Thanks to Chimney for contributing to the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator’s Founder Feature series! Chimney is re-imagining financial guidance for the digital age. Chimney drives digital loan growth with the tools, data, and guidance that turns homeowners into qualified borrowers. To meet Chimney and the other fintechs in the 2022 ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator, powered by The Venture Center, click here. For questions, please email email@example.com.
The Venture Center: Where did the idea for Chimney originate?
Chase Neinken: Anyone who has been through the homebuying process knows how complicated and confusing it can be. My wife and I experienced this first hand. When we started looking at homes, we went online to our bank hoping to find some answers. Unfortunately, the information our bank provided online didn’t meet our needs.
We turned to search engines and other online tools to do more research, after which my phone didn’t stop ringing for weeks. We thought there just had to be a better way!
We asked ourselves, what if there was a way for people to use interactive, personalized tools that provide insights and intelligent product recommendations based on their unique situation?
Chimney is our answer.
What problem is it solving?
Banks have the opportunity to provide more robust digital experiences that keep customers engaged. In a year where mortgages hit all-time highs, banks converted less than 0.5% of their customers into new mortgages, which meant billions were left on the table.
You can look outside of the financial services arena for a moment, and see that there is a massive behavioral shift happening. Netflix, Spotify, Amazon – the companies that are using personalized experiences and product recommendations are hugely successful.
Finances could be no different. Customers respond to deeply personalized service online, and we can help banks provide that. With Chimney, bank customers can get an understanding of their options, get connected with the right products or people, and start an application in minutes.
What has been the most difficult part of building this business?
This was the first year in history that online account openings passed branch applications. Banks are challenged to keep pace with customer expectations. It’s our job as technology partners to bring innovation and adoption to our bank partners. This means it’s my job as a founder to show bank executives the opportunity, and provide a sense of how their peers at other institutions are adapting and finding success.
What’s the best book you have ever read, and why?
The Almanack of Naval Ravikant – A guide to wealth and happiness. This is a personal favorite of mine and our founding team. It’s rare to find such a candid perspective on the relationship between happiness and wealth.
The principles, skills, and approach included in this book were collected over the course of 10 years. Nothing is glamorized and everything is laid out in simple language – this book is a must for any entrepreneur. I recommend it often.
Why did you decide to apply for the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator, and what do you hope to gain from it?
To put it simply, over the span of 12 weeks The Venture Center and ICBA are giving us an opportunity that would otherwise take years to accomplish. The chance to speak to this many bank executives and understand their unique challenges is something we wouldn’t otherwise have.
There’s a quote I love from Holstee that says, “Once your brain is in problem solving mode, it’s hard to get back into problem understanding mode.” With the accelerator, we’re getting the best of both worlds – not only the chance to understand the biggest challenges community banks are facing today, but also how our solutions can solve those challenges.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your journey as an entrepreneur?
Emotional Intelligence is something I’m super passionate about that I don’t believe we talk about enough as a society. Empathy, self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation – these are crucial characteristics of successful human beings, and oftentimes we over-glamorize things like hustle and grit.
I believe we have an opportunity to make technology emotionally intelligent as well. Technology should understand someone’s situation and act accordingly based on a set of rules that help them reach their goals while displaying empathy and awareness.
What is your favorite quote or mantra?
“I saw that” – Karma
Thanks to Chimney for contributing to the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator’s Founder Feature series! To meet Chimney and the other fintechs in the 2022 ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator, powered by The Venture Center, click here. For questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.