A new entrant in the lending space is banking on the broker channel as its primary point of distribution for its credit products.
On Wednesday (25 September), property industry veteran Peter Wyszenko and mortgage and commercial broker Ruben Makken officially launched the boutique lender in Sydney, after raising over $50 million through institutional and private investors.
Pickle Money is a spin-off of property research advisory group Smarter Tenant, which was established to assist first home buyers (FHBs) and investors in purchasing distressed income-producing assets.
Mr Wyszenko said the decision to launch Pickle Money was motivated by the directors’ experience dealing with property developers and contractors who had struggled to get their invoices paid or projects off the ground or completed as a result of difficulties securing finance.
“While Smarter Tenant was achieving success, I would often say to Ruben: ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could get those developers and contractors out of a pickle?’” Mr Wyszenko said.
“That was the inspiration behind Pickle Money, and we have worked tirelessly to secure institutional and private investment in this new business.”
Mr Makken, who has worked as a broker since 2015, added that, together, Smarter Tenant and Pickle Money would provide a “holistic approach towards property and financial solutions” for a wide range of small businesses.
According to the former broker, Pickle Money has a funding pipeline of more than $150 million, which he said would allow the lender to offer loans that range from $50,000 for small businesses and start-ups to over $50 million for larger projects.
“We understand that it’s difficult for businesses to stay afloat in the first couple of years of trading, so we want businesses to seize opportunities and get the job done,” he said.
“This sets us apart from many other lenders, and we can provide a true cash flow product, which the client is largely in control of, without the excessive weekly principal and interest repayments and stringent terms and document requirements.
“Small business is the backbone of our economy, and ordinary business owners often want to do extraordinary things, and we are here to help make that happen.”
Mr Makken added: “We understand the business goals of our clients, and we take the journey with them.”
Speaking to The Adviser following the official launch, Mr Wyszenko revealed that Pickle Money would work closely with the broker channel to distribute its credit offerings and foster lead generation arrangements.
“We have two [distribution] models – we’re much like any lender where we have our BDMs, but we also have brokers that assist clients directly as well,” he said.
“Our priority is obviously the broker channel and making sure that we look after our broker partners.”
He continued: “There is [also] the opportunity for brokers to be part of the Pickle Money brand.
“[Brokers] will obviously give us their leads and we will also send them qualified leads as well, which is currently what we’re doing.”
Mr Wyszenko added that the lender is currently working to establish new partnerships with aggregators and third stakeholders to expand its broker network.
The Pickle Money co-founder said that while the lender is predominately operating in Sydney, he has ambitions to expand its presence in the national market by capitalising on growing demand for alternative finance solutions from property developers struggling to access finance via traditional channels.
“The banks are overly exposed to that marketplace, so they are looking for alternatives like us and a lot of our competitors that are out there,” he said.
[Related: SMEs funding growth through non-bank lenders]