Capify says it is a small business financer with a difference; it provides support and unique financial solutions to businesses when the big banks and other lenders won’t. The company initially launched in 2008 during the global financial crisis; it was one of the first to provide unsecured alternative business finance in Australia, and the first to provide a full online application for business finance.

Managing Director of Capify Australia, John de Bree, came to the role in 2010 with decades of experience within the Financial Services industry. He had 10 years at MasterCard under his belt and was ready for a new challenge with Capify, then known as AUSvance. “One of my previous roles was Vice President of Sales and Business Development at MasterCard. I had the responsibility to grow the MasterCard business for all the banks in Australia. I was with them from 1998 to 2009—over 10 years with MasterCard worldwide in various senior management roles—so I had a lot of interaction with the banks around not only consumers, but also small business.

“When I came to Capify, it was known as AUSvance. We only changed to Capify in July 2015. AUSvance launched in Australia in 2008, during the GFC, which is was a significant thing because it was a pretty bold move. In 2008, essentially, we had a contractor running around trying to do some deals. In 2010, I was approached to open an office in Australia, so I started out by myself. I was the coffee boy, the guy who had to go and buy the fax paper, and anything else—since then, we’ve grown to just under 50 employees.”

Since launching and pioneering the industry seven years ago, Capify has grown rapidly, including 400 per cent in the past two years.

John believes this is partly because Capify filled a gap in the market and provided a service that small businesses desperately needed.

“Small business in Australia, and consumers for that matter, were underserved to a large degree,” John explains. “What you’re now finding with the alternative lenders is that the gap in the market is being addressed. From a consumer perspective, it’s the peer-to-peer lenders—from a small business perspective, it’s alternative lenders, like Capify. The banks wouldn’t lend to those markets because of the risk.”