Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Q&A: Omar Jordan starts his second startup Lenderclose

Omar Jordan understands real estate lending.

And because he was tired of working in corporate America, Omar Jordan set out to do his own thing in 2009 to help local lenders.

After starting National Loan Closings and $17 million in sales, he’s starting over but keeping the same mission.

So Jordan started Lenderclose in 2015, to merge technology into an industry that is primarily relationship-based.

“They utilize email and fax and I thought this was so 1992,” Jordan says. “So I put together this concept of building a platform where lenders can sign up and everything is there. There’s no relationship building, we have the top lenders in the country on this platform and they just go in and start ordering products that they need to create a loan.”

Clay & Milk spoke with Jordan to hear how Lenderclose was started, what challenges he’s facing with raising capital and how the Des Moines startup ecosystem has supported him.

Explain your career in the lending industry

OJ I’ve always had this sales mindset and somebody invited me to be a loan officer somewhere, so I thought I would give it a shot. I’ve sold vacuums for many years but didn’t know I could sell white-collar type product.

How’d you do?

OJ I was the number one loan officer in the state of Iowa for many years and got invited to manage a branch in Cedar Rapids. So I managed that branch and got another opportunity. So they gave me the top performing branch in Iowa. So to me I thought well, this is going to be easy. The hardest part about success is maintaining success. We’re growing, but now how to we maintain it? In the beginning it was surreal but I did it, we grew it to number one in the country out of Des Moines.

So you started your own company?

OJ I decided I didn’t want to work for corporate America anymore, I wanted to do my own thing. So I started a company called National Loan Closings, which still operates, and since 2009 until now we’ve done $17 million in sales, we close about 3,000 loans per month and can get up to 5,000 if rates are low.

My brother runs it now and now I’m focusing on Lenderclose. I started it in 2015 because I saw a need for technology in the lending world.

What makes Lenderclose different?

OJ We don’t charge licensing fees, no setup fees, no contracts or minimum requirements. We charge per order, so if you order a product, we just bill you for that at the end of the month. That’s what is attractive about Lenderclose, there are no monthly fees or licensing fees. That becomes expensive for the community lender.

Why did Lenderclose come to life?

OJ To allow the local lenders to compete with companies like Rocket Mortgage, Wells Fargo and Bank of America. I feel like local lending is going to be extinct if they don’t adapt to technology. You’ve got to start accepting the fact that technology is going to help you convert loans faster and compete with national brands. We are adding four to eight lenders per month right now.

And we are in the middle of raising capital.

Have you ever raised capital?

OJ I have never raised capital before and boy it’s tough. People don’t just write you checks and I thought they did if you had a great idea, they’d give you $50,000. But it’s not that easy.

How do you balance raising capital, with work?

OJ The question always is, what do we do first, the chicken or the egg? So do I stay in the office and make calls or do I go spend four hours at a startup meeting.

I have emailed probably 2,000 angel investors nationwide but then again, I don’t think email is the way to do it. You’ve got to get out there and meet them, they have to trust you. I wonder how many emails they get.

So I’m having a hard time balancing this, is it the egg or the chicken, which one do you do first?

Does having sales experience help?

OJ It’s about having a conversation, finding out what they want and telling them what you have and see if there’s a need for it. We don’t use the car salesman approach, we have a great technology that everybody should be using, our conversion rate is probably 60-80 percent, so if we show ten demos, 6-8 will sign up. So the product sells itself, we just tell the story.

But being a salesmen does help, and I’m not the best salesmen, I just go to work and show up.

Has the Des Moines startup community helped?

OJ Absolutely, we take pride in where we are at, you just hear positive things about Des Moines and how it’s a great place for startups, and it is. I speak from experience, this is my second startup. My first startup did $17 million in sales this one is going to be a $30-$40 million company in sales per year, within the next 5-7 years.

So I’m going to get it there, but Des Moines is the best place for a startup there’s no question about it.


Q&A: Omar Jordan starts his second startup Lenderclose | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now