June 30th 2016 Cheshire/London UK
JustUs, www.justus.co a financial community, built on transparency, fairness and inclusivity, has launched, looking to raise £5m. The brainchild of financial services entrepreneur Lee Birkett, who is backed by veteran ad agency boss Sir John Hegarty and start-up specialist Thomas Teichman. JustUs intends to positively alter the lending landscape.
JustUs plans to become the provider of the broadest range of Peer-to-Peer consumer loans and secured lending, offering best in class rates, simplicity and inclusivity to an extensive range of borrowers. The crowd and institutional fundraising, will value the business at £25m. The bulk of the proceeds will be used for high profile advertising campaign to drive public awareness and membership of the community. It is expected the business will create up to 130 jobs in the North West over the next three years.
Joining the business is Thomas Adalbert, who has left a role as a Global Principal in fintech at Google to invest in and join JustUs as Chief Marketing Officer. Sir John Hegarty, a founding partner of Saatchi & Saatchi, has also invested in the business and leads the brand team for JustUs, which will devise a multi-million pound advertising campaign for the platform in the coming months.
JustUs is reinforced through its P2P platform being designed specifically with the UK P2P legislation at the core of its offering. JustUs' robust underwriting process ensures that an appropriate risk rating is applied to the potential borrower and where necessary further security is sought from the borrower or an appropriate personal guarantor. Borrowers must be in a position to make the payments on the loan and provide supporting evidence. They must be in full time employment, self-employment or be in receipt of a private pension.
JustUs is the evolution of Birkett's established and FCA-regulated peer-to-peer lending platform eMoneyUnion.com. Around £2m has already been invested in the platform since inception. Birkett, who has 26 years' experience in the financial services sector, and is a passionate advocate for alternative finance, says: "JustUs is for everyone, it's an exciting evolution for the sector, which I believe can only become more relevant as consumers see that despite the worst financial crisis in a generation, banks and bankers' behaviour hasn't really changed.
"I believe we are completely disrupting the status quo with a range of accessible products for borrowers from a comprehensive range of backgrounds and credit history.
"JustUs is democratic, by the people, for the people. Savers are uninspired by their humdrum returns. We can give them access to the higher returns by bringing them together with a broad mix of consumer, guarantor and secured loans.
Thomas Teichman, serial investor and founder of Spark Ventures said: "Secured lending backed by property is a much more secure place for investors combined with a much better return than cash.
"I'm using it myself to raise my yields on a part of my assets. JustUs has a very deep experience base in this area. "
New Chief Marketing Officer Thomas Adalbert added: "Going back to the very beginning of the lending marketplace, people would come together and help others out by lending money to them. I think we lost our way and the whole banking fraternity just got too greedy.
"This, on the other hand is going back to the roots, allowing you to help out other people through lending money. The alternative finance sector is evolving and growing and that is why I have given up my job with Google to invest my time and my money in to JustUs."
JustUs is expecting to deliver a loan book of around £254m by year 4 of the plan - during Beta testing of the site it attracted £130m of borrower applications from a marketing spend of £150,000. The company has received legal advice from Field Fisher in Manchester (led by partner Matt Fleetwood).
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Notes to Editors
The Innovative Finance ISA was launched by HM Treasury on April 6 2016 and it enables lenders to earn their interest free of income tax for the first time. Investors will be able to put in up to £15,240 in the 2016/17 tax year, and £20,000 from April 2017.