Tell us a little about yourself
I started off my career as an aerospace engineer, working on global projects like the International Space Station, the Ariane V rocket and the A380. Since, I’ve been a serial entrepreneur, having founded two former venture backed startups with over 100,000+ monthly visitors. After spending a number of years in Silicon Valley, I’m now the founding CEO of PropertyShares, a specialist peer-to-peer platform for real estate debt in Australia. I’m also an angel Investor and on the management team of the Melbourne Angels.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
As a founder you want everything to happen immediately. You can’t wait to get your product to market. You can’t wait to get your first sales. But the patience you have to learn as a founder is very humbling as it takes time to mature as a business. When we first started the company it took us two weeks to fund a $250,000 loan. Now we are funding multimillion dollar deals in justhours. It is incredible to witness first hand how the company has grown and matured!
What do you think makes your company stand out during these disruptive times? Can you share a story?
While our competitors focused on transactions, PropertyShares invested heavily in corporate governance, compliance, regulatory structure and technology over our first 18 months. It was hard to focus on aspects of the business that didn’t generate any revenue. We then spent the next two-and-a-half years refining and iterating these core company assets to became one of the largest real estate debt platforms in Australia because we invested in the right foundations.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
To help your employees thrive you need to invest the time to understand what ultimately drives them. If you can better understand their motivations and goals you can build a company culture that fosters diversity, growth and communication. This will give your teams the opportunity to take ownership of their roles. You need to be able to share your vision with your team and be the guiding example. If you don’t live what you preach then you can’t establish trust. It all comes down to the company culture you create for your teams.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story or example?
I have been fortunate to meet some extraordinary people along my journey who have helped me in so many ways. I met Ron Suber who is considered to be the ‘Godfather of Fintech’, very early on in my fintech journey, who gave me some great advice. After starting PropertyShares I was then fortunate enough to present at the same fintench lending conference as Ron years later, (which in itself was incredible to be presenting in the same capacity as Ron) but also to share with him how much his advice shaped our company.
Can you share what you believe will be the “Top 5 Fintech and Banking Trends Over The Next 3 Years”
Fintechs are reshaping the fund distribution model. In such a low yield environment, investors and asset managers are seeking better yields through alternatives. Moreso, they no longer want pooled assets and blended returns. They are looking for direct investments for tailored portfolio construction with greater transparency. We are seeking increased appetite from both individual and institutional investors who wanting direct asset allocations which can be achieved through advanced technology platforms.
With intensifying competition 2018 will see much consolidation and partnerships — not only between fintechs and financial institutions but also with technology incumbents, as companies like Amazon, Alipay And WeChat seek presence in international markets and new sectors.
There has been much coverage of personal lending and business lending fintechs but mortgage technology and real estate platforms continue to gain significant growth as better education of mortgage lending and the role of debt in the capital stack becomes more widespread and adopted.
While regulators have watched with a keen interest over the past decade, they are now working on better ways to be involved with fintechs. Across global markets, regulators will increasingly face the challenge of balancing innovation with industry controls and risk management. In line with this, cybersecurity is a major concern and a big opportunity for fintechs. According to ISACA, a non-profit information security advocacy group, the industry will face a global shortage of approximately 2 million cybersecurity professionals by 2019.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
“Our biggest communication problem is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply”
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
From everything I have learned in my life so far, education is the key to success. If you give people the tools to learn, to question, to think — then you give them the freedom to explore boundless possibilities.
Originally published at medium.com