Prospa has gone public today and we’re thrilled to congratulate Greg, Beau and the whole Prospa team.
It’s a big day for the company, and I’m sure that watching them ring the ASX bell was a proud moment for the team and their families.
The IPO is a great chance to reflect on where they’ve come from — but at the same time this is just another step in their journey.
A few weeks ago I asked Greg what they were planning for after the bell ringing ceremony. He responded with — “Well, we’ll probably grab some lunch… but then we’ve got to be back in the office… maybe we’ll grab some beers after work.”
This is the sort of understated, no-BS attitude that I’ve grown to love about this team.
Over the last 7 years Prospa has quietly built itself from a scrappy startup into Australia’s largest online lender to small businesses.
Greg and Beau are a great founding team — but they’ll be the first to admit that they couldn’t have done this on their own.
Like all the best founders we’ve worked with, they’ve made hiring great people a core competency.
They’ve assembled a phenomenal senior team right across the business — from tech and product to marketing, comms, ops and risk. And keeping it all together in the lead up to the IPO was the superb Ed Bigazzi — one of the best CFOs we’ve ever worked with.
This is a team that has faced plenty of ups and downs along the way. They’ve always celebrated the ups, but it’s how they’ve dealt with the inevitable downs that has impressed us the most. Having to pull the IPO at the last minute last year was definitely one of those moments — but they pulled through to be a stronger and more galvanised unit than any I’ve ever worked with.
This mostly comes down to the incredible (and award winning) culture they have built. The whole team live and breathe their core values — teamwork, speed, customer obsession, simplicity and boldness.
They’re also all driven by the same mission — to make it easier for small business owners to access the financing they need to build their businesses. Since 2013, this has meant not only a huge contribution to Australian GDP ($3.65bn), but also more than 52,500 jobs being maintained.
We’re very proud to have played a part in this journey over the last few years. When we set up Airtree, the vision was to build a platform where we could back founders from their earliest days and continue to support them all the way through to IPO and beyond.
In Prospa’s case, we first invested in the company’s Series A back in 2015 and have doubled down in every round since. At just under $30m, it makes this the largest investment in our fund so far.
When we first met the team they were 30 people sitting elbow-to-elbow in a crummy office in Kent St and writing around $26m of loans per year. We had looked at lots of fintech investments at the time, but fell in love with the way they obsessed about the product experience — something that was still pretty rare in the sector at the time.
They now have 230 staff, and they’ve lent more than $1bn in loans (with half of that coming in the last year). And this is still just scratching the surface of the $20bn+ SMB finance market in Australia.
There are still a huge amount of opportunities to grow, and that’s why we’re excited to continue working for the company post IPO.
Of course, life as a listed company brings with it a whole new host of demands and challenges. The team know this and have been very methodical about putting the right people and processes in place to transition to a tightly governed public company.
In reality, they’ve been operating as if they were a listed company since well before they rang the ASX bell.
Congratulations again to Beau, Greg, and everyone in the team at Prospa.
Craig, James & the AirTree Team