Lenderclose: Corporate to startup

After his dad spent his entire career working for one company, Ben Rempe had dreams of doing the same.

But after the financial crisis in 2008—and being one of the thousands of employees who were laid off—Rempe believed he needed to take more control of his career.

It took a few stops—and nearly a decade—but Rempe took control in 2018.

Today Rempe, 38, is the Chief Operating Officer for Lenderclose, a Des Moines-based digital lending platform that allows community lenders to streamline the lending cycle. After stops in the credit union and financial services industry, Rempe reunited with Omar Jordan, a former colleague and founder of Lenderclose, a company with less than ten people.

Rempe was the first Lenderclose hire.

“It’s going to be interesting sitting on the top of the rocket ship and see what we can make happen,” Rempe said.

Rempe is the second of a three-part series on professionals who decided to leave their corporate job for the startup community.

A three-year conversation

Rempe previously worked with the founder of LenderClose—Omar Jordan—at Household Finance before the financial crisis in 2008. When the layoffs happened, Jordan would go on to start the first of his two companies and Rempe made his way into the credit union industry.

But the two kept in touch and Rempe says about three years ago, Jordan called him saying he needed help launching LenderClose.

“I was in no position to do that, and that was like two or three years ago,” Rempe remembers. “It had been an ongoing conversation and over the course of the last six months some things happened where it became a possibility.”

Rempe says what pushed him over the edge to join LenderClose was that Jordan had secured a $1.3 million investment from Next Level Ventures.

“The fact that the company had some financial backing beyond just he and I bootstrapping the company was appealing to me,” Rempe says. “I’ve got a family with three girls, I could have tried to bootstrap it—and we could have done it—but the fact that we had a group that believes in us, it made it an easy transition to move over.”

A romantic situation

Because of the infusion of capital, Rempe says LenderClose is at a point where any entrepreneur would think “romantically” about what we’re doing.

“We’ve signed an office lease, brought on investors and are talking about a hiring strategy,” Rempe says with a smile. “We moved into our office, we took this place that hadn’t been leased in seven years. It’s certainly not the Taj Mahal but it’s really nice and that’s our place. There are five people in a space ready to go for 25 people. You sit at your desk and look at where these people are going to be and think, ‘We are going to do this.’

“We’re ready to go.”