 45:02
She’s gotta stand up with our dev team.
Elsa Ramon 45:05
Yeah. But I really, you know, I don’t I see a lot of times people don’t know what it takes and the sacrifices that are made and the things that you guys have to go through to get to this point. So that maybe brings a deeper appreciation for the things that you have brought to the public, for them to use. And hopefully, they make that kind of emotional connection with you guys to see that this has been pure hard work. And it’s not done in the same way that we typically see things done on Wall Street and in business, and that’s the point.
Curtis Wood 45:46
Yeah, technology always wins. It really does. You can’t talk stop disruption. You know, just like crypto, you can’t stop crypto, you can’t stop Bitcoin, that sort of thing. But we submit our iOS app. to Apple for review, hopefully they don’t take months to review it. And wouldn’t be doing my job. If I didn’t plug the app for your new home buyer go download it, it’s free, helps you pick out your payment. You know, we use lender grade data. And we also launch an I Heart Radio campaign in the Central Florida market. As soon as iOS is live, so let’s hope some new homebuyers download it.
Elsa Ramon 46:26
Yeah, I’m Bill, Bill. And I, Bill, always make sure that all the information is in the show notes. So when people download the podcast or come to the website, they can see all of that stuff and the text, your you know, the app, all the information that you want them to have. It’ll be there along with the podcast. Yeah.
Bill Deignan 46:45
Thank you. And so right now, right now, it’s on Google only Google Play Store. I guess it’s what is called the App Store for them. Yeah, and then it’s only you’re only sort of licensed in Florida at this point.
Curtis Wood 46:58
Now, we’re not a lender So there’s no licensing requirements right now the only thing that we do is a debt to income calculation. So you answer some very simple questions and it’s specifically for new homebuyer sales. So I’m sure you bought a home YouTube bill, if you hit the market, you would know what price range you would want to look in. So what we’re doing is we’re targeting the app 11 millennial generation who is this year, the largest Home Buying segment for the first time and that’s only going to grow. And again, it’s free, you plug in your income, the zip code, you’re looking in, how much money you have to buy the home with, and it spits out your payment, your estimated payment along with the purchase price. And you get to pick out whatever payment and purchase price you like and then you start looking at homes. And the the idea is that it’s a starting point. It’s not a replacement for a pre approval. It’s simply a starting point of where you need to start looking. If you’re a new homebuyer.
Cynthia Wood 47:57
That saves a lot of work though.
Elsa Ramon 48:02
Most definitely. Well, we’ll have all the information for everybody to check it out themselves, along with the podcast. Please tell Cynthia, thank you so much for being with us today on so what about crypto? I finally get to see you guys in person. I’ve talked to you on the phone. we’ve communicated on Twitter via email, but this is the first time we’ve actually sort of seen each other face to face so I’m really glad you guys were able to join us today and and share all those stories. Really, really appreciate it.
Curtis Wood 48:37
Thank you for having us.
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