The Columbus Dispatch

Empora Title seeks to upgrade the industry

Startup creating process to update immediatel­y

- Jim Weiker

A Columbus startup called Empora Title has raised $25 million to launch what it calls a technologi­cal overhaul of the title industry.

The company provides digital title services for real estate investors, allowing investors to close on a property and track the process electronic­ally through a portal that houses documents.

“We were founded to reinvent the title process,” said Megan Harris, the company’s founder and CEO.

“We’re delivering a digital end-to-end experience for real estate investors. They can close anywhere, anytime they want, at 6 in the morning, 6 in the evening.”

Harris, a 2017 graduate of Ohio State University who previously worked at the Columbus financial technology firms Root Insurance and Safechain, said she started the company a year ago after talking with investors who were frustrated with the time and expense of traditiona­l title services.

“We are the first digital title agency to focus on real estate investors exclusivel­y,” Harris said. “This is time and money back in the pockets of buyers. Instead of having to call in and get updates, or go to an office, they can get those updates now from us online immediatel­y.”

Harris said Empora’s services are faster, more transparen­t and less expensive than traditiona­l title services, saving investors $300 to $1,500 per closing.

The company is not a title insurer itself, but instead is underwritt­en by American First Title.

Empora so far has operated only in Ohio but plans to use the investment capital to expand, Harris said.

“We are really following where the market takes us,” Harris said. “We are really focused on the metro areas where real estate investment activities

are high, so we’d like to be in those 15 top metro markets by the end of 2022.”

The company will also use the capital to expand its staff of 14, who all work remotely.

“We’re hiring across the board right now, in engineerin­g, product, sales and marketing,” Harris said.

The company’s $24.6 million in startup capital came from several investors including Scifi VC, Background VC, Root Insurance, Opendoor, and Caffeinated Capital.

“Empora brings an innovative and complement­ary product to market that will inevitably disrupt the title industry as we know it,” said Caffeinated Capital founder and Managing Partner Raymond Tonsing in a news release. “We take great pride in being one of their first investors.” @Jimweiker

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