Prospa's co-founder and joint CEO on the importance of their broker partnerships and the fintech's growing success
In July, Prospa placed fintech firmly on the map by winning the 2017 Telstra New South Wales Medium Business Award. As the first fintech company to win, this marks a significant milestone for the sector in Australia, and should inspire increasing consumer confidence.
I believe Prospa’s success can be attributed to three factors, starting with the team that creates our award-winning culture and product. I’m very proud of our can-do culture that values fairness, partnerships, creativity and great decisions. This culture has led us to building strong connections with our customers and resulted in an engaged, high performance team that genuinely cares about Australian small business owners.
The second factor is our solution and go-to-market excellence. Prospa supports the growth of the 2 million Australian small businesses who are eager to embrace financing options beyond the major banks. And we are obsessed with understanding them better, what drives them and what they need to be successful. By truly understanding small business owners, it has been possible to create a solution that transforms the way they experience finance. We celebrate our customers because their passion to grow their businesses is what fuels our own success.
Our partnerships with brokers and other referrers have been instrumental in helping us achieve scale. Small business owners rely on their network of trusted advisors when determining the best finance solutions for their business. And brokers have been looking to diversify in order to stay relevant to their customer base. So it’s a win-win: we help brokers protect their existing relationships and grow their own businesses.We provide education and marketing tools so they can reach small business owners, and an amazing customer experience to support acquisition, conversion and loyalty.
Finally, we’ve been smart with our own funding. We’ve selected investors who a good cultural fit and provide the advice and support we need. Like us, they take a partnership approach and share many of our philosophies on how to build long-term competitive advantage and stakeholder value. We also set up a securitisation warehouse facility, the first of its kind on the Australian market, and in 2016, we added a second large institutional funder to the capital stack. Most recently we sourced finance for general corporate purposes from Silicon valley based PFG, who like us are in the business of funding an area of the market that is under-served by traditional players.
When we founded Prospa, we looked at a range of business models for inspiration. We wanted to offer something very different to traditional lenders, so we had to think outside the box. Our trajectory over the last few years is echoed by rapid growth of the sector. Where once there was a lack of venture capital activity, we now operate in an accelerated fintech ecosystem with strong government and investor support and increasing consumer awareness and confidence. This is only the beginning.
Beau Bertoli is the co-founder and joint CEO of Prospa. Prospa has just won the Telstra Business Award for Best Medium Business 2017, and has already injected over $400m into the Australian small business economy through more than 12,000 loans to small business owners. Beau’s lead role in strategic planning, funding management, technology and analytics positions him as a valuable commentator on the growing success of the fintech industry.