Turning renters into homeowners is the mission of Aussie start-up, OwnHome, who is now one step closer to achieving that goal after securing $150,000 in funding from x15ventures – Commonwealth Bank’s venture building entity.

OwnHome was awarded the money after being declared the winner of x15’s Xccelerate2020 – a fast-tracked program for experienced entrepreneurs and start-up teams looking to achieve rapid growth through funding and support.

More than 80 start-ups applied to participate in the Xccelerate2020 program – the second staging of this event for the year. Of the 80 plus start-ups that applied, 10 companies were shortlisted and invited to attend Community Days earlier this month, while only four were invited to pitch their business idea to CommBank’s Investment Committee. The theme for the event was ‘helping young Australians get ahead on their finances’.

After pitching to the Investment Committee, it was OwnHome who managed to impress the judges the most, with its creativity and innovative approach to getting people into their dream home sooner.

In a nutshell, OwnHome buys a property for the customer. This customer is able to move into the home straight away and simply make a monthly payment to OwnHome. Within the first two to five years, the customer is able to buy the property off OwnHome at a pre-arranged price.

OwnHome is helmed by co-founders James Bowe and Tim Harley, who both have a wealth of international experience in the fintech industry. Speaking about their win, Mr Bowe said: “We’re stoked to receive this grant from x15 and CommBank. The Xccelerate program has been a great experience and it was fascinating to see how x15 is thinking about the many different elements of the customer journey. Finding like-minded partners with the capital and innovation expertise of Commbank is a dream come true, and it means we can achieve our mission sooner.

“We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to build a life and family in the security of their own home. After seeing so many people we care about making huge sacrifices in pursuit of the great Australian dream, Tim and I were driven to create a solution to this problem, and OwnHome was born.”

In deciding the Xccelerate2020 winner, x15ventures Managing Director Toby Norton-Smith said: “The passion OwnHome has for helping young Australians achieve financial independence and improve their wellbeing was impossible to ignore. We’re thrilled to be working with them.

“Xccelerate is a unique proposition in the sense that it offers start-ups an opportunity to experiment with their idea, learn from leaders in the venture world, and secure funding to help them take their business model to the next level. At x15ventures, we believe in empowering innovators to reshape banking as we know it, and OwnHome is a start-up that is really challenging the status quo.

“It’s been a tough year for the country, but it is the young Aussies who have really been struggling. Many are out of work or considering delaying major life goals such as homeownership due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s something we’re looking to solve through Xccelerate.”

OwnHome was one of the four finalists in the Xccelerate program. Other finalists included:

  • QPay brings the services of a university society into one place, through a prepaid Mastercard that provides immediate cashback on student discounts. QPay introduces good financial habits to students with every purchase they make.
  • TaxFox is a mobile app that helps Australians maximise their tax refund. With four different price-points, customers can save tax-deductable expense receipts, log their work-from-home days, and get regular Smart Tax Tips.
  • SparkBikes is a micro-mobility company that provides innovative software and hardware to power the gig economy. Delivery drivers can rent an electric bike and other equipment for a minimum of four weeks through Spark Bikes.

Commonwealth Bank’s Group Executive for Retail Banking, Angus Sullivan, said Xccelerate is one of the many ways CommBank is helping to support the financial wellbeing of Australians.

“The way customers interact with their bank is rapidly changing and we are innovating to ensure we deliver seamless, intuitive tools and services to improve their financial wellbeing. This is exactly what OwnHome is offering, and I congratulate them on their innovative business model which will help Australians gain greater control of their financial future.

“As the leading technology bank, we have a proud heritage of developing and delivering innovations that improve the financial wellbeing of our customers, such as Benefits Finder and Bill Sense, and we are excited to be working with like-minded companies that also have a laser-like focus on improving the customer experience.”

Read more about OwnHome

About Xccelerate2020

Xccelerate is a fast-tracked program for experienced entrepreneurs and start-up teams to achieve rapid growth through x15ventures funding and support, including leveraging CBA group assets and strategic partners. Earlier this year, the program invited applicants to pitch ideas that would improve the financial wellbeing of young Australians. Out of a shortlist of 10 ideas, four were invited to pitch in front of a panel of judges.

About x15ventures

x15ventures is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBA, with funding provided from CBA’s $1 billion annual technology investment envelope, its own delivery model, and a dedicated management team. x15ventures is working with leading global businesses including Microsoft, KPMG, to deliver ongoing expertise and support for digital innovators. The CBA venture building entity is building the next generation of solutions for our 15 million customers and beyond, by unlocking new value from CommBank’s assets through partnership with the tech and innovation community. x15ventures partners with seasoned entrepreneurs, offering them support, guidance and access to CBA’s customer base and distribution networks. For more, please visit www.x15ventures.com.au