Real estate-focused fintech firm Tomo plans up to 100 Stamford jobs

Stamford Advocate 06.30.2021

 

Real estate-focused fintech firm Tomo plans up to 100 Stamford jobs

By Paul Schott

Tomo Networks, a financial-technology firm focused on the real estate industry that was founded last year in Stamford, plans to create up to 100 local jobs by the end of this year, company and state officials announced Wednesday.

At the same time, Tomo announced its digital platform’s launch and confirmed a $70 million round of investing, which company officials described as “one of the largest seed rounds in history.”

“Tomo could have selected any state in the country to locate their corporate headquarters, and they chose Connecticut because they recognize that we have the best educated, best trained and most productive work forces in the world that are driving innovation, especially in the fintech industry, which has seen tremendous growth in recent years,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement.

“New companies like Tomo make me excited because of the innovative products they are creating. I am thrilled they have chosen Stamford as the central hub where they will be making this happen, and I look forward to seeing their continued growth here,” Lamont said.

The company will be headquartered at 2200 Atlantic St., in Stamford’s South End, yards away from the future headquarters, at 100 Washington Blvd., of manufacturer and technology-services provider ITT. The latter announced last week that it would move its main offices to the city from White Plains, N.Y.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Gov. Lamont’s office, the Department of Economic and Community Development, and AdvanceCT (an economic development-focused nonprofit) as we build out our company in Stamford,” Greg Schwartz, CEO and co-founder of Tomo, said in a statement. “Innovative, growth-oriented companies like Tomo are attracted to the state by the business-friendly environment and the deep talent available here. We intend to be the destination employer of choice for those who want to change how home buying and financial services are transacted. I am proud to be in Stamford for our official launch today.”

Tomo offices in Seattle, Wash., and Austin, Texas, will support the Stamford headquarters.

Connecticut is in the midst of one of its busiest periods for corporate recruitment since Lamont, a first-term Democrat, took office in January 2019. Tobacco giant Philip Morris International announced June 22 that it would move its headquarters from Manhattan to Connecticut and financial-technology firm iCapital Network committed June 24 to opening offices in Greenwich.

“I think we are going to see many more financial technology companies like Tomo come to Connecticut in the post-pandemic era,” DECD Commissioner David Lehman said in a statement. “We have the ecosystem that can support both the tech and finance aspects of their business, and we have the talent they need to help them compete in this industry. We are aggressively recruiting companies in this sector.”

AdvanceCT CEO and President Peter Denious said in a statement that Tomo “is a great example of an industry disruptor, and we are thrilled they chose to establish their headquarters in Stamford. Their growth trajectory is exciting, and we look forward to supporting them in the coming months.”

Tomo’s digital platform is initially launching in the Dallas, Houston and Seattle markets. It “will be the first platform in the residential real estate space that is buyer-centric, using its proprietary technology to customize the home-buying experience with features that include fully underwritten pre-approvals in hours, an on-time closing guarantee and a price match for the lowest possible mortgage rates,” according to the joint announcement issued Wednesday by the company and state officials.

The company has launched amid a spike in home-buying in markets like Connecticut since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Connecticut home sales in May rose 22 percent year-over-year, according to Berkshire Hathaway Home Services.

“Buying a home is really way too hard,” Schwartz, who relocated to New Canaan around the time of Tomo’s founding, said in an interview last year. “It’s too demanding on the homebuyer.”

Tomo is not trying to compete with Zillow, according to Schwartz. He worked at the Seattle-based real estate and rental marketplace from 2007 until the start of 2020, in a number of executive positions, including most recently as its president of media and marketplace.

Carey Armstrong, Tomo’s other co-founder and its chief revenue officer, formerly served as vice president of Zillow’s Premier Agent business.

“It’s the same industry, but we’re trying to solve a different thing,” Schwartz said in the interview. “We’re specifically focused on re-plumbing the transaction and starting with the mortgage. We want to make it a payments platform for the housing industry, as PayPal is to e-commerce … That will be a very powerful and scalable thing, and we’ll be able to partner with folks like Zillow.”

At the same time, Schwartz said the company wants to help, not compete with, real estate professionals.

“I would never dream of buying a house personally without having the advocacy of a real estate professional,” Schwartz said in the interview. “The risks are too high. I think most folks want that same experience, and they should be able to access modern digital tools.”

The company’s name alludes to omotenashi, which Tomo’s website describes as a “Japanese service philosophy in which needs are anticipated and thoughtfully met.” Schwartz said he was inspired by an example of omotenashi while trying to catch a bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto during a family trip a couple of years ago.

Verónica Del Valle contributed reporting to this article.