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“Game Changer of the Year” – An Interview with Charlotte Petris of Timelio

Timelio wins “Game Changer of the Year” award and “Overall Award for Outstanding Excellence”.

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Following on from its rebrand last October, the Australian invoice trading platform Timelio has been recently awarded the “Game Changer of the Year Award” sponsored by Visa and the “Overall Award for Outstanding Excellence” sponsored by Optus at the OPTUS My Business Awards in Sydney. Founded in 2014, Timelio enables businesses to raise short-term finance by selling their unpaid invoices directly to a network of investors.

I caught up with CEO Charlotte Petris, who provided me with more colour about the award and about her business. Charlotte feels enthusiastic about the two awards, since Timelio is a young company and it was selected from a long list of finalists that were in many cases considerably more mature.

She commented:

“It is fantastic to get recognition for the work we have been doing with Australian businesses to give them easier and faster access to finance.  It is a huge honour to receive not only the Game Changer of the Year award but also win the Overall Award for Outstanding Excellence; especially given the amazing companies that we were up against”

According to Charlotte, the Australian business and financial services landscape is evolving rapidly and innovative new models of digital finance, based on superior technology, are replacing established ones. The awarding of both titles to an alternative finance platform is a promising sign for the Australian economy as a whole, since it is the evidence that Australia is seeking to partake in the wave of digital disruption that is occurring on a global scale.

When asked about the competitive landscape in Australia, Charlotte argued that it is too early to speak about competition, since the space is in its infancy. In other words, there is enough room, not only for existing players, but also for new ones. The Australian alternative finance space is right at the start of its journey, and is seemingly poised for significant growth over the next couple of years.

Harmoney – by far the largest NZ marketplace lending platform – will be launching in Australia before long. Charlotte argued that Timelio is completely focused on Australia at the moment and that international expansion doesn’t seem to be on its radar. However, she recognized that there is a significant global market opportunity for peer-to-peer invoice financing and that Timelio is looking at other interesting markets, such as Asia, without having planned an expansion yet.

"Whilst the opportunities in Australia are great, we see expansion to overseas markets, particularly to Asia, as an inevitable future growth path. Australia's largest export market is Asia, so we are in a good position to expand beyond the domestic market."

Lastly, we discussed the new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and what the recent appointment means for Australia. The new politician seems to have a particular attention for alternative finance and the start-up community and Charlotte admitted that the political environment is changing fast. From both the regulators’ and platforms’ perspective, there is a strong willingness to foster innovation within the country’s financial services space.

“Malcolm Turnbull, the former lawyer, investment banker and tech entrepreneur, is very supportive of innovation, start-ups and technology. You can feel a change in the way the government is thinking about the long term, engaging with entrepreneurs and startups, and really getting behind innovative and disruptive technologies."

Last month Timelio participated in a pitch event in Melbourne where 5 start-ups showcased their businesses. It was here that Charlotte realized that the fintech and start-up communities in Australia have a fresh air of excitement about them – and alternative finance is a significant factor in that.

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