Expert backing for peer-to-peer lender JustUs

Expert backing for peer-to-peer lender JustUs

Financial services entrepreneur Lee Birkett aims to positively alter the lending landscape, launching a new peer-to-peer lending platform called JustUs.

JustUs is a financial community, built on transparency, fairness and inclusivity, and is aiming to raise £5.35m, including £1m on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.

Backed by veteran ad agency boss Sir John Hegarty and start-up specialist Thomas Teichman, JustUs plans to become the provider of the broadest range of peer-to-peer consumer loans and secured lending.

It is expected the business will create up to 130 jobs over the next three years. The firm is headquartered in Cheshire.

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 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.

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.