This month, we hear from Propsa CEO Beau Bertoli on what separates this technology-driven powerhouse from mainstream lenders in the marketplace.
How did Prospa come to be?
We’ve been trading now since 2011. We really set out to try and solve one problem that existed in Australian finance and that was to specifically assist small businesses and their ability to access finance.
One of the number one challenges small business owners face is accessing capital and the ability to draw out funds in a fast and efficient manner so that they can grow and operate their business.
What we realised is the way to do that was in an online and data-driven manner, so we set out to build a whole different way of looking at credit to the way that the Australian banks and other financial institutions looked at credit and we started to create quite unique ways of credit assessing business owners’ credit information.
That allowed us to look at many cases up to 400 data points to make our decisions and to do that at the click of a button, as opposed to filling out 20 pages on an application form from the business owner’s side.
Because we do live in a data-enabled and very tech-savvy era, we’ve been able to create a very fast and effective way for businesses to access finance and as a result of that, we’ve lent money to the churn of around $70 million to thousands of businesses right across Australia.
How are you engaging with the third-party channel?
We found that the broker network and market was quite an obvious place that small business owners went looking for different types of finance so we started to engage with the broker market about two years ago, starting out with just a few local brokers that we knew.
We’ve now got over 1,000 finance partners that we deal with and they range from as big as AFG, ASX-listed aggregators, all the way down to the little one- or two-man shops in the local communities.
We will support all sized brokerages and have a national footprint where we have representatives in every state and territory across the country. That allows us to provide insight, coaching and training because we offer a different product and a lot of brokers have never sold this type of product or offered this to their customers.
What is your key point of difference compared to other lenders?
One of the key differentiators for us it that we put the customer experience at the heart of everything we do – not just in the ease of application but down to simple things like having a place where a partner can log on and see their applications and receive live updates of how their applications are flowing through our system.
Some online lenders are coming into the market and trying to cut out the banks, trying to cut out the finance brokers and just trying to deal direct with customers and I think that is a threat to some brokerages over the longer term.
I think it’s really important that the headwinds are acknowledged and recognised early on and I think it’s important for brokerages to partner with the right people who have demonstrated that they are serious about partnering for the long term.
We certainly see ourselves as the leader in this market and we’re really trying to change the way finance is done in relation to small businesses. One of the things we’ve made very clear is that we want to do that in partnership with brokerages.
What would you say to brokers to encourage them to consider Prospa as part of their lender panel?
I think it’s really important to acknowledge that a lot of technology is changing and it’s changing the way that business is done and the way finance is done.
We’ve come into the market and said we want to partner with people, we want to help these people if they’ve got a great broking business and help them maintain that, diversify their product, move into the tech and digital age, and take advantage of really good growth opportunities.
The fact that we’ve got over 1,000 finance partners that deal with us and we’re writing millions of dollars a month in loans for these people right around the country [is evidence that] our investment in people, our investment in supporting brokers with training, coaching, marketing and digital enablement of their businesses, I think, are really core things that have underpinned our success.
-- Beau Bertoli, Prospa CEO