Joust heads east after fin­tech merger deal

The Advertiser - - BUSINESS - GIUSEPPE TAURIELLO

FIN­TECH start-up Joust has re­lo­cated its head of­fice from Ade­laide to Syd­ney after join­ing forces with one of its com­peti­tors.

Joust co-founder Mark Be­van re­mains in Ade­laide fol­low­ing the com­pany’s merger with Syd­ney-based LoanDol­phin, as head of sales and dis­tri­bu­tion, while for­mer gen­eral man­ager Greg Abel has stepped into the role of cus­tomer suc­cess man­ager.

Joust and LoanDol­phin were both es­tab­lished in 2015, de­vel­op­ing on­line plat­forms to link bor­row­ers with lenders through a re­verse auc­tion process. The merger brings to­gether more than 10 staff across of­fices in Ade­laide, Mel­bourne and the com­pany’s new head­quar­ters at Syd­ney’s Stone & Chalk fin­tech hub.

Mr Be­van said the merger would con­sol­i­date Joust’s po­si­tion as a ma­jor player in Aus­tralia’s grow­ing on­line lend­ing mar­ket­place.

“It feels less like my, Richard (Richard Hock­ney, co­founder) and Greg’s baby, but that’s through ne­ces­sity – if we kept it as our baby we would not be able to grow and cap­i­talise on these op­por­tu­ni­ties,” he said. “You have Lendi and Uno, which both have sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment from the big fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, and we see our­selves as the third big player in the mar­ket but the only one that’s in­de­pen­dent.

The Joust plat­form launched in 2016 with the back­ing of a small group of in­vestors in­clud­ing Crows chair­man and for­mer BankSA man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Rob Chap­man. Last year Mel­bournebase­d House­and­land.com.au ac­quired a 70 per cent stake in the com­pany, with dig­i­tal me­dia ex­ec­u­tive Carl Ham­mer­schmidt later join­ing as chief ex­ec­u­tive.

“The com­bi­na­tion of our tech­nol­ogy, data, and peo­ple best po­si­tions Joust to de­liver ex­cit­ing new op­por­tu­ni­ties and in­no­va­tions to the home loan mar­ket,” Mr Ham­mer­schmidt said.

Since they were es­tab­lished, Joust and LoanDol­phin have pro­cessed a com­bined $3.3 bil­lion worth of loan op­por­tu­ni­ties. A new ser­vice, known as Joust In­stant Match, has re­cently been launched, where bor­row­ers are in­stantly matched with the most com­pet­i­tive loan op­tions rather than wait­ing two-to-three days for a re­verse auc­tion process.

LoanDol­phin co-founder Ranin Mendis said on­line lend­ing mar­ket­places like Joust were play­ing an in­creas­ing role in sourc­ing new cus­tomers for lenders.

“With our newly merged plat­forms, data sets and unique cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, we can in­stantly in­crease reach for lenders with high in­tent bor­row­ers,” he said.

Mr Be­van said while the coron­avirus had caused lenders to be in­creas­ingly cau­tious, in­quiries from bor­row­ers on the Joust plat­form reached record highs in March and April, as fears over the econ­omy height­ened.

JOIN­ING FORCES: LoanDol­phin co-founder Ranin Mendis with Joust chief ex­ec­u­tive Carl Ham­mer­schmidt.

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