Before starting high school, Matthew Humphrey was taking computer science courses at Carnegie Mellon University. The 13-year-old spent mornings studying at a suburban Pittsburgh middle school. In the afternoons, he traveled to CMU to work alongside college students.
“He stood out because he had his head on straight,” said Lenore Blum, one of Humphrey’s first professors. “He had both the brains and the balance.”
Humphrey’s combination of intelligence, social skills and maturity serves him well. A serial entrepreneur, he has co-founded eight tech startups and invested in more than 100 others. Now, at 29, he presides over LendingHome, a San Francisco startup that has grown in three years to more than 250 employees, raised over $100 million in venture backing, and funded over $1.2 billion in mortgages.
Given his career accomplishments already, it is no wonder he is among the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30: Finance as one of the country’s 30 “brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers” in finance.
When it comes to the analytical skills crucial to his success, Humphrey credits CMU, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2007 from the School of Computer Science and an MBA in 2008 from the Tepper School of Business.
“CMU empowered me to build something with sound fundamental principles,” he recalled. “It taught me how to think. I feel comfortable wearing a marketing hat, an operations hat, a management hat, and of course a technology hat.”
Humphrey is grateful that CMU took a chance on him. He left high school at 17 and enrolled full-time at CMU. Complementing his focus on academics, he also played soccer with CMU’s varsity team.
“A lot of people bet on me when I was unproven,” he said with gratitude.
Blum and her role as founding director of Project Olympus, a startup incubator on campus, sparked Humphrey’s entrepreneurial interest.
At 17, he co-founded Envivial, which used video game technology to recreate stores in 3-D to enhance online shopping.
“It was a cool concept way before its time,” he said. “We almost raised money, but most people weren’t comfortable betting on a team with an average age of 18.”
The experience whetted his appetite. In the past 12 years, he has started companies in the spaces of retail analytics, video delivery, social games, e-commerce and lending. In 2010, he started an e-commerce company called HomeRun — 18 months later, at age 24, he sold it for more than $100 million.
While evaluating an investment, Humphrey noticed a gap in the mortgage marketplace. He decided to start his own company, LendingHome, to reimagine the traditional mortgage process used by banks into a simple, fast, and transparent online experience using technology.
He started by serving property investors who flip houses, but often struggle to get financing from banks. LendingHome now also offers a broad range of loan types including mortgages for individual homebuyers.
“We make the process better, faster, cheaper and all online,” he said. “Borrowers can get a rate in 60 seconds. An application can be done in 20 to 30 minutes. And properties can be closed on in as quickly as 15 days.”
The company has raised more than $100 million in equity financing and over $1 billion of loan capital, including a partnership with HCG Funds.
“I consider Matt one of the top CEOs in the digital finance investment arena,” said HCG co-founder Jose Penabad. “When it comes to revolutionizing the world of real estate lending, I think he’s just getting started.”