Matt Mawdesley is a man on a mission.

More specifically the former head of strategy and innovation at and Together is using technology to disrupt the world of specialist lending.

The 32-year-old former semi-pro footballer has just launched Morpheus, a digital-only bridging lender.

After years working in the industry he wants to leverage the power of technology to modernise the way lending to property professionals, landlords, businesses and investors is done.

Morpheus is midway through its initial £25m fundraise and determined to take a bit bite out of the UK’s bridging market, which is estimated to be worth £9bn annually.

The problem the startup is trying to fix is obvious. It currently takes an average of 58 days to complete a bridging loan but Mawdesley reckons technology can speed this process up to less than 10.

“We use a range of technology across the journey, from automated biometric authentication and digital financial crime checks, through to open banking and data and AI to support risk management and valuations,” he explained.

“We don’t take the human out of the process completely, but instead find the optimal balance to ensure they can make balanced and sensible decisions quickly.”

If it sounds like Morpheus will be in direct competition with Mawdesley’s former employers at Together that’s because it will but the CEO and co-founder insists they’ll be in direct competition with many other lenders, not just Together.

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Cheadle-based Together was founded in 1974 by publicity-shy billionaire Henry Moser and he remains the CEO.

Mawdesley prefers to focus on the difference that technology can make to the sector.

“Poor technology adoption has ultimately led to a declining customer and broker experience,” he said.

“Fragmented systems and manual, paper-based processes aren’t fit for the modern consumer anymore.

“We have therefore designed a custom-built journey that facilitates an end-to-end digital journey.

Morpheus team

Morpheus team. Matt Mawdesley is second on the left

“Customers, brokers, lenders and conveyancing partners all on the same platform that encourages collaboration, automated tasks and leverages market leading technology to markedly reduce the time to fund.”

Morpheus will be giving out loans up to £750,000 at initial terms of up to 12 months. Because the loan is an unregulated bridge, it is all secured by property assets.

The loan could typically be used by someone looking to complete a buy-to-let or auction purchase where speed is everything.

Morpheus has a ‘substantial portion’ of its initial £25m fundraise committed from a range of high net worth investors, entrepreneurs, family office and private credit institutions.

However, as with any lender, Morpheus will have to continually raise money as it proves its business and operating model.

As befits the former footballer, Mawdesley has already put together an impressive team around him.

Lee Jones is the co-founder and chief financial officer; Richard Lawton is the operations director; and Ash Richardson is the head of sales. They are further supported by a strong team of board advisers and non-executive directors, which include Together’s former chief risk officer Steve Miller; HSBC’s head of growth lending Roland Emmans, and Connells Group’s chief information officer Tom Pirrie.

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Mawdesley has become a familiar face in the North West’s tech sector since joining Royal Bank of Scotland (now NatWest Group) on their corporate banking graduate scheme.

He moved to to focus on strategic growth, innovation, and new commercial ventures before leading strategy and innovation at Together, with a focus on digital transformation and automating the lending journey holistically.

Mawdesley is also an investor and non-executive director of Manchester-based Proptech Wondrwall and said the initial vision for Morpheus is simple.

“First and foremost, we want to prove the model, enhance further our platform, and work closely with our initial broker partners to add value for their customers,” he said.

“From here, we will look to scale our bridging proposition, alongside exploring a range of other products in the market.

“We take the manual, paper-based and old school processes out of the journey. By replacing these with market leading technology, we markedly shorten the time taken to access funding, alongside creating a far better customer and user experience throughout.

“With Morpheus, we combine an efficient and technology-based journey with a team of super experienced professionals to create a brilliant experience for all parties.”

The world will be watching how he gets on.