Last week has been an important week for SmartHippo.com the first-ever website that uses the power of community to help consumers find the best mortgage rates and save money launched its beta version back in September 2007.
Not only they introduced their new CEO Lori Collins, who was one of SH’s founding Advisory Board members as well as the former GM atLendingTree, but they also announced the launch of HipoListo.es, their new Joint-Venture with Financialred in Spain.
I first heard about SmartHippo in early 2008 on Jim Bruene‘s excellentNetbanker blog. I met George Favvas, Founder and now VP Corporate Strategy, at FinovateStartup 2008 in San Francisco.
I invite you to read the official press release. At the moment, the HipoListo homepage is a carbon copy of SmartHippo’s but in Spanish.
Please find below a quote from Jesus Perez Sanchez, CEO at Financialred.com.
“The web finance space is in its infancy in Spain and we believe we have an opportunity to rapidly establish HipoListo as the dominant player in a market of 50 million consumers” said Jesus Perez, Chief Strategy Officer of FinancialRed. “By leveraging the SmartHippo platform we were able to significantly reduce our time to market.”
I believe the HipoListo Team hans’t started blogging yet. It is interesting to see two different approaches to Social Media and Advocacy which in Spain reflects the local market adoption of twitter: SmartHippo is focused on twitter, whereas HipoListo is focused on Facebook.
It is a Small Small World
I love the Social Media / Online Inovation space in the Financial Services industry. It is such a small world. I met George through Jim, I first got in touch with Jesus when he was working at BBVA and I was Senior Innovation Manager at Lloyds TSB, and while I was in NYC three weeks ago to cover Finovate 2009, I met with one of Jesus’ colleagues, José Ruiz Cristina – Chief Strategy Officer at Financialred and Avi Karnani the Co-Founder of Thrive and now VP Strategic Innovation at LendingTree, Lori’s former employer.
I LOVE my job!
SmartHippo is not the only innovative startup in online finance which recently launched outside the US: in the last 12 months Wesabe partnered with the Telegraph in the UK and SmartyPig partnered with ANZ in Australia.