Prospa has just added to their funding round by securing a $20 million line from Silicon Valley based Partners For Growth reflecting a wider trend of fast-growth companies in Australia needing to raise capital in increasingly smart ways.
PFG specialises in lending to fast growing technology companies, a category where traditional banks have historically been unable or unwilling to lend. The need for so-called “alternative” financing is irrefutable: it is the only way that many Australian businesses can access the funds necessary to fuel their growth.
Ed Bigazzi, CFO of Prospa, has been instrumental in Prospa’s fundraising strategy and commented on why the PFG funding (which follows a $25m equity round led by AirTree and Square Peg in March 2017) follows the strategic approach that Prospa has taken to its own funding and customer offering since its launch in 2011.
“Like our small business customers, Prospa requires funding to grow. PFG plays an important role in the market by filling the gap left by the traditional banking industry” says Mr Bigazzi.
“Like us, they take a partnership approach and really took the time to understand our business. They share many of our philosophies about how to build long-term competitive advantages and long-term stakeholder value.”
Why has Prospa attracted this funding from PFG?
Both PFG and Prospa seek to fill the gaps left open by traditional banks, and Prospa has always approached finance in an innovative way. In 2015, it became the first and only small business lender in Australia to develop a ‘Securitisation Warehouse Structure’, which means that it can access far deeper pools of capital than a typical corporate lending facility.
In just five years, Prospa has injected $400m into the Australian small business economy with over 12,000 loans to small business owners. In doing so, Prospa has established itself as an industry disruptor and a leader in the Australian fintech landscape, and the team has grown to 145 people with plans to add another 80 people over the next 12 months.
In fact, Prospa has also been named Best Employer in the AON Hewitt Best Employers program for 2017 – the first year the company has entered the awards.
Prospa has been awarded the sought after status due to the strong connection the company builds between its team and customers, and the problem they are solving for them. A strong leadership team led by joint CEOs Beau Bertoli and Greg Moshal, delivers a strong emphasis on company culture and a customer-centric focus, and has helped create a highly engaged, high performing team that cares deeply about Australian small business owners.
What has Prospa won this AON Hewitt award?
The AON Hewitt award builds on Prospa’s success at Fintech Australia’s FINNIE Awards earlier in the year where the company picked up Best Fintech Place to Work and Fintech Leaders of the Year, solidifying Prospa’s position as an employer of choice in Australia.
Having just celebrated its fifth birthday, Prospa has established itself as an industry disruptor and market leader in small business lending. The company has scaled rapidly through its journey from startup and is now a medium-sized high-growth business that maintains a culture of innovation through a variety of initiatives and projects. Prospa has consistently delivered a strong business performance while creating and building a brand new market, and is committed to helping its people rapidly grow their skill sets and mindsets as the business grows.
One of the many programs Prospa has implemented is an “Employee Share Option Plan” in which every team member is eligible to become a shareholder, and therefore an owner in the business. This helps create a truly cohesive team that works together to empower Prospa’s small business customers across Australia.
Other initiatives that support staff engagement and retention include “Aspire” – enabling high-performers to partner with external consultants and create practical, empowering training courses for others in the business around their own area of expertise. The sharing of specialist knowledge between colleagues helps create a more flexible and adaptable workforce.
What does this AON Hewitt award mean for Prospa?
Commenting on the win, Prospa Joint CEO, Beau Bertoli said: “We are incredibly proud to be the only fintech company recognised by the AON Hewitt Program this year. People are, without a doubt, our number one priority and have been since we began five years ago. Our success is a clear demonstration of what can be achieved when your workforce is happy and engaged.”
Nicole Ashe, the Head of People and Culture at Propsa added, “We’re working hard to build a culture that nurtures talent, fosters collaboration and communication, and drives performance and development. Sustained engagement and a good cultural fit starts with the recruitment process. We use structured interviews and a centralised hiring process to make sure our team is built for longevity.”
Prospa Joint CEO Greg Moshal concludes, “Prospa has an ongoing commitment to its people, and these types of accolades let our team know that they are making a real impact to the business. To be recognised in this year’s AON Hewitt awards as such a young company proves that a high performing culture and company can be built early on if you focus on the right things.”