Fireside Chat with StreamLoan’s CTO and Co-Founder Armando Gonzalez
A central part of any successful start-up is its leadership. Today, I sat down (virtually) with Armando Gonzalez, the Chief Technology Officer, and Co-Founder of StreamLoan, to discuss everything from the innovation in Streamloan’s products, to how to effectively manage the ideal, work-life balance.
Armando is an expert in many cross-functional segments of business, such as sales, consulting, and real estate/mortgage. He got his start in the corporate world as a consultant for leading companies such as Procter and Gamble, Otis Spunkmeyer, SC Johnson, and Red Bull, consulting for over nine years. He then went on to serve as a Senior Manager at Deloitte Consulting for twelve years, and later served as a Senior Director of Customer Profitability Management at Redbull. Now, he is the Co-Founder and CTO of StreamLoan. In the free time that he has outside of work, Armando enjoys being a coach on his childrens’ basketball teams, and spending quality time with his family. Read on to learn more about Armando!
Hi Armando, thank you so much for joining me today. I want to start off by asking you, what is the most rewarding part of co-founding a start-up like StreamLoan?
Thank you so much for having me. Personally, the most rewarding part of co-founding a start-up has been having the opportunity to impact the future of a multi-trillion dollar industry. And, being a part of one of the first companies who envisioned a mobile phone as the driver of intersectionality in our industry. Also, from a timing point of view, it was very rewarding to see our first product launched two months before the first Super Bowl advertisement from Rocket Mortgage was released. It was rewarding to see that Rocket Mortgage had a similar vision to us regarding the digital experience, and changing the market going forward. That Super Bowl advertisement affected how the industry thought about digital experience in mortgage. That was an incredible moment.
What first sparked your interest in starting a company in the mortgage technology industry?
Well, as a consumer, I tried to purchase a house in Santa Monica a long time ago. I went through the process with a realtor, who referred me to his friend who worked at a bank. When the banker was inquiring with me about prequalifications, he asked me to send my information via email. I ended up having to send tons of paperwork via email, often containing confidential and personal information, which made me uncomfortable. Overall, it was not a positive experience. Santa Monica is a very competitive market, and it was tough to win an offer. I couldn’t buy a house because prices were constantly going up, and my offers kept being rejected. I found the process was not easy, and was quite painful and stressful to navigate. Stephen had been a real estate investor for quite some time, and he and I spoke with each other about how tedious the mortgage process was. We felt it was a very clear industry problem to solve from a consumer perspective, and that something needed to be done. This conversation with Stephen sparked my interest in starting a company in this sector. At that time, it wasn’t only the consumer who was struggling with the mortgage process, but also the loan officers and realtors. We strongly felt that this triangle of trust between these three groups has to be fully digitized. This was the hypothesis and foundation; a unified experience for those three groups of people.
In your mind, what aspects of the StreamLoan product in particular make it stand out amongst its competitors?
I think our product’s user experience has been designed with modern UI UX concepts. This has been its main differentiator from other products in the mortgage technology industry since day one. Since the days of our early customers, we have continually shown that our customer experience has been very effective in how we tackle consumer problems. The way our products solve the problems of not only consumers, but also of loan officers, realtors, and borrowers differentiates us from other industry competitors in the marketplace. The second area in which our product stands out from its competitors is the company’s integration between our product and loan origination softwares. Our integration with leading loan origination softwares in this industry has set us apart from the rest of our competitors. We have less friction points in integration, and integration is seamless for loan officers.
Tell us more about your day to day activities as the CTO of StreamLoan? Which aspect of your role excites you the most?
The aspect of the role which I enjoy the most is listening to my client’s feedback. Having meetings where I can understand the issues and challenges which customers face is something that I really value. And, using that information to make our product better. We always plan the features we want to improve in the product or launch based on customer feedback. We discuss how to make our product scalable, simple, and easy to use for our customers in their day to day activities. Then, we publish these features, and have the joy and reward of seeing them in the market, and seeing them being utilized by our customers on a daily basis.
What is some advice you have for those working from home, and striving to sustain a work-life balance?
During this time, it’s all about owning and understanding your priorities in life. Once you understand these priorities, you can arrange your calendar around them. The key is not to let other outside agendas dictate your own schedule. You should make your own schedule. One of the things that I like to do is to set up time slots for different activities, such as: working out, spending time with my kids, eating meals with my family, and time to focus on work and be productive.
What do you envision for the future of StreamLoan?
Our goal is to continue to exceed our customer’s expectations, and drive positive business results with them. We’re on a long journey, as mortgage (and real estate) is a long game. We as a company and we as an industry, still have a ways to go to reach the final vision; a fully integrated digital experience for home purchase and home finance and mortgage. When we reach that point, our clients, and their consumer customers, along with our company, will flourish even more, impacting the industry in a profound way.