The Five Minute Interview with Brian Bartaby, CEO and Founder, Proplend
Proplend is a financial technology platform providing much needed commercial property funding to the massively underbanked sub-£5m market. Offering fast, flexible short-term commercial bridging solutions for up to 18 months on an interest only basis, Proplend now facilitates loans to personal owners, as well as SPVs. NACFB patrons.
We speak to CEO and Founder, Brian Bartaby:
What is the best thing about being in the bridging & development finance business?
We don’t do development funding, but commercial bridging is always a challenge. We are not a product-led lender – if we like a deal, we will try hard to find a way to do it and then work hard to meet borrowers’ deadlines. You also get to meet some very interesting characters!
What keeps you focused?
It has taken us five hard years to build our reputation with brokers, borrowers and peer to peer investors. Continuing to deliver to all three is core to our business.
What qualities do you look for in your employees or colleagues?
In the disruptive world of alternative finance, apart from the obvious underlying skill sets, I look for a willingness to learn new skills and challenge the traditional way of doing something.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
I think more of a realist – I believe you make your own luck.
What did you want to be as a child?
A vet but the James Herriot TV series made everyone want to be vets and the qualifications went through the roof.
What will be the greatest challenge facing the bridging & development finance industry in the coming months?
I believe that we are getting close to the end of this property cycle. I am concerned that a lot of new players have entered the market in the past 18 months and there is a race to the bottom on pricing, higher LTVs, etc in order to attract deal flow. It will be interesting to see, when the tide goes out, who forgot their trunks.
Who or what makes you laugh?
Whilst I am not a car enthusiast per se, the comradery, non-PC and tomfoolery of Clarkson, May and Hammond cracks me up.
Do you dread Monday mornings?
No – life is too short.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Be more flexible – both mentally and physically.
With whom would you most like to have dinner?
Billy Connolly, a fellow Scot and a marvellous storyteller.